The world needs to know about the young men we became obsessed with while editing ESPN The Magazine's college basketball preview issue. Here now, they shall!
J'adore Dior….Lowhorn, that is. Aside from being a San Francisco Don (who doesn't love a Don?) Lowhorn's bio lists him as the only college player in history to play for two coaches with 800+ wins, a virtually unverifiable stat. He transferred to SF from Bobby Knight's Texas Tech team just in time to catch Eddie Sutton's abbreviated stint in the Bay Area. He also averaged 20.5 ppg, 27th in the country. - Magazine writer Elena Bergeron
Did you know Chicago State has a lilliputian legacy? Well, it does. And David Holston is their next diminutive scoring threat. The 5'8" guard averaged 23.1 ppg and 5.1 apg last season, and he is just three points shy of passing 5'9" Royce Parran as the school's all-time scoring leader. Mark your calendars, because Chicago State is heading to Newark to take on NJIT (the worst team in D1 last year) on Valentine's Day. Holston had his worst game of the season against the Highlanders a season ago (seven points), so you know revenge will be on the mind. I'm predicting 50 and 15, and will be risking the wrath of my girlfriend to be there, and you should too. See you there. - Magazine contributor Matt Meyers
Hansbrough, Ellington and Lawson might be getting all the NC hype this season, but I'm fired up about a guy down Tobacco Road. Ew, no, not in Durham—in Greensboro. Sure, his name suggests he should be in the faceoff circle for the Hurricanes, but Mikko Koivisto actually lights it up from beyond the arc for the UNC-G Spartans. As a sophomore last year, my new favorite Fin shot 45.5% from three-point range, better than any player on either UNC-CH or Duke. Need proof he can play against top Carolina competition? Check him out against Davidson's Stephen Curry (43.9% 3FG) on Feb. 5. - Magazine general editor Sarah Turcotte
McNeese State's Kleon Penn is a monster. Not the kind with fangs and claws, but the sort who shreds opponents' FG ratios with his monstrous blocks. At 6'11", 285 pounds, the Bayou beast became a nightmare in the Southland Conference with his 117 blocked shots (fourth in D1 last year), an average of four swats a game. What's truly scary, though, is that this is from a JC transfer whose hoops resume lists only eight games with H. Lavity Stoutt CC and two years playing for a club team in his native British Virgin Islands (where incidentally he posted a triple-triple: 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots). And now that he's got the green light to play his senior year, offenses everywhere should be running scared. - Magazine editor Jenn Holmes
In Marqus Blakely's bio on Vermont's web page, coach Mike Lonergan says, "We need him to improve his production this year offensively and defensively as he will be a big part of our team's success." Improve? What more can the guy do? In addition to leading the America East in points (19.0 ppg), rebounds (11.0 rpg) and blocks (2.72 bpg), he also won conference POY and defensive POY. Oh, and did I mention he's only 6'5"! The best little big man in the country also provided mid-major fans with one of the dunks of the year. Sorry coach, it doesn't get any better than that. - Magazine Executive Editor Neil Fine approved this message (Though he didn't exactly write it. But this is his favorite guy.)