Here are three players you may not know, but will in 12 months
Around this time last season I gave you guys three names of ACC players that would possibly emerge during the 2018-19 campaign. For the most part, I was successful. Clyde Trapp and Raiquan Gray both played major roles at Clemson and Florida State last season. We don’t really need to talk about the swing and a miss that was Pig Jackson, who transferred to ECU and sat out the year.
Where I screwed up last year was impatience. I though Marcquise Reed was going pro and Trapp would have to shoulder the scoring burden and then Jackson transferred only two days after I published the piece. So this year I waited a month and now I have the list complete. Now it should be noted, this is different from my Breakout 8 which will also be back, but not until later. These are just a trio of names you may have never even heard of that will play significant roles on their teams this year. Players that averaged less than 10 minutes per game in the previous season. For instance, Gray was a redshirt the in 2017-18 and last season was his first. He averaged 12 minutes per game and put up 4 points and 2.3 rebounds. Not astounding, but significant.
They are numbered in descending order meaning the #1 guy is the player I am most confident in. Here we go…
- Kristian Sjolund-Georgia Tech: You guys can call me a homer all you want, you wanna check tape? Sjolund, or as he is being affectionately called in GT circles “Sjo-nuff”, played sparingly in his first 14 games last season. He averaged just 5 minutes and 1.2 points. On February 13th however, Josh Pastner decided he would sacrifice defense for shooting and gave Sjolund 26 minutes off the bench. He scored 11 points and made a trio of trifectas. He started the next four games and averaged 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds before going back on the shelf due to his defense. Kristian will go into the 2019-20 season as Georgia Tech’s best shooter aside from Mike Devoe. If he can figure it out defensively, he will have a major impact on the Yellow Jacket’s season.
- Robert Braswell-Syracuse: I am digging deep, I know. But, that is what this list is. At this point, can we agree that Marek Dolezaj may not be what we (yes we) thought he was going to be? Braswell is an intriguing player for me. He has that CJ Fair, Oshae Brissett type game that Boeheim seems to embrace. In a very small sample size last season he was 8-12 from the field in 12 appearances. His per 40 average last season was 18.9 points and 7.3 rebounds. Again, small sample size, but if you give him 15 minutes per game next season it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him providing 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. That is nothing to sneeze at.
- Hunter Tyson-Clemson: When I originally started putting this list together Tyson was #2. However, after taking a look at the possibility of Khavon Moore being immediately eligible, as well as Clemson getting after Alabama transfer Tevin Mack, I put him at #3. I will admit, sometimes I get caught up on the mechanics of a jump shot instead of whether or not the kid can actually get it off. That could be the case here, but I think Tyson has a bright future shooting the basketball from anywhere inside half court. I’ve seen the stats, I know he was bad from just about everywhere last year, but I think the stroke is there. Watch the game against Pitt in late February and tell me this kid can’t shoot. It will be interesting to see how Brownell deploys his troops this year, but if he needs shooting (and he will) Tyson should be on the floor.
Those are the three. Again, this is not the breakout list. These are just guys that should join the rotation this year after not having much of a role last year. All three obviously have huge question marks along with a good bit of upside.