Sophomore breakout candidates (cont.)
Christian Watford, 6-9 sophomore forward, Indiana
Freshman: 28.5 min., 12.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 37.5% FG
Sophomore: 28.3 min., 17.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 51.1% FG
Watford is the kind of player for whom this list was invented. Though he was forced into playing more than he was prepared for last season, he was too often physically overpowered in the paint. He is much stronger now, which combined with his high skill level has him poised for a stellar season. Through the first four games, he is the Hoosiers' leading scorer and rebounder.
Maalik Wayns, 6-2 point guard, Villanova
Freshman: 15.0 min., 6.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.3 apg
Sophomore: 32.0 min., 14.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 7.3 apg
Lots of observers, including myself, have devoted much attention to senior Corey Fisher as the primary benefactor of Scottie Reynolds' graduation. Well, if Fisher is No. 1 in that department, then Wayns is 1A. He also may have the best pro future on this team because he is more of a pure point guard while Fisher is really an undersized two guard.
Jason Clark, 6-2 guard, Georgetown
This was my best call on the board. Clark was an obscure player when I included him on my list, and he ended up being one of the most prolific three-point shooters in the Big East. His minutes increased from 18.3 per game as a freshman to 33.4, and his three-point percentage went from 34 percent to 42.4. So far this season, he is the Hoyas' second-leading scorer (15.8), draining 48.3 percent from three.
Larry Drew, 6-1 point guard, North Carolina
I wasn't that far off on Drew, but I didn't exactly nail it, either. His numbers did increase dramatically as he stepped in to replace Ty Lawson, but as the point guard he bore the brunt of responsibility for the Heels' dismal season. Unfortunately, he is off to a rocky start as a junior, averaging 3.8 points and shooting just 22.2 percent from the floor.
Kris Joseph, 6-7 forward, Syracuse
Joseph was a solid selection. Though he never quite cracked the starting lineup, he was voted the Big East's sixth man of the year after finishing third on the team in scoring, rebounding and steals.
Marcus Morris, 6-8 forward, Kansas
I wasn't the only one envisioning a big leap forward for Morris, and he did not disappoint. He appears to be ready to undergo another upgrade this season, averaging 20 points on 72.7 percent shooting through the Jayhawks' first three games.
Sean Mosley, 6-4 guard, Maryland
Mosley improved as predicted (his points, rebounds and assists all basically doubled), but while he is a solid player, he can hardly be considered a breakout star. Mosley had 14 points in the Terrapins' loss to Illinois last week, but his shooting percentages are way down across the board.
Delvon Roe, 6-8 forward, Michigan State
Roe was one of the nation's most highly regarded recruits coming out of St. Edward High in Lakewood, Ohio, but he missed most of his senior year and was never quite comfortable as a freshman. He seemed like a natural pick to break out as a sophomore, but he played most of the season with a meniscus tear in his right knee and made no palpable improvements. He had 15 points and five rebounds in the Spartans' win over South Carolina, but it will be a while until we know for sure whether Roe is finally ready to be the dominant frontcourt player that Tom Izzo recruited.
Robert Sacre, 7-foot center, Gonzaga
When I included Sacre on my list, he was coming off a foot injury that cost him most of his sophomore season, but he made the most of his opportunity for playing time last year. He went from averaging 9.3 minutes, 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds as a freshman to averaging 25.3 minutes, 10.3 rebounds and 5.4 rebounds as a redshirt sophomore.
Jeffery Taylor, 6-7 forward, Vanderbilt
Taylor is an athletic player who put up good numbers last year, but they weren't much better than what he did as a freshman. The Swedish native is often talked about as a potential NBA first-round pick, but he made just one three-pointer all last year. Through four games this season, he has seven threes, so maybe that's a sign of good things to come.
Elliot Williams, 6-4 guard, Memphis
As a freshman at Duke, Williams was a role player off the bench, but after he transferred to Memphis and got a waiver from the NCAA allowing him to play right away, he was a star. After leading the Tigers in scoring (17.9) and ranking second in rebounds (4.0) and assists (3.8), Williams entered the NBA draft, where he was selected in the first round by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Tony Woods, 6-11 center, Wake Forest
This one was a total air ball. Woods' statistical improvement over his freshman season was insignificant, and his offseason was worse. Woods was arrested over the summer and charged with assault after reportedly pushing the mother of his infant son, causing her to fracture her spine. Wake Forest dismissed him from school, and he has since transferred to Louisville, where he will be eligible to play midway through next season.