With just a few weeks remaining until the first official practice of the 2018-2019 college basketball season, a new set of breakout starters will soon be announced. Athletes who may not have been stars on their respective teams last year will now be expected to take on more critical roles in the upcoming season.
Here are some key sixth men-type reserves who will make an impact as likely starters this season:
Matt Haarms, So, F, Purdue: Haarms may end up being the most important reserve to transition to a starter. His ability to block shots was a difference maker last year. Now if he becomes an offensive force to go along with his bubbly energy then Purdue will have an all-Big Ten player at the position.
— 🚂 Purdue Men’s Basketball (@BoilerBall) September 11, 2018
De’Andre Hunter, So., G, Virginia: Hunter could be the most influential athlete not named Haarms going from the bench to the starting lineup this year. Hunter, who was hurt for the Cavaliers' NCAA tournament first-round loss to UMBC, could be the player with the most pro potential on the roster. His numbers should surely climb with more minutes and touches.
Armoni Brooks, Jr., G, Houston: The Cougars will need scoring pop with the departure of Rob Gray. Brooks is the perfect candidate to jump in and be the one to produce for Kelvin Sampson. Brooks has the ability to go off as he did against East Carolina, making seven 3s for 21 points in the win.
Remy Martin, So., G, Arizona State: Martin can and will need to be the scorer Bobby Hurley covets to replace Tra Holder. Martin had his moments of glory, especially in the upset over Kansas when he scored 21 points in Lawrence. Martin put up 20 points in the loss to Colorado in the Pac-12 tournament. Don’t be shocked if he ends up averaging in the high teens.
Quade Green, So., G, Kentucky: Green could end up being the veteran lead guard the Wildcats will need. The talent is overflowing at Kentucky with a heralded freshmen class, led by Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro. But Green could be that steadying presence for John Calipari’s crew in its quest for a national title.
Jericho Sims, So., F, Texas: Sims could end up being a major piece of the Longhorns next season in their quest to be a contender in the Big 12. He put up 17 points in a critical overtime win over West Virginia in the finale of the regular season. That kind of scoring pop would be a huge lift for Texas.
Savion Flagg, So., G, Texas A&M: Flagg averaged 15 minutes a game and had his moments, scoring 21 points against Buffalo and seven points in a win over South Carolina. The Aggies are retooling and will need the leadership and the stabilizing play of Flagg if they’re going to return to the NCAA tournament.
Jahvon Blair, So., G, Georgetown: The Hoyas have a real shot to be a Big East contender. Blair could be a difference maker if he can produce — especially if he gets more touches in the starting lineup. He had one of his more impactful moments with 15 in a win over St. John’s. Even in the losses, he had his moments, scoring 17 points and making 11 of 12 free throws in a double overtime loss to Butler and then scoring 21 points in a loss at Creighton the following month.
Herb Jones, So., G, Alabama: Jones will dazzle opponents with his ability to defend and his offensive game is expected to improve enough to offset some of the departures for the Tide. Jones was a solid role player for the Tide last season whose role will increase dramatically for Avery Johnson’s crew this season.