1. Harry Giles, Duke Blue Devils
Projected line: 14.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG
It would be easy to reference the stats Jahlil Okafor recorded in 2014-15 (e.g., 17.3 PPG) and assume they're similar what Giles will do this season. But here's the thing: Okafor didn't have junior-year version Grayson Allen as a teammate. Allen will be in the running for the Wooden Award, and even if that doesn't pan out he'll have the ball in his hands a good deal of the time. On the other hand, Giles figures to be a beast on the offensive glass, just like Okafor was. That, and the return of Amile Jefferson, should be great news for the Blue Devils' offense. Of course, all of the above assumes Giles is healthy and at full speed.
2. Josh Jackson, Kansas Jayhawks
Projected line: 17.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.6 APG
These figures are based on the scenario where Jackson earns featured- or at least co-featured-scorer status in the KU rotation in the wake of Perry Ellis' departure. Like Andrew Wiggins three seasons ago, Jackson is on track to step into a prominent role from day one in Lawrence as a freshman wing. That being said, the new guy won't have to do it all by any means, not with teammates like Frank Mason III, Devonte' Graham, Carlton Bragg, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, etc., etc.
3. Jayson Tatum, Duke Blue Devils
Projected line: 15.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.1 APG
For a second consecutive season Mike Krzyzewski is bringing in a slender yet exceptional wing on a one-and-done trajectory. Last year it was Brandon Ingram, and now it's Tatum. It's only natural to expect that Tatum's numbers will be at least somewhat Ingram-esque, albeit with a slight downward adjustment to reflect what should be a more potent Blue Devils frontcourt.
4. Lonzo Ball, UCLA Bruins
Projected line: 15.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.2 APG
The stats that Ball just posted on UCLA's three-game summer tour of Australia were, how best to put this, uneven. As a point guard (14 assists in 118 personal possessions), defender (six steals) and even as a rebounder he was outstanding. As a scorer, however, he was disastrous, to the tune of 33 percent shooting on his 2s, and 17 percent on his 3s. Even in a backcourt with Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and Aaron Holiday, the freshman was given starts and, more important, a featured role -- he personally accounted for a whopping 33 percent of UCLA's shot attempts during his minutes. It would appear Ball is going to stuff the stat sheet with both good and less-good numbers.
5. Bam Adebayo, Kentucky Wildcats
Projected line: 13.9 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.6 BPG
John Calipari has recently seen fit to mention Adebayo in the same breath as Karl-Anthony Towns and, yes, Anthony Davis. Of course even those guys posted some relatively (deceptively?) normal-looking per-game stats: Towns because his minutes were limited by the platoon system, and Davis because he often deferred on offense to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones. That being said, Adebayo should get more minutes than Towns, and he brings with him a fearsome reputation for cleaning the glass.
6. De'Aaron Fox, Kentucky Wildcats
Projected line: 14.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.0 APG
No one cares now because Kentucky's season ended in the round of 32, but for the record that 2015-16 Wildcats team shot really well from the field: 52 percent on 2s and 39 percent on 3s in SEC play, to be exact. And while that kind of accuracy is going to be difficult for UK to match in 2016-17, Fox will have every opportunity to follow in the footsteps of previous scoring point guards in Lexington (you know their names) and post really nice numbers for both points and assists.
7. Markelle Fultz, Washington Huskies
Projected line: 21.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 7.0 APG
Conveniently enough, I recently posted some thoughts on what we'll see this season from Fultz. I'll only add here that the robust per-game stats I've projected for the freshman incorporate a significant inflation factor based on Lorenzo Romar's preferred pace. Last season the Huskies averaged 77 possessions per 40 minutes in Pac-12 play, easily the fastest tempo recorded by any offense in major-conference action.
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