2011-12 Big Ten Potential Breakout Players

deshaun-thomas[1]

In what we hope to make an annual feature on the blog, here’s an early look at some of the Big Ten players that could have breakout performances during the upcoming season. These are generally players that had limited roles in the offense due to opportunity, or had slightly underwhelming seasons, last year but should be in line for a much more productive season in 2011. Last year we outlined high offensive rating and low usage, high usage blocking players departing and in-season improvement as some of the major criteria for identifying breakout players. As a rule of thumb, players that were named to the All-Freshman Team last year (Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft, Melsahn Basabe and Tim Hardaway Jr.) are ineligible for this squad.

Deshaun Thomas (Forward, 6-6, 230lbs, Ohio State)
Deshaun Thomas had no problem finding field goal attempts when he was on the floor last season. He used a higher proportion of shot attempts while he was on the floor than any other player, including conference player of the year Jared Sullinger. For such an aggressive player, Thomas posted pretty solid shooting numbers, making 54% of his twos and 33% of his threes. His defense on the other hand, was an issue as plays like this were a bit too common. Thomas has the talent and his defense should come along as a sophomore and the opportunity is there with both Jon Diebler and David Lighty graduating on the wings.

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Video: Glenn Robinson III AAU Highlights

We’ve posted several scouting and highlight videos of 2012 Michigan commitment Glenn Robinson III this summer, but here’s some additional footage from both the NY2LA Summer Jam and Invitational compiled by the Midwest Ballers.

Previously:

An Early Look at the 2011-12 Backcourt

Borrowing an idea from our friends at Inside the Hall, here’s an early look at five major storylines affecting the Michigan backcourt for this upcoming season.

How does Trey Burke perform as a true freshman point guard – In all but the rarest circumstances, freshmen point guards struggle. We examined this phenomenon during Darius Morris’s freshmen year and despite his struggles as a freshman, he excelled as a sophomore. Reports from open gym on Trey Burke have been extremely positive, with some going as far as proclaiming Burke as the best player on the floor for stretches. Open gym is just open gym, and the hardest step for Burke will be learning the offense once practice starts. That being said, his quickness and three point shooting should add a new element to the pick and roll offense that was featured last season with Darius Morris.

Ty Kish, from City League Hoops, posted some footage of Burke at a recent summer league game in Columbus. The footage isn’t necessarily earth shattering but it’s pretty clear that Burke has gotten bigger and stronger:

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Thursday Links

Twitter Mailbag: McGary, Novak, Defense and More

bilde[1]From @MichiganPrepStars: What are the chances of Michigan landing Mitch McGary and/or Gary Harris if at all?

Michigan has a shot at McGary. The Wolverines have already landed an unofficial visit, made McGary’s top six and have developed a strong relationship with the SYF Players AAU program after landing commitments from Glenn Robinson III and Max Bielfeldt.

On the other hand, it’s tough to be too optimistic when the competition includes Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky. There’s a reason that McGary is ranked among the top five players in the country: he’s really good.

A recent report from Evan Daniels noted that Michigan was one of the teams most often mentioned in regards to McGary. However, there’s also been plenty of talk that most people don’t have a clue what McGary’s going to do. McGary took a trip to Florida this week and outlined his visit plans in a new blog on ESPN:

At the beginning of September, I’m taking an official to Michigan [Ed: WMU game]. After I get back from there, I’ll take an unofficial visit to Kentucky, then Sept. 6-7 I’ll take an official visit to North Carolina. After that I’ll head over to Duke from Sept. 8-10 for an official. I’m gonna watch Duke play Stanford on the football field. Then I’ll head to school on Sept. 11.

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Video: Nik Stauskas vs. Baylor University

Baylor’s basketball program is currently in the middle of the foreign trip to Canada this summer and the Bears faced off against a Canadian youth squad that featured 2012 Michigan commitment Nik Stauskas. Baylor won the game easily, 104-78, but Stauskas put together a solid performance, tallying 27 points and seven rebounds. Here’s some footage of Stauskas from the exhibition:

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