5. Augustus Gilchrist, senior F – South Florida
Last season Gilchrist averaged 13 points and six rebounds a game. He is a long body at 6-foot-10. Gilchrist has battled through injuries in the past, but if he can remain healthy this guy is primed for a big season.
Once again he’ll be the focal point of the offense. He has a lot to offer on the offensive end, as he is one of the few big men with a solid mid-range jumper, which expands the defense.
4. Cleveland Melivn, sophomore F – DePaul
Melvin surprised a lot of people when he averaged 14 points per game on his way to Big East Rookie of the Year honors. Barring a sophomore slump, Melvin should have an even better season. He will be the leader of a young, but talented DePaul team.
After a year of Big East basketball under his belt, expect big things from this sophomore forward. At 6-foot-8 and 210-pounds, Melvin is tough matchup due to his size and mobility.
3. Yancy Gates, senior F – Cincinnati
The senior forward, Gates averaged 12 and seven last season for an improving Bearcats team.
Gates is a handful on offense, he can step away from the basket and shoot, although his shooting needs to improve. He can also punish defenders in the paint.
Gates may not have eye-popping numbers this year, but he could be a name you hear often, as he will be the headlining attraction to an up-and-coming Cincy team.
2. Peyton Siva, junior G – Louisville
The Louisville Cardinals point guard returns after an improved sophomore campaign. Siva averaged just under 10 points a game, dished out five assists, and recorded three rebounds a game even though he is listed at 5-foot-11.
Siva is ready for a breakout season because he crafty and strong point guard. Siva penetrates as well as any guard in the conference and is a tough defender (two steals per game 2010-2011).
He improved a lot from his freshman to sophomore year, let’s see if he can improve from sophomore year to junior year.
1. Maalik Wayns, junior G – Villanova
Villanova has a recent history with short point guards. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher both had successful careers for head coach Jay Wright. This year, Wayns should take the reigns in the Wildcat backcourt.
Wayns averaged just under 14 points per game last season to go along with four assists. But since January, Wayns really took off. In Villanova’s last 19 games, the 6-foot-2 point guard scoring in double figures 14 times.
Wayns is lightning quick and can get to the rim, but like Siva needs to improve on his shooting.