With the early entry process over with, we now know who will be returning to college basketball for the 2015-16 season. With the season months away, it’s time to start speculating who will be a breakout star, much like Jerian Grant or Seth Tuttle last year.
Luckily, I’m here to tell you who those guys are. Note, this won’t include any freshmen since that’s a whole different animal and with recruiting blogs and stories, there’s very few freshmen that can be considered breakout stars.
These are in no specific order, but don’t be surprised to see these guys make All-American and All-Conference teams come March 2016.
Isaac Copeland (Georgetown)
Remember the names Jeff Green and Otto Porter? Can I interest you in another 6’9” forward from Georgetown that can stretch the floor and has a good feel for the game? Well, that’s Isaac Copleand, a rising sophomore who is built much like his predecessors. He averaged over six points and three rebounds a game as a freshman playing just 20 minutes per game, with those numbers expected to balloon as a sophomore. The Hoyas lost two of their three scorers, making Copeland the number two option behind D’Vanutes Smith-Rivera.
Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame)
A high-scoring guard in a high-scoring offense usually makes for stars. Heck, it worked for Jerian Grant last season at Notre Dame. It’s going to work for Demetrius Jackson this year for the Irish as well. Jackson, a starter as a sophomore last year played over 34 minutes a game and averaged over 12 points, three assists and three rebounds last year as the third or fourth scoring option. Jackson is the most likely of this group to be an All-American thanks to the system he plays in along with his pure talent.
Marcus Lee (Kentucky)
How many other top-30 recruits and McDonald’s All-American’s can you say waited until his junior year to finally have a chance? That’s exactly what Marcus Lee has done, and he has a chance to be the next Willie Cauley-Stein at Kentucky. He came to Lexington very raw on the offensive side of the ball, but he is athletic enough to switch on screens like Cauley-Stein, err Trill Cauley-Stein, while also being effective at protecting the rim. He made a name for himself against Michigan in the Elite Eight a couple years ago when he had four big dunks in the first half. This year will be his time to start at the power forward position and show why he was a McDonald’s All-American.
Josh Hart (Villanova)
Josh Hart would have been a breakout player last year if he wasn’t stuck behind Darrun Hilliard at Villanova. But, with Hilliard graduating, it’s Hart’s time to be the man for the Wildcats. He averaged over 10 points per game despite playing just 25 minutes. He’s a powerful wing that Jay Wright loves and can attack the glass, averaging 4.5 boards as a sophomore while also being a strong defender. Like everyone else at Villanova, Hart can shoot from deep as a 46 percent shooter while being athletic enough to get to the rim and finish. He’ll contend for Big East Player of the Year.