30. Grant Golden, Richmond Spiders
It was a difficult year for the Spiders to meet expectations when talented guard Nick Sherod was ruled out for the season due to injury prior to games starting. However, Richmond still put up an admirable effort and hosted a bunch of talent to still make an attempt at the conference crown. Still featuring a deep backcourt, the team leaned heavily on forward Grant Golden to provide balance on the offensive end.
Golden has been consistently doing so for Richmond the last four seasons and continues to improve his offensive capabilities. Last year was the most efficient scoring season for the 6’10” forward and he has begun to stretch the floor a bit more. With an opportunity to run it back one more time, Golden will look to take another jump forward in his efficiency to boost the Spiders’ chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament and contending in the Atlantic-10.
29. Kenneth Lofton, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Lofton was one of several stellar freshmen on this list to imprint themselves on the college basketball landscape as soon as they stepped on campus. The Bulldogs have not seen similar production from a freshman in nearly a decade and nearly two decades since a freshman forward, Paul Millsap, has impacted the program at this level. His successes led to his selection for the FIBA U19 World Cup where he was the leading scorer over players like Chet Holmgren, Kennedy Chandler, Jaden Ivey, and more.
Louisiana Tech was a dangerous group in Conference USA thanks to a deep rotation, but with some roster shuffling this year the Bulldogs need Lofton to continue showcasing his stout offensive skillset to buoy the team. It’s a plausible outcome for the sophomore who’s becoming increasingly confident at the collegiate and international levels. Lofton is already a star, but this will be the year he gains national recognition.