The college football season has come to an end, bringing college basketball to the forefront. If you haven’t tuned in yet, you’ve missed an absolutely wild season to-date. Good teams have been upset left and right, leaving the media and fans totally lost when trying to figure out which teams could really advance to the Final Four in Atlanta.
On a more local level, we’ve seen enough games now to believe that some of the hot starts we’ve seen from players are not an aberration, but a real sign of growth. In a college basketball landscape that points tons of attention at the one-and-done freshmen, the development of upperclassmen can be forgotten.
These five players have improved so much this year, it would be impossible not to recognize their newfound success.
5. Daniel Oturu, Minnesota
The Big Ten is an absolute slaughterhouse this season, with every single team offering a tough test in conference play. KenPom is currently projecting 11 of the conferences 14 teams to finish between 11-9 and 9-11 in conference. The battles for conference tournament seeds and bubble superiority will be ruthless. That’s due in part to the emergence of players like Oturu. His elevation from a productive freshman who put up 11 points, 7 rebounds, and a block each game to a game-wrecking big man as a sophomore has changed Minnesota’s outlook.
Oturu is currently posting 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. His 29-point, 18-rebound effort on the road at Purdue proved that the Gophers won’t just be tough to beat at home at the Barn. They’ll mean business all over the conference, thanks in part to Oturu.