Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: 5 early breakout candidates for 2024-25 season

Iowa v Wisconsin
Iowa v Wisconsin / John Fisher/GettyImages
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Cam Heide, Purdue

The soaring put-back dunk from Cam Heide in the National Championship Game loss to UConn was one of the few highlights of the game for the Purdue Boilermakers - and potentially a sign of things to come for the wing, set to enter his third year in the program in 2024-25.

After taking a redshirt year in 2022-23, Heide played in all 39 games for the Boilermakers this past season primarily as a floor-spacing wing off the bench. Heide wasn't asked to shoot very often but showed that he could do so when called upon, with a 58% field goal percentage, and 45% mark from three-point territory.

Yet, I think Heide can be so much more than the prototypical sharpshooter Matt Painter has seemingly always had on his roster in West Lafayette. At 6'7", he can play and defend multiple positions and we've already seen his athleticism on full display. He's going to be a tough matchup with his size for defenders at the three, but his perimeter shooting will be a pain for defenders at the four.

With the Purdue offense likely to open up in 2024-25 and move beyond Zach Edey as the focal point, it seems likely more will be able to run through the soon-to-be redshirt sophomore. Of course, Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, and Mason Gillis will all get their offensive opportunities, but it's Heide who should surprise the most this winter.