The Big 12 was a conference full of parity, excitement and intensity last year, and the 2019-20 season will look similar. Here are the five players Andy Katz expects to make a lasting impact on their teams this season.
1.) Udoka Azubuike, 7-0, Sr., Kansas: Azubuike was one of the most dominant low-post players in the country before being sidelined for the season in early January with a hand injury. Azubuike could have still declared for the NBA draft. Instead, he came back to Kansas and should be the anchor for a Jayhawks team that could challenge for the Final Four. If he stays healthy and the Jayhawks lean on him as a productive post and rim protector, then Kansas can reach its potential as one of the top teams in the country.
2.) Tristan Clark, 6-9, Jr., Baylor: Clark was the Bears’ best player before he injured his knee and was lost for the season. He was a double-figure scorer and a board man. He shot a high percentage (nearly 74 percent) because of his ability to finish around the basket. Baylor may not be getting the national love it deserves, but the Bears are every bit a threat to Kansas and Texas Tech in the Big 12. Clark will be a main reason why.
3.) Jahmius Ramsey, 6-2, Fr., Texas Tech: The Red Raiders return key guards Davide Moretti and Kyler Edwards. They will be the key members of a core for Chris Beard after losing Jarrett Culver’s slashing and Matt Mooney’s timely shooting. But Ramsey has a chance to be a star for the Red Raiders. If Ramsey lives up to his hype as a freshman, then the Red Raiders will have the scoring pop needed on the perimeter and the defensive prowess to be in thick of the race for the Big 12 and another deep March run. But they may need Ramsey to help them cross that threshold.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: These 5 AAC players will make a difference next year
4.) De’Vion Harmon, 6-2, Fr., Oklahoma: Christian James was the go-to scorer on the perimeter for the Sooners. They needed another stud to lean on. They got one in Harmon. He could be the next in line of highly successful guards who have been coached by Lon Kruger. The frontcourt is set with Brady Manek and Kristian Doolittle. Harmon can be the perfect balance for a Sooners’ team that has been undervalued here in the offseason (yes even by me!).
Postseason consistency under @LonKruger.— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) May 22, 2019
One of only 3️⃣ Big 12 teams with 6️⃣ NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 7️⃣ seasons.
One of only 3️⃣ Big 12 teams with at least 7️⃣ March Madness wins in the last 5️⃣ seasons. pic.twitter.com/gfiJrWgBlN
5.) Matt Coleman III, 6-2, Jr., Texas: The Longhorns lost Kerwin Roach II, Jaxson Hayes and Dylan Osetkowski. The next man-up is Coleman. He’s ready for the challenge to be the extension of Shaka Smart. If he can shoulder the responsibility of being the go-to perimeter scorer and the lead on D, then Texas can once again be in the chase for an NCAA tournament bid. The hype will be on freshman center Will Baker but he needs Coleman to deliver him the ball and keep the pressure atop the perimeter.