A year ago at this time, Iowa's Keegan Murray was coming off a freshman season in which he started four games and averaged 7.2 points. Wisconsin's Johnny Davis hadn't started a single game in his first year, averaging 7.0 points. Both players finished 2021-22 as All-Americans and top-10 NBA draft picks.
Tari Eason went from averaging 7.3 points on a middling Cincinnati team to 16.9 points on a 22-win LSU team and ended up a top-20 pick. Alondes Williams put up 6.7 points at Oklahoma two seasons ago; last year, he averaged 18.5 points and was ACC Player of the Year at Wake Forest.
You get the point. Breakout players emerge in different ways: freshmen making sophomore leaps, transfers fitting in better at a new home, former highly ranked recruits realizing their high school potential. There are going to be plenty more this season, maybe not ones who develop into All-Americans or lottery picks, but certainly ones who will help shape the national landscape.
Here are 14 potential candidates.
Could another Murray from Iowa be a breakout star in college basketball? Murray has developed NBA draft buzz in his own right, and just the possibility of him taking a huge step forward like his older brother is intriguing. He started just one game last season, averaging 9.7 points and 4.3 rebounds, but showed flashes of being an inside-outside threat -- ranking 10th in the Big Ten from inside the arc (58.2%) while also making nearly 39% of his 3-pointers on the season. His 29-point, 11-rebound game against Indiana and his 23 points against Purdue a couple weeks later could be a sign of things to come.