College Basketball Season Preview: Top projected breakout players
3:46 | College Basketball
College Basketball Season Preview: Top projected breakout players
Dan Hanner & Luke Winn
Thursday October 16th, 2014

This week on, we've been releasing data from a college basketball statistical projection system developed by economist Dan Hanner with assistance from SI's Luke Winn. Part I featured our projected top 100 scorers, top 20 rebounders and top 20 in assists, and it contains a more in-depth description of the statistical model. Part II featured the projected top 50 freshmen scorers. Today, we unveil our forecast of the top 50 breakout scorers according to their projected increase in raw points per game.

One of the best uses of our projection system is in identifying breakout opportunities -- situations where minutes and shots become available to players who've performed well in reserve roles, or whose talent level suggests they'll put up bigger numbers. While it's impossible to predict exactly how overhauled teams such as Florida, UNLV, Oregon State or Marquette will play in 2014-15, we can at least identify the players who are most likely to fill vacated scoring roles.

Our pool of individual player projections is limited to the top 11 conferences -- the football power five plus the Atlantic 10, Big East, AAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West and West Coast. The system forecasts advanced statistics -- such as offensive efficiency, usage rates, and rebound and assist rates -- for each player and then fits them within the context of their team's rotation to yield raw stats. The breakout list is limited to players projected to score at least 8.0 points per game.

projected breakout players
Rank name year pos. team Last PPG Projected PPG Change
1 Chris Walker So. PF Florida 1.9 10.8 8.9
When Walker became eligible on Jan. 29 after dealing with concerns over his amateur status, the Gators were in the midst of a 30-game winning streak, and it was too late for him to break into the rotation. He's been suspended for the first two regular season games this year for violating team rules, but once he takes the court, we will finally get a chance to see this immensely talented prospect play a significant role, as he's likely to replace Patric Young at the five-spot.
2 Eli Carter Sr. PG Florida 0.4 8.3 7.8
Carter is more of a bounce-back candidate than a breakout candidate: He averaged 14.9 points at Rutgers in '12-13, then transferred to Florida, where he opted to take a medical redshirt after struggling with his health early last season for the Gators.
3 Zak Irvin So. SF Michigan 6.7 14.1 7.5
Irvin, a former top-30 recruit, was incredibly efficient in a reserve role as a freshman, making 42.5 percent of his threes. He'll take on a much bigger role with Glenn Robinson III gone to the NBA.
4 Malcolm Duvivier So. SG Oregon State 3.1 10.4 7.4
The Beavers' five leading scorers from '13-14 are gone, and new head coach Wayne Tinkle -- who was hired in late May -- doesn't have a big recruiting class to fill the void. Someone has to pick up the shots and points, and Duvivier is a likely candidate.
5 ShawnDre' Jones So. SG Richmond 6.4 13.3 6.9
After starting point guard Cedrick Lindsey went down with an injury last season, Jones stepped in and scored double-digit points -- and as an efficient, high-volume shooter, he's primed to raise his scoring averages significantly in a starting role.
6 Patrick Holloway Jr. SG George Mason 8.7 15.5 6.8
Holloway is the Patriots' most efficient returning offensive player -- and by far their best guard. That means he should play major minutes, and if the team's European tour was any indication, he'll emerge as a major scorer.
7 Olaf Schaftenaar Jr. PF Oregon State 2.2 8.9 6.7
Schaftenaar has been an efficient-but-passive scorer throughout his career, and given how gutted the Beavers' roster is for '13-14, he's due for modest PPG increase out of necessity.
8 Deonte Burton So. SF Marquette 6.9 13.0 6.1
Burton was the No. 1 pick in Luke Winn's Breakout Sophomore Formula, and the projection system likes him as well. The former four-star recruit is a high-volume shooter and efficient scorer, and Marquette's new coaching staff is certain to utilize him more than former coach Buzz Williams did last season.
9 Tyler Roberson So. PF Syracuse 2.2 8.2 6.1
Someone has to score for Syracuse, and Roberson, a former top-40 recruit, is a good bet to break out. His efficiency wasn't great as a freshman, but he played so sparingly that we shouldn't draw too many conclusions based on last year's stats.
10 Terry Rozier So. SG Louisville 7.0 12.5 5.5
No one can replace Russ Smith, but based on Rozier's impressive freshman-year efficiency, the model expects him to take advantage of his increased playing time and equal the scoring output of backcourt mate Chris Jones.
Rank name year pos. team Last PPG Projected PPG Change
11 Marqueze Coleman Jr. PG Nevada 6.0 11.4 5.5
Coleman is the first big stretch on this list; he hasn't shown much at the college level in his first two seasons. But he had a four-star rating from coming out of high school, and with several key players having graduated, Nevada needs him to live up to his potential as its lead guard.
12 Marc Loving So. PF Ohio State 4.4 9.8 5.4
Loving was aggressive and relatively efficient last year, and the model expects the former top-100 recruit to take a sophomore leap as he jumps into Ohio State's starting lineup. With increased minutes he should score close to double-digits.
13 Lamond Murray Jr. So. SF Pepperdine 4.0 9.3 5.3
Murray was efficient and aggressive as a freshman, and as the highest-ranked recruit on Pepperdine's roster, we expect him to play a critical role in Year 2.
14 Zach Auguste Jr. PF Notre Dame 6.7 11.8 5.1
The Irish have plenty of post minutes free after losing Garrick Sherman and Tom Knight, and Auguste is expected to inherit them. If he continues the aggressive, efficient habits he showed in limited playing time, his scoring production should increase.
15 Jalen Reynolds So. PF Xavier 3.8 8.8 5.0
Reynolds could be a star in a few years; the only thing holding him back as a sophomore is that the Musketeers have two other talented frontcourt players in Matt Stainbrook and James Farr.
16 Cullen Neal So. PG New Mexico 7.1 12.2 5.0
The son of the Lobos' head coach wasn't the most efficient player in Year 1, but with their three top players departed, he'll be asked to take on a much larger role.
17 Jalen Moore So. SF Utah State 5.6 10.5 4.9
Moore is the Aggies' only returning rotation player -- and thus it's hard to envision a scenario in which he doesn't become an important part of the offense.
18 Elgin Cook Jr. PF Oregon 6.7 11.6 4.9
Cook showed flashes of his scoring ability last season, but was somewhat underused due to the Ducks' depth. Oregon no longer has the luxury of depth after losing multiple players to transfers and suspensions, and thus Cook will have to play bigger minutes.
19 Malcolm Hill So. PF Illinois 4.4 9.2 4.8
Illinois turned the '13-14 season around after Hill joined the starting lineup. Expect the former top-100 recruit to thrive as a sophomore.
20 T.J. Wallace So. SG Pacific 7.0 11.7 4.7
Wallace is Pacific's only returning rotation player; like Moore at Utah State, this is breakout-by-neccessity.
Rank name year pos. team Last PPG Projected PPG Change
21 Will Artino Sr. C Creighton 5.5 10.1 4.6
Artino's efficiency is likely to plummet this year without a cast of elite 3-point shooters around him. But the Bluejays need someone to score close-range buckets, and the rest of their frontcourt is inexperienced.
22 Dion Wright Jr. PF St. Bonaventure 8.7 13.1 4.4
Wright was the Bonnies' most efficient player last season. He finishes well around the rim, makes his free throws and rarely turns the ball over.
23 Peter Jok So. SG Iowa 4.4 8.7 4.3
Jok was aggressive and efficient in limited minutes last season, and Iowa needs more scoring after losing Roy Devyn Marble to the NBA.
24 D'Andre Wright Jr. PF Tulsa 7.4 11.8 4.3
If new head coach Frank Haith uses a short rotation like he did at Missouri, Wright -- an aggressive scorer -- could be the beneficiary.
25 Jordan Roper Jr. PG Clemson 7.4 11.7 4.3
Clemson needs someone to score now that K.J. McDaniels is on the Sixers. Roper, an efficient and aggressive junior, seems like a likely candidate.
26 Matt Williams Jr. SG UCF 6.0 10.2 4.2
Sometimes these projections are more about playing time than anything else. UCF lost most of its production from '13-14, and its top two returning scorers, Williams and Kasey Wilson, should play a larger role.
27 Jabari Bird So. SG California 8.3 12.5 4.2
Jordan Mathews was Cal's most efficient freshman, but Bird was the higher-ranked recruit; both players should become major scorers for the Bears this season.
28 Christian Wood So. PF UNLV 4.5 8.7 4.2
The Rebels will depend heavily on freshmen Rashad Vaughn and Dwayne Morgan, but Wood is a former top-50 recruit who was efficient last season, and shouldn't be overlooked.
29 Devin Brooks Sr. SG Creighton 6.5 10.5 4.0
Brooks is hard-wired to attack the basket and shoot with high frequency. With Doug McDermott gone, look for the former juco transfer to become Creighton's top scorer.
30 Ike Iroegbu So. PG Washington State 5.5 9.4 4.0
New head coach Ernie Kent is likely to increase the Cougars' tempo, and Iroegbu will have to sink or swim as the new system's point guard.
Rank name year pos. team Last PPG Projected PPG Change
31 Jordan Barham Jr. SG Davidson 5.8 9.7 3.9
Barham, who shot a team-high 64.4 percent on twos last season despite being just 6-foot-4, is likely to have a larger role in Year 3.
32 Keith Frazier So. SG SMU 5.4 9.3 3.9
When five-star guard Emmanuel Mudiay skipped on out the Mustangs and signed a pro contract in China, it opened the door for Frazier, a former top-100 prospect, to earn more playing time.
33 Myles Mack Sr. PG Rutgers 14.9 18.8 3.8
The Scarlet Knights have such limited guard depth that Mack, a proven scorer, will hardly spend any time on the bench.
34 Troy Williams So. SF Indiana 7.3 11.1 3.8
Indiana needs some frontcourt points to compliment its talented backcourt of Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon. Williams is the most likely candidate to fill that scoring role.
35 Ricardo Gathers Jr. PF Baylor 6.4 10.2 3.8
Baylor's only returning big man will have to play more minutes, which should make him a double-digit scorer -- and one of the nation's top rebounders.
36 Derrick Walton So. PG Michigan 7.9 11.7 3.7
Walton fits the breakout formula: He's a former elite recruit who had an efficient freshman season for a team that lost three key offensive players in Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary.
37 Jake Belford Jr. PF Davidson 6.0 9.7 3.7
Belford is the only Wildcat taller than 6-4 who projects as an efficient option this season. His playing time will have to increase.
38 Kennedy Meeks So. C North Carolina 7.6 11.3 3.7
Meeks really should have played more as a freshman: he was efficient, aggressive and a great rebounder. His massive offseason weight loss only increases his likelihood of a breakout.
39 Bryson Scott So. PG Purdue 6.1 9.7 3.6
On a Purdue team that lost several transfers, Scott will have to play more -- and given how much he shoots, he'll get his points. The question is whether he improves his efficiency enough to help the Boilermakers.
40 Kasey Hill So. PG Florida 5.5 9.1 3.6
This is partly about the departure of point guard Scottie Wilbekin and partly about Hill being the No. 11 recruit in the Class of 2013. Hill has more game than he was able to show last season.
Rank name year pos. team Last PPG Projected PPG Change
41 Jordan Sibert Sr. SG Dayton 12.2 15.8 3.6
The Flyers used a balanced lineup of 11 players last year, but after multiple transfers and one key recruit being ruled ineligible, the rotation won't be as deep in '14-15. Sibert is Dayton's best player, and he's going to see more minutes.
42 Josh Newkirk So. PG Pittsburgh 4.6 8.1 3.6
Cameron Wright is expected to miss the start of the season with a broken foot, opening the door for Newkirk to play more backcourt minutes.
43 Travis Trice Sr. PG Michigan State 7.3 10.9 3.6
Trice was very efficient in complementary role last season, making 43.4 percent of his threes and 81.8 percent of his free throws. He'll need to take more shots now that Gary Harris and Keith Appling are gone.
44 Kasey Wilson Jr. SF UCF 9.6 13.1 3.5
Wilson, a supporting-cast member to the Isaiah Sykes show last season, is likely to take on a bigger role.
45 Justin Anderson Jr. SF Virginia 7.8 11.3 3.5
Anderson was a top-50 recruit in the Class of 2012, and he's been aggressive and efficient in limited playing time at Virginia. He'll play -- and score -- more as a junior on an ACC title contender.
46 Nick Duncan So. SF Boise State 5.0 8.5 3.5
The 6-7 Duncan made 40.2 percent of his threes last year as a freshman. With that level of accuracy, he's due for more playing time.
47 Chicken Knowles So. PF Houston 7.1 10.6 3.5
Knowles was the No. 64 recruit in the Class of 2012, and with several key Cougars transferring this offseason -- including power forward Tashawn Thomas -- he should thrive with starters' minutes.
48 Jacob Jensen So. C Drake 5.0 8.4 3.5
Jensen was raw offensively last season, but among freshman who played at least 16 minutes per game, only Julius Randle, Kennedy Meeks, Noah Vonleh, Joel Embiid and Sean Obi (who recently transferred to Duke) had a higher defensive rebounding rate. Jensen has earned more playing time.
49 Jarrod Uthoff Jr. SF Iowa 7.6 11.1 3.5
Iowa has several efficient big men who are due for an increase in minutes, but Uthoff may see the biggest bump due to his ability to knock down jumpers.
50 Chris Perry So. PF South Florida 8.9 12.3 3.4
Now that Victor Rudd and John Egbunu are gone, this is Perry's team. He could emerge as one of the more valuable big men in the AAC.

Five who just missed the top 50: Nick King, Memphis; Kendall Stephens, Purdue; Johnathan Williams, Missouri; Jordan Mathews, Cal, Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse.

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