Dribble Handoff: Four returning players who could be college basketball’s breakout stars in 2022-23


Making the leap from school basketball rotation participant to varsity basketball famous person is a rarity in a sport that’s identified for one-and-dones and options lots of roster turnover due to skilled alternatives, transfers and accidents. However in recent times, it is a path that has been blazed considerably routinely, with the likes of Keegan Murray, E.J. Liddell, Zach Edey and Johnny Davis all crossing the bridge from bit items to family names.

And that is simply within the Massive Ten within the final two years.

Predicting who would be the subsequent breakout star (or stars) to comply with their lead is an inexact science, however predicting there might be some in 2022-23 is a protected guess given current historical past inside the sport. So with a litany of proficient gamers primed to doubtlessly tackle extra duties this season, who would be the sport’s subsequent breakout star?

Our panel of specialists predict 4 gamers within the newest Dribble Handoff sequence who might be on trajectory to hitch these aforementioned gamers who not too long ago made star turns. The standards we use beneath is gamers who averaged fewer than 10 factors per recreation final season who might be in line to be among the many greatest gamers of their respective convention — or probably the nation. 

Among the many most essential issues to have a look at when attempting to establish a returning participant on the verge of constructing a statistical soar is his surrounding items. Did any big-time (or just higher) scorers from final season’s group transfer on? In that case, have been they changed by gamers clearly geared up to fill their roles?

That is the train that led me to Kriisa.

The junior guard misplaced 4 Arizona teammates who mixed to common 45.1 factors per recreation final season — amongst them double-digit scorers Bennedict Mathurin (17.7) and Christian Koloko (12.6). And although second-year coach Tommy Lloyd did change them with sufficient proficient items to maintain the Wildcats within the prime 15 of the CBS Sports Preseason Top 25 And 1, I do not assume any of the additions might be extra of a scoring risk than Kriisa ought to be as a third-year participant. Final season, he averaged 9.7 factors on 8.7 pictures per recreation. That is clearly inefficient and in want of enchancment. But when the capturing percentages go up when the shot makes an attempt positively rise, it is not laborious to examine Kriisa going from 9.7 factors per recreation to one thing shut to fifteen for a group projected to compete for a second straight Pac-12 title. — Gary Parrish

I am glad we’re stretching the definition of “breakout participant” right here, as a result of I’ve personally held the thresholds be fewer than 8.0 factors and 20.0 minutes per recreation with a view to qualify. If that was the case right here, Zeigler would’ve been barely too outstanding a season in the past, when he averaged 8.8 factors in 22.1 minutes for the Volunteers. He additionally averaged 2.7 assists and shot a decent 35.2% from 3-point land. From the foul line, among the many greatest within the SEC: 84.3%.

Zeigler was the secondary level guard possibility in 2021-22, on account of one-and-doner Kennedy Chandler. However when you watched the Vols play ceaselessly, you noticed the 5-foot-9 Zeigler as a bona fide power-conference level guard possibility. Zeigler’s steal proportion (4.5%) was Eleventh-best within the nation. There’s an opportunity I might be one yr too early with this prediction — no less than by way of whether or not or not Zeigler might be an All-SEC First Staff honoree in 2022-23 — however I am going to purchase in heavy now. 

Coach Rick Barnes brings again Santiago Vescovi and Josiah Jordan-James from a UT squad that completed No. 9 at KenPom.com and had the third-ranked protection. At 6-3, Vescovi can also be a keen and succesful distributor, however Zeigler could have the ball in his fingers most. If Tennessee is a top-three group within the SEC once more, it might have the very best level guard within the convention. — Matt Norlander

Creighton is certainly one of my way-too-early Remaining 4 picks for 2022-23 and Alexander, coming off a robust freshman season, is an enormous purpose for that. No, his 7.4 factors and three.7 rebounds per recreation stats do not essentially pop off the web page, however he took his recreation to a brand new stage down the stretch run of the season and with the Bluejays banged up, he seemed like he has true star potential. 

In seven of Alexander’s remaining 10 video games, he eclipsed double figures in scoring — and the three he didn’t he scored above his season common (eight or 9 factors). That included 15 factors on 5-of-6 capturing within the Massive East tourney vs. Providence, 18 factors within the first spherical of the NCAA Tournament vs. San Diego State and 14 factors and 9 assists vs. eventual nationwide champion Kansas within the second spherical of the NCAA Event. He ought to be capable to choose up the place he left off in 2022-23 as one of many brightest younger stars within the recreation.

“He finds methods to make performs,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott stated of Alexander throughout March Insanity. “He is a reasonably unimaginable younger man. He will get it. He understands the sport. You may inform he is a coach’s son. Very excessive basketball IQ. He is mature past his years.” — Kyle Boone

After enjoying sparingly as a real freshman, Murray took a big leap within the 2021-22 season and have become Iowa’s prime possibility off the bench. Now, because the Hawkeyes bid farewell to his older brother, Keegan Murray, it is time for Kris to shine. Kris possible will not match Keegan’s 23.5 factors per recreation from the 2021-22 season or be the No. 4 general choose like his brother, however he might be shut on each fronts. As a 6-8 ahead with glorious positional versatility, there’s little that Kris cannot do on the ground. Offensively, he hit 38.7% of his 3-point makes an attempt final season. Defensively, he averaged practically a block per recreation regardless of enjoying simply 17.9 minutes per contest.

If he can develop a bit extra playmaking acumen in half-court units and get snug attacking the basket with each his proper hand his pure left, then he’ll be within the combine for Massive Ten Participant of the Yr. Iowa is enjoying a considerably more durable non convention schedule within the 2022-23 season than it did in 2021-22, so Kris’ numbers and percentages will not be marvelous in comparison with his brother’s from final season. However he is poised for the same sort of breakout on the nationwide stage. — David Cobb

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