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Vander Joaquim (Senior, Hawaii)- After an offseason of training with the Angola national team we can further our expectations for last year’s first-team All-WAC center. An offseason filled with international competition should give Vander a huge edge going into the season and I expect to see major improvements resulting in double-double averages. Unfortunately, there was a slight setback and Joaquim tore his MCL late September, but with a speedy recovery he won’t miss too many games. Last season the lengthy 6-10 stud averaged 14.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg and 1.8 bpg, leading the Warriors in all three categories.
Stephan Hicks (Sophomore, CSUN)- Hicks was hands down the Matadors best player last season leading the way with 15.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg, while being named Freshman All-American along with Big West Freshman of the Year. At 6-6 200 lbs Hicks is a very dynamic wing, who is a great attacker with an above average mid-range jumpshot. I also personally know he can throwdown because one can make the argument that he’s dunked on me twice. Expect his numbers to flirt with 20 ppg and 8 rpg.
Keith Rendleman (Senior, UNCW)- Rendleman is another very underrated mid-major. The forward could have transferred from UNC-Wilmington to the ACC, Big East, or SEC at the end of the year due to a postseason ban, but decided to stay not only because he could dominate this year, but also for the beach. The beyond athletic Rendleman is an active rebounder at 6-8 220 lbs, and is best in transition attacking the basket with his 30+ vertical. Last season he averaged 15.3 ppg (53FG%) and 10.0 rpg despite a 10-21 overall record. The return of Rendleman will be huge for the Seahawks, as he’ll become a CAA star easily averaging a double-double while absolutely tearing the rim off.
DeAndre Kane (Junior, Marshall)- Kane might have his attitude problems (led the NCAA in technical fouls for two consecutive seasons), but he plays as hard and as passionate as anybody else. Kane has a great ability to create his own shot (averaging 16.5 ppg), which he proved with his Triple OT 40-point game against Tulsa in the C-USA quarterfinals. If Kane can improve on his 41.4FG% and not settle for as many three pointers, he can become a very serious threat and help Marshall (21-14 last season) to an NCAA tournament bid. If everything goes right Kane can average 18 ppg , 6 rpg, and 4 apg.
Chasson Randle (Sophomore, Stanford)- In the past few years the Pac-12 has lacked the talent it once had, but things are looking brighter as the conference is on the upswing, and when a lot of the focus is on new UCLA and Arizona recruits, many let guys like Randle fall completely under the radar. In his impressive freshman campaign, Randle established himself in a starting role averaging 13.8 ppg shooting 43.8% from behind the arc. Randle is clearly a pure shooter with sharp shooter accuracy and will end up being Stanford’s best player next season as only a sophomore. He should be good for at least 15 points each game, but needs to work on his distributing skills for the next level.