Sunday, September 2, 2012

NBA, NCAA, High School: 25 Breakout Players for 2012-13 Season (20-16)

RYAN HARROW: Kentucky Wildcats

Written by: Prospect-Central

There are a many different ways to describe a "Breakout Player."  It could be a player who's been ineffective or marginal in the past and suddenly becomes a stud or it could be a player who's already been dominate, but has yet to start playing in their new league; NBA, NCAA, High School, etc,etc.  It could also be a good player on the cusp of greatness or an already great player that's never even been heard about before.  Whatever it may be, these 25 players should have nice 2012-13 seasons in their respective leagues and more than likely remain relevant in the game of basketball for a while. * Below are Prospect-Central's #20-16 Breakout Players for the 2012-13 basketball season.  Order of the rankings has to do with how well players will perform in their respective leagues as opposed to being individually ranked against each other.  Click for the rest of the players at the end of the article.

(20) DANTE EXUM sg / 6'5'' 185 / Class of 2014
Even though Dante Exum doesn't live in the United States, he appears to be headed this direction once it's time to enroll in college.  He currently resides in Canberra, Australia and would be an incoming junior if he attended high school in the States.  In my opinion he's probably a top 20 player in the Class of 2014 and clearly a high-major DI recruit.  He's been making a name for himself in a number of big-time events, including a very impressive performance at the 2012 Adidas Nations in early August, as well as a 2nd place finish with the Australian national team at the 17U FIBA Americas in July.  Dante finished the tournament 4th in scoring with 17.3 ppg and chipped in a solid 4.5 rpg and 2.5 apg as well.  He has nice length, a smooth jumper and is extremely crafty at getting in the lane.  He also has excellent genes since his father Cecil Exum won an NCAA championship with Michael Jordan and the UNC Tar Heels back in 1982, before being drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the 9th round of the 1984 NBA Draft.  While Dante's obviously a very talented baller, his teammate on the 17U Australian national team Ben Simmons is actually receiving even more interest from scouts and recruiters.  The 6-foot-8 Simmons is arguably the top player in the Class of 2015 and has been well documented by Prospect-Central, so he's not really a Breakout Player in my opinion.  Dante Exum already holds offers from LSU, SMU and Boise State and judging by his game, there should be many more to come.

(19) TOBIAS HARRIS sf / 6'8'' 225 / Milwaukee Bucks
Coming out of high school Tobias Harris was a top 10 recruit and even though he had a nice freshman year at Tennessee averaging 15 ppg and 7 rpg, many people were still surprised he decided to enter the 2011 NBA Draft.  He was ultimately selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 19th pick, but never really fit into Scott Skiles rotation, averaging only 11 mpg his rookie year.  Tobias entered the 2012 NBA Summer League with hopes of showing the Bucks staff he's worthy of more playing time and that's exactly what he did.  He averaged 21.5 ppg, 8 rpg and shot 53% from the field, which was good for top 10 in all categories.  He was definitely one of the best players in attendance and seemed like he could certainly make a positive contribution to the Bucks this upcoming season.  Since he's somewhat of a tweener and the Bucks have excellent depth at the power forward position with Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden and John Henson, he'll obviously have to play on the wing to crack the rotation.  With Mike Dunleavy and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute ahead of him on the small forward depth chart, there's good reason to think Tobias Harris's playing time and production will increase significantly during the 2012-13 NBA season.

(18) MERCEDES RUSSELL pf/c / 6'5'' 170 / Class of 2013
The only female baller to make to make Prospect-Central's top 25 Breakout Players for the 2012-13 season is actually a well known name if you follow high school girls basketball.  Currently the #1 player in the Class of 2013, Mercedes Russell's being called the "Next" Candace Parker by some analysts, and that's certainly high praise.  With such lofty expectations, it's easy to see why Mercedes Russell's a name basketball fans should become quite accustomed to in the future. Growing up in Springfield, Oregon, she was a guard with solid perimeter skills and the deadly ability to drive to the basket. She is a Mercedes after all (lol).  Russell's time as a guard was short lived, as she grew 6-inches right before high school.  She's been dominating ever since, winning a number of state championships as well as averaging a ridiculous 26 points, 15 rebounds, 6 blocks and 5 assists her junior year for Springfield High School.  Mercedes also won a gold medal at the 17U FIBA World Championships in August, leading the entire tournament in field goal percentage with 64% shooting.  She has a mature game in the post, solid footwork and a nice touch around the basket.  Mercedes "Benz" Russell has narrowed her college choices down to Tennessee & Louisville and looks like she might become the next big name in women's basketball.

(17) MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS pg/sg / 6'5'' 185 / Syracuse
There's a consensus among many analyst that Michael Carter-Williams is due for a breakout year in 2013, and for good reason. With the Orangemen loosing Dion Waiters to the NBA, where he was selected 4th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers (SMH), as well as losing Scoop Jardine because he was a senior, there  now seems to be an opening for Michael Carter-Williams to shine. Even though he was a McDonald's All-American and a top 20 recruit coming out of high school, he was buried on the bench behind the previously mentioned names and only averaged 10 mpg his freshman year.  Despite the limited playing time, Michael showed glimpses of his basketball IQ, court awareness and ability to run a proficient offense.  Look for his playing time to increase tremendously his sophomore year, as Jim Boeheim should be able to trust him as one of the leaders of the team.  With returning players C.J. Fair, Brandon Triche and Rakeem Christmas, plus two highly talented incoming freshmen in Dajuan Coleman and Jerami Grant, Syracuse should once again be a pre-season top 25 team in the country.  This is the last year the Orangemen will compete in the Big East since they're moving to the ACC in 2013, and you know Jim Boeheim wants to go out in style.  For that to happen, Michael-Carter Williams will need to be a factor.

(16) RYAN HARROW pg / 6'2'' 175 / Kentucky
John Calipari is synonymous with highly touted point guards.  Just look at his track record over the last five years; (2007) Derrick Rose, (2008) Tyreke Evans, (2009) John Wall, (2010) Brandon Knight and (2011) Marquis Teague.  He also has a chance of landing the #1 point guard in the Class of 2013 Andrew Harrison, but that's a story for another day.  For the time being, Calipari's floor general is the electrifying Ryan Harrow.  A top 30 player coming out of high school, Harrow had a decent freshman year at N.C. State, averaging 9 points and 3 assists per game before eventually transferring to Kentucky.  He had to sit out all of last year and I can only imagine how difficult it must have been watching his teammates win a national championship.  He's now ready to show Blue Nation what he's made of and seems poised for a breakout season.  While Kentucky lost six players to the NBA; #1 Anthony Davis, #2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, #18 Terrence Jones, #29 Marquis Teague, #42 Doron Lamb and #46 Darius Miller, Calipari's brought in another crop of phenomenal freshmen to fill the void. The Wildcats have added two top 10 players in Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress, a top 20 recruit in Archie Goodwin and a top 40 player in Willie Cauley and they seem ready to have another outstanding year.  As talented as Kentucky is, there isn't much depth at the point guard position and Ryan Harrow will need to play an instrumental role if they want to repeat as national champions.


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