Last August, I made five predictions on guys that would be breakout sophomores in the Big Sky. Because I am all about accountability here, let's take a look back and see how the predictions turned out.
Paul Garnica (Northern Colorado)
What I said: "Garnica is loaded with potential, as he does a lot of things very well. He posted one of the best steal rates in the BSC (4.3%), rebounded well from the guard position, and made some plays passing the ball (21.4% ARate). However, he needs to improve in 2 areas - taking care of the ball, and taking better shots."
How it turned out: Not a bad start. He showed a ton of improvement shooting the basketball, as he bumped his three-point shooting from 27% to 49%, and was a big part of the reason why UNC was the best three-point shooting team in the country last year. This bumped his EFG% way up. However, his turnover rate remained too high, especially if he is going to be a primary ballhandler. His steal rate also went down. He improved in some areas, but still has a lot of room for growth.
Emmanuel Addo (Northern Colorado)
What I said: "Addo will log a lot of minutes in the post, and he looks to be up to the
challenge. He played 37% of the team's minutes last year, but was an
excellent performer for his time on the court. He was a great offensive
rebounder, with his 12.3% second on the team to Mike Proctor. He was
also an efficient scorer, with a 53.5% from inside the 2-point arc
while making a respectable 68% of his FTs (and he was solid at getting
to the line)."
How it turned out: Addo played a little bit more (bumped his minutes from 15 per game to 21 per game), but remained mostly the same player. He averaged 9.6 ppg and 4.1 rpg last year, but in watching him you get the feeling that he has a lot more room to grow. He shot a similar percentage, and was a little bit better at getting to the line (and maybe 75% of his freebies, up from 68%). He was a better defensive rebounder, but pulled down a little less offensive rebounds. Talent wise, he can be one of the best big men in the conference, he has that much athletic ability. If he can develop from solid fringe starter and really consistently utilize all of his skills, UNC's frontcourt will be in good shape.
What I said: "Jamar is hampered a bit by the solid depth the Grizzlies have, but he
had a very productive freshman season and has the talent to be even
better as a sophomore. He was solid but not great offensively, shooting
48.5% from inside the arc and 38% beyond it. Both solid, but there could
especially be improvement from 2 point range. Jamar is a solid
rebounder for his size, and takes good care of the basketball for a
How it turned out: This was my best call, as Jamar developed from a good player into one of the very best in the conference, and he should have a chance to be the Player of the Year this season. He bumped his scoring by 5.5 ppg, and he did it very efficiently (better three-point shooting, better free-throw shooting, and getting to the line more often). He improved his passing and is one of the very best in the Big Sky, averaging 3.7 assists per game out of the two guard spot. He continued to rebound at a great rate for a guard. Jamar is now a bona fide star in the Big Sky, and even bigger things should be on the horizon. A Jamar and Will Cherry backcourt will be worth the price of admission every night.
Byron Fulton (Weber State)
What I said: "One of the answers will likely be Fulton, who had a solid freshman year
as a role player. At 6'7'' Fulton will be one of the big guys, but he
does not have a traditional low post game. He is dangerous from outside
the arc, shooting 24/50 from long range last year."
How it turned out: Fulton was mostly the same player in year two and in year one. He played similar minutes, and had similar stats across the board. He did not shoot as well as he did in his freshman year (though still a more than respectable 43% from downtown), but he improved as a rebounder. Fulton is a nice contributor for them... any team can use a big man that can step outside and hit shots, but can also defend and rebound down low. Fulton will be a key contributor once again for the Wildcats.
Jackson Carbajal (Sacramento State)
What I said: "Carbajal played solid minutes last year, and will be relied upon even
more after the graduation of Sultan Toles-Bey. He has room to improve,
as he was not that efficient last year. He took a lot more 3s than 2s,
even though he was a 31% shooter from downtown and 57% shooter inside
the arc. He should reverse that trend, and look to get inside more this
How it turned out: Carbajal had some injury issues (and was facing more competition for time on a more talented team), but he showed great improvement when he was on the court. He was a better outside shooter, improving from 31% from downtown to 36%, which was huge because he is not shy about taking that shot. He also did very well to cut down his turnovers, from a 23.6 TO Rate to 15.1 last season. Those two things made him a much better offensive player, and makes him a reliable scoring option for the Hornets at the two spot. If he can improve further, the Hornets starting five could be just about as good as anyone else's in the Big Sky.
How did I do?
Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball