With the start of the 2020-21 NCAA college basketball season just over 48 hours away, now is a perfect time to take a fun-filled look at the Top 10 breakout players for the upcoming campaign. Will an upperclassman like consensus first-team All-American Luka Garza ‘show out’ on the way to a handful of National Player of the Year awards or could some fresh-faced freshman lead their team to a deep tournament run before exiting for next year’s NBA draft? With that thought in mind, here’s a look at my top 10 breakout players in all of the NCAAB for the upcoming 2020-21 campaign so you can bet on their College Basketball odds.
Top 10 Burst Out Players 2020-21 Season
No. 10 Sam Hauser, Virginia Cavaliers
Preseason No. 4 Virginia was already expected to be a legitimate title hopeful this coming season, but with 6’8″ former Marquette star Sam Hauser joining the program after starring for the Golden Eagles for three season, the cavaliers could very well beat anyone in 2020-21. Hauser is a sweet-shooting big that put up 14.1 and 14.9 points per game as a sophomore and junior at Marquette before sitting out last season while deciding to transfer to Virginia. Hauser drained at least 40.2 percent from beyond the arc in each of his three season at Marquette while averaging 7.2 boards and 2.4 assists per game.
No. 9 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova Wildcats – PF
While it is Villanova guard Collin Gillespie is getting the lion’s share of attention as a potential Player of the Year candidate, for me, it is sophomore power forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl that could be the Wildcats’ biggest breakout star this coming season. Robinson-Earl averaged an impressive 10.5 points and 9.4 rebounds as a freshman last season while shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from beyond the arc. This youngster is as athletic as they come and can make plays down low, off the dribble and is a blossoming perimeter shooter as well.
No. 8 Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga Bulldogs – PG
Suggs has yet to suit up for No. 1 Gonzaga, but he’s expected to be a reason why the Bulldogs contend for the national championship this coming season. The 6’4″ Suggs can play with the ball in his hands or off the ball as a shooting guard. Suggs can shoot it from distance, although I love his mid-range game and ability to make his teammates better with timely passes. Suggs averaged 10 points per game while playing alongside recent first round NBA draft pick Tyrese Haliburton as Team USA took home the gold medal at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece.
No. 7 Olivier Sarr, Kentucky Wildcats – C
Not only does Kentucky have another elite recruiting class that will likely have at least one or two one-and-done performers that will be off to the NBA after the upcoming season, but the perennially-powerful Wildcats get one of the nation’s best big men in former wake Forest center Olivier Sarr for the upcoming campaign. Sarr put up 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds for the Demon Deacons last season while shooting 52.7 percent from the field. Sarr’s decision to transfer to Kentucky and the SEC ruling that allows him to play this coming season, could be the thing that hands the Wildcats the national championship in 2021.
No. 6 Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois Fighting Illini – SG
The 6’5″ junior doesn’t have the most explosive game, but the future NBA performer simply does everything well and I do mean everything. Dosunmu is the first player for the Fighting Illini‘ to be named a first-team AP All-American in the preseason since Dee Brown did so 15 years ago. The versatile shooting guard averaged what looks like a modest 16.6 points per game last season, but after putting up 13.8 points per game as a freshman, college hops fans everywhere should expect another jump this coming season. Dosunmu shot a fantastic 48.4 percent from the field, but just 29.6 percent from three-point distance. Still, the Chicago native is as clutch as they come as he showed in snapping Illinois’ 15-game losing streak against Wisconsin with a killer three as time wired down last season before backing that performance up by draining another game winner with 0.5 seconds remaining against Michigan, on the road no less.
No. 5 Carlik Jones, Louisville Cardinals – PG
Jones will be a senior this coming season, but I still expect him to be one of college basketball’s biggest breakout stars after starring for Radford in the Big South the last three years. Now, as he gets set to suit up for a Louisville Cardinals team that has some legitimate national championship hopes, the heady 6’1″ Jones has been named as a preseason All-American by many observers. Jones has increased his scoring average from 11.8 points, to 15.7 and last season, 20.0 points per contest. Jones shot a stellar 48.8 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from beyond the arc. Jones also dished out 5.5 assists per game while adding 4.5 boards per game. Jones could be the straw that stirs Louisville’s drink in 2020-21.
No. 4 Remy Martin, Arizona State Sun Devils – PG
If you haven’t seen Arizona State’s whirling dervish of a point guard, then you’ve missed watching a truly special player. The lightning-fast 6’0″ point guard averaged a stellar 19.1 points and 4.1 assists per game for the Sun Devils last season. While Martin shot a modest 43.2 percent from the field and 33.5 percent from three-point distance, Martin routinely makes jaw-dropping plays off the dribble, as a spot-up shooter, in the mid-range game or dishing out no-look assists that leave, both his opponents and teammates completely stunned.
No. 3 Oscar Tshiebwe, West Virginia Mountaineers – PF
If you don’t know, Oscar Tshiebwe is a virtual walking double-double that can affect the outcomes of games at both ends of the floor. The 6’9″ power forward plays with reckless abandon while posterizing unsuspecting low post defenders, when he’s not swatting shots and basically wreaking havoc whenever he’s on the floor. Tshiebwe averaged 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as a freshman last season while shooting a stellar 55.2 percent from the field and decent 70.8 percent from the free throw line. In short, the second-year big man is more than a handful to deal with!
No. 2 Evan Mobley, USC Trojans – C
He’s yet to suit up for a nationally-ranked USC squad, but 7-foot freshman center Evan Mobley is a seriously gifted big man that won the California Player of the Year award – twice. Mobley is athletic and can play with his back to the basket or facing up. Mobley runs the floor like a deer and both, finishes at the basket while denying opposing layups with alarming regularity.
No. 1 Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State Cowboys – PG
Cunningham has yet to play a single game at the college level, but the 6-foot-7 point guard is a clear-cut future NBA performer that is super-athletic and can make plays off the dribble or as a spot-up shooter. Cunningham, the nation’s No. 1 high schooler was recently named one of 50 players on the national watch list for the 2021 Naismith Trophy and the only freshman on the AP Preseason All-American squad. We get to see him on opening night as Oklahoma State opens up against UT-Arlington.
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