basketball Edit

Bossi's Best: Super sophomores

A major storyline during the early part of the 2016-17 college basketball season has been the inspired play of the freshman class.

However, several sophomores have taken huge steps with their games as well. Today we take a look at 10 who have stood out through the first portion of the season because of their improvement.

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As a freshman: 7.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

As a sophomore: 17.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.

Analysis: A five-star prospect out of high school for whom the Huskies were heavy favorites, Adams struggled with his jump shot and turnovers as a freshman. Short on able bodies due to injury, UConn has needed Adams to step up, and he’s come up big while significantly improving his jump shooting (43.5 percent from three this season).

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As a freshman: 4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds per game.

As a sophomore: 12.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

Analysis: Anunoby came on strong as a freshman and might have been a first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. The way he’s playing, he’s looking like a potential lottery pick in 2017. He can shoot from deep, is efficient (57.4 percent shooter), he’s a big-time athlete and he’s as good a perimeter defender as there is in college basketball. He was an unranked three-star coming out of high school and one we missed in our evaluation.

As a freshman: 7.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

As a sophomore: 18.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

Analysis: Like Anunoby, Collins was an unranked three-star who has far surpassed any projections for him as a high schooler while developing into a potential NBA player. Collins has great size, good hands and a feel for scoring around the rim. What’s most impressive is he’s putting up these numbers in roughly 23 minutes per game.

As a freshman: 8.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

As a sophomore: 15.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

Analysis: A four-star prospect in high school, Evans was a big win for Cincinnati when they beat South Carolina, Tulane, LSU and Tulane for his services. Though he put up good numbers as a freshman, Evans struggled with his shot and shot selection. This season, he’s shooting better than 55 percent from the field and looks like an all-conference player in the AAC.

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As a freshman: 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

As a sophomore: 23.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.

Analysis: A shoulder injury cut short the freshman season for Evans – a McDonald’s All-American who picked OSU over Illinois – and may have kept him from testing the NBA waters. Now healthy, Evans looks like an All-American and has been drawing comparisons to Chris Paul in college. Most impressive is that he’s putting up these numbers playing one minute less per game than he did in his first year.

As a freshman: 11.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

As a sophomore: 20.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

Analysis: Kennard was a five-star prospect and McDonald’s All-American who picked Duke over Kentucky, and expectations were always high. Even despite poor shooting as a freshman he put up impressive numbers. This year, with all the hype focused on junior guard Grayson Allen and the Duke freshmen, all Kennard has done is lead the Blue Devils in scoring and look like their best player to date.

As a freshman: 7.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

As a sophomore: 16.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Analysis: A redshirt sophomore and four-star prospect from the class of 2014, Law has bounced back better than anybody could have expected from left shoulder surgery that cost him his junior season. Known more as an athletic slasher, he’s shooting the ball at a blistering 54 percent clip from three-point range so far this year. If the Wildcats are going to reach their first NCAA Tournament, he needs to keep this up.

As a freshman: 6.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

As a sophomore: 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

Analysis: A big-time athlete with some shooting touch, Metu had flashes of brilliance as a freshman. Stronger and more confident in his sophomore season, Metu is more consistent and a big part of the Trojans' 8-0 start to the season.

As a freshman: 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

As a sophomore: 16.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

Analysis: A five-star recruit who ended up picking Purdue after first committing to Michigan State during a drawn-out recruitment, Swanigan tested NBA Draft waters after his freshman season. The Association told him to continue to slim down and most of all, get more efficient. That’s exactly what he’s done during a big-time sophomore campaign. Maybe most important has been resisting the urge to jack deep jumpers.

As a freshman: 12.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

As a sophomore: 17.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

Analysis: A top-10 prospect out of high school who picked California over Arizona after a heated recruiting battle, Rabb would have likely been a top-15 pick in the 2016 Draft. But he didn’t feel he was ready and wanted to prove that he could shoulder an offensive load while getting stronger. So far, so good. Rabb has flourished in the role of Cal’s go-to post scorer.

Other sophs taking big strides

Esa Ahmad (West Virginia)

Barry Brown (Kansas State)

Tyler Davis (Texas A&M)

D.J. Hogg (Texas A&M)

Dedrick Lawson (Memphis)

Keelon Lawson (Memphis)

Aaron Holiday (UCLA)

Tevin Mack (Texas)

Khyri Thomas (Creighton)

LaGerald Vick (Kansas)

Glynn Watson (Nebraska)

Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State).