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Andy Katz | Correspondent | October 28, 2019

9 sophomores who could make a big impact this upcoming season

9 high-impact college basketball sophomores entering 2019-20, ranked

Duke’s Tre Jones, Kentucky’s Ashton Hagans, Florida’s Andrew Nembhard and Michigan State’s Aaron Henry are well-known sophomores on possible title contender teams.  

These sophomores will be highlighted throughout the season. But, there are other sophomores who could become household names by the end of the season. 

This is just a sampling of at least nine, who will be widely known come March.  

Tyrese Haliburton, 6-5, So., Iowa State: Haliburton was a breakout scorer for Team USA at the U-19 FIBA tournament this past summer. He’s evolved into a go-to scorer for the Cyclones. He should be a regular double-figure scorer and will/should become an all-Big 12 first-team performer.  

Keyontae Johnson, 6-5, So., Florida: Johnson became a starter midway through last season. He flourished in the role. The Gators added preseason SEC player of the year Kerry Blackshear Jr. from Virginia Tech. Blackshear got the necessary preseason publicity. But Johnson will get plenty of headlines. He’s going to increase his production and importance throughout the season.  

Kihei Clark, 5-9, So., Virginia: Clark was the surprise hidden gem on the national championship team last season. He simply needed to defend and be a distributor. But with the departures of Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter, Clark will be counted on to stretch his game. He can do more and will.  

A.J. Reeves, 6-6, So., Providence: Reeves showed at times last season that he had the goods to be a breakout star. A knee injury shut him down for a few weeks in the middle of the season. But he re-emerged as a scorer when he put up 24 against Butler in the Big East tournament. He has the chance to bust out big numbers regularly.  

RANKINGS: Michigan State is No. 1 in the AP preseason Top 25 | Andy Katz's Power 36 rankings 

Daniel Oturu, 6-10, C, Minnesota: Oturu will become one of the best bigs in the Big Ten. That’s saying something with the likes of Penn State’s Lamar Stevens, Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman, Maryland’s Jalen Smith and Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson. Jordan Murphy is gone and that means Oturu will get more touches and produce at a higher clip.  

Francis Okoro, 6-9, So., Oregon: Okoro didn’t put up major numbers last season, but that was because of the early play of Bol Bol and the late dominance by Louis King, Paul White and Kenny Wooten. Okoro will anchor an inside crew littered with newcomers. Dana Altman will count on Okoro to lead and deliver. He will.  

Kessler Edwards, 6-8, So., Pepperdine: Waves coach Lorenzo Romar is raving about Edwards’ star possibilities. Colbey Ross deserves most of the preseason hype. Edwards will have nearly as much a say as Ross if the Waves are going to make a run toward an NCAA tournament berth.  

FAN VOTE: Cast your pick for the men's basketball preseason Player of the Year

Dexter Dennis, 6-5, So., Wichita State: Dennis averaged over eight points a game and shot 40 percent on from the 3-point line last season. He’s going to be an even more productive scorer, distributor and overall gamer this season for a surging Shockers team.  

Kyle Lofton, 6-3, So., St. Bonaventure: Lofton will be known outside of the A-10 and upstate New York. He’s next in line to become a big-time scorer for the Bonnies. He’s going to be a star.

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