Ryan Boatright, Connecticut: The ultra quick guard was a nice compliment to Shabazz Napier in the backcourt last season, but will see an expanded role as a senior. Boatright is a fierce competitor who compensates for his 6-foot size with a fearless attitude. He’s an effective defender who can force turnovers while locking down the perimeter. Boatright is a solid shooter who can play in the pick-and-roll, but it will be interesting to see how he performs as the primary ball handler this year.
Amida Brimah, Connecticut: Brimah is a lengthy 7-foot center with immense upside. The Ghana native blocked 2.3 shots per game last year and uses his size to disrupt opponents inside. He’s still developing as an offensive player, but showed some promising signs as a passer. Brimah will need to work on his scoring and rebounding, but has the size and motor that could intrigue NBA teams as a long-term project. He might be the best pro prospect in the conference this season.
Will Cummings, Temple: Cummings emerged as a key contributor for Temple last season. He averaged 16.8 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game as a junior and will look for similar success as a senior. The 6-foot-2 point guard is a blur in the open floor and can beat his defender off the bounce in half-court situations. He will look to add an outside jumper to boost his effectiveness this year.
Keith Frazier, SMU: The former McDonald’s All-American only averaged 14.8 minutes per game as a freshman but could have a breakout sophomore year on deck. Frazier is a knock-down shooter who made 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts last season. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard is a quality athlete and has solid size for the position, but will look to round out his game this year.
Shaq Goodwin, Memphis: There aren’t many players at the college level that play harder than Goodwin. As a 6-foot-9 power forward that lacks NBA athleticism, Goodwin still averaged 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He has a strong frame, and has gotten in much better shape which will allow him to compete better inside. He could still add a mid-range jump shot. Goodwin will be the leader for Memphis this season and it will be interesting to see if there are any new additions to his game.
Markus Kennedy, SMU: Kennedy averaged 12.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last year and should have another productive year ahead. The 6-foot-9 power forward is an impressive post player who can score or distribute with his back to the basket. He’ll need to improve as a defender and could add to his already advanced offensive game by attacking bigger opponents off the dribble.
Nick King, Memphis: King did not see the floor often as a freshman and was usually inserted out of his natural position, but will likely have a big sophomore season ahead. The 6-foot-7 wing should move into the starting lineup alongside Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols to make for an excellent frontcourt. King has the size and length to play at the next level and is a decent athlete. Although he didn’t take many threes last year, the southpaw has a nice stroke that should become a consistent part of his game this year. Look for a jump in King’s development this season.
Austin Nichols, Memphis: Nichols had a quality freshman season, averaging 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, but will now look to see his stock rise as his role at Memphis grows. The 6-foot-9 power forward is an excellent post player who can score on the block consistently. He has good size for the position, but will need to improve as a defender and rebounder.
Rodney Purvis, Connecticut: The N.C. State transfer sat out last season and is now ready to contribute immediately. Purvis averaged 8.3 points per game as a freshman and will be looked upon to provide a solid chunk of scoring for the Huskies. The 6-foot-2 combo guard is a slasher and is at his best in the open floor. He can get to the bucket and shot 38.5 percent from deep as a freshman, although he isn’t known as a shooter. Purvis is a big-time athlete that has the tools to become a good defender, but will need to show it this season. He’s also more of a shooting guard than point guard at this point, but his lack of size will be a question mark at the next level.
James Woodard, Tulsa: Woodard had a big sophomore season last year for Tulsa and looks to continue his success in the AAC. He averaged 15.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season while shooting 43.8% from the field and 38.7% from three-point range. Woodard is a quality shooter with nice form and consistency. At 6-foot-3, Woodard is a decent ball handler but is unlikely to be a point guard at the next level. He’s a bit of a ‘tweener’ but could find a niche as a shooter.
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