Injuries, star teammates and a lack of opportunities cost these players a chance to really flourish with their respective teams last season. Now that these roadblocks are behind them, they look poised for bounce back seasons.
Roosevelt Jones - Butler guard
If this name does not sound familiar, it's because Roosevelt Jones missed his entire sophomore season with a wrist injury and the Bulldogs really missed him last year. As Jones is set to start his junior season, he is looking to provide the solid numbers that Butler fans became accustomed to in 2012-13. Jones averaged 10.1 points per game, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Fans, especially of the Bulldogs, will never forget this moment he provided Hinkle Fieldhouse two years ago against Gonzaga.
Jones, along with classmate Kellen Dunham and senior guard Alex Barlow, will look to bounce back after finishing ninth in their first season in the Big East. If Jones can provide the spark that he did as a freshman, the Bulldogs could really surprise some people.
Jalen Reynolds - Xavier Forward
Sophomore Jalen Reynolds didn't get too many opportunities to make an impact for the Musketeers last season, but did start three of the last four games for Xavier. Reynolds averaged 17.5 minutes over the last 12 contests while putting up 11.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in wins over St. John’s and then-No. 9 ranked Creighton. These performances inclined the conference to award him the Big East Rookie of the Week award.
Now that head coach Chris Mack knows what he has in Reynolds, expect him to use the big 6-foot-10, 232-pound man frequently this upcoming season. If he does, it could pay big dividends for the Musketeers, who are one of the conference favorites this season.
Devin Brooks - Creighton Forward
In case fans of Creighton are still in denial or were too sad to watch the NBA Draft, Doug McDermott no longer plays for the Bluejays and will suit up for the Chicago Bulls this season. Now, with his son gone, head coach Greg McDermott needs to really start to explore his other options going forward. One of them has to be guard Devin Brooks, who was one of the many Bluejays who were overshadowed by the McBuckets craze that swept the nation.
As a junior in his first season with the Jays, Brooks only averaged 6.5 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Those numbers need to rise for Creighton to be good again this season, and with more opportunities for Brooks, that is likely the case. With McDermott gone, it will take a team effort. They still won't be able to account for what they've lost, but a bounce back season from Brooks will surely help the cause.
Carson Desrosiers - Providence Forward
The Friars have a similar dilemma to deal with as they lost Bryce Cotton to the NBA and need someone to step up. Senior forward Carson Desrosiers may be not be as talented as Cotton, but he will need to have a bigger role on this team in his senior season. With the recruiting class coming in, some may have expected Desrosiers to be more of a leader who is just there to help mentor the young talents. I expect him to play a big role on this team with his game on the court.
Desrosiers only averaged 3.6 points per game last season, which was down from his 4.8 from 2012-13. His rebounds did go up however, from 4.4 to 4.8, and with more touches his offensive numbers could really rise. Desrosiers is a vital part of this team and will really bounce back to help the Friars have a solid season.
There will likely be many names that will join this list that we did not see coming, and that is the beauty of sports, especially college basketball. America always loves a good underdog story. Expect these gentleman among others to provide that again this year.