Today at ESPN, Myron Medcalf took a look at potential impact sophomores. I'm usually not in to such fuzzy, non-measurable, evaluations, but I'll give Medcalf credit because I was intrigued by his list. To qualify, the players "will be asked to carry more weight next season. Some of these young men might have to carry an entire team." I think that describes pretty much every sophomore in the nation, and the list would have been more meaningful if he had limited it to guys who played a certain percentage of minutes this year, or used X % of the possessions. Still – even though it's limited and fuzzy – it's a good list.
So who did he miss?
1. Przemek Karnowski (Gonzaga). Last year Kelly Olynyk came out of nowhere to become one of the nation's most valuable players, while his backup – freshman Przemek Karnowski – languished on the bench. But the Zags have a loaded back court, and return Sam Dower and Karnowski in the front court. In the first three games of his career (during which Kelly Olynyk was on the bench for disciplinary reasons) Karnowski averaged 16.0 points a game and made 73% of his shot attempts. Then he spent the rest of year coming off the bench behind an All American and only once played more than 20 minutes.
2. Devon Bookert (Florida State). Bookert began last season by getting in a scooter accident which nearly ended his career before it began. He escaped with an injured knee, but it couldn't be cleaned up until the season was over. So he missed the entire pre-season, and the played the regular season hobbled. All he did was lead the nation in 3-pt% (52.5%) and putting up the highest offensive rating (110.6) of any freshman in Leonard Hamilton's decade long tenure at FSU. Now he's had a full offseason to get better, he'll get warmed up on the team's overseas trip to Greece, and when the season starts he'll have the keys to the team. He won't be the big time scorer, but he'll be running the show.
3. Tonye Jekiri (Miami). The fact that Miami had seven players who played more minutes that Jekiri and six are now gone automatically qualifies the Hurricane sophomore for this list. If you listen to Miami guys, they're absolutely pumped about Jekiri's potential. He's 7-feet tall. He's athletic. He's going to block shots and get offensive boards, and hopefully draw some fouls. Most of all, he'll be about the only guy on the court who knows what's going on, and how far Miami falls will be dependent on how well Jekiri plays.