Many teams have players who might not be their best player, or even one of their best players, but their season will hinge largely on what that player does. Oftentimes, it is a player who is in a new role, but complementary players or backups at a key position can also be among the most important players. Considering how important a point guard is to a team, it’s not a surprise that point guards lead the way on this list.
Here is a look at ten players around the country who figure to have an outsize impact on their teams’ success, or lack thereof, this season.
Ryan Anderson, Sr. F, Arizona When he first transferred from Boston College, chances are no one figured this would be the case. But he’s a proven veteran on a young team, so the Wildcats will need his intangibles and the benefits of his experience in the ACC before he transferred.
Dylan Ennis, Sr. G, Oregon The Ducks lost a lot on the perimeter, including Pac-12 Player of the Year Joseph Young. While they have good young talent, they need the Villanova transfer to contribute right away and be a veteran leader to help them grow up.
Jarvis Garrett, So. G, Rhode Island The Rams will be contenders in the Atlantic 10, and his floor leadership will be a big part of how far they go. He has guys like E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin to get the ball to, so this is a good place to be.
Kasey Hill, Jr. G, Florida The Gators have enough talent to get back to the NCAA Tournament, and it’s up to Hill to bring it all together for new head coach Mike White. He’s talented enough and was good last year, but he hasn’t quite seemed as good as advertised thus far.
Trey Kell, So. G, San Diego State The Aztecs are favored to win the Mountain West, and have emerged as something of a safe pick for that in recent years. But if they are to fulfill that, this highly-touted shooter must make a good jump from his freshman year to become a reliable complement to Winston Shepard.
Rodney Purvis, Jr. G, UConn The Huskies have Daniel Hamilton and Sterling Gibbs, and freshman Jalen Adams should make an instant impact. Amidah Brimah will hold down the fort inside. Purvis is very talented, and if he plays more consistently, the Huskies will be that much tougher to beat.
Tim Quarterman, Jr. G, LSU Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney get a lot of attention, and understandably so since they will have a lot to do with how good this team ultimately is. Quarterman is arguably the biggest key holdover, as he has good size and is quietly solid.
Quentin Snider, So. G, Louisville With both starting guards gone from last season, it’s up to him to run the show now alongside a lot of newcomers. He acquitted himself well late last season, but this will be a very different challenge.
Isaiah Taylor, Jr. G, Texas He’s the key to Texas, and it will be interesting to see how he does with new head coach Shaka Smart. The thinking is he should thrive, and if he does, the Longhorns could be pretty good.
Derryck Thornton, Fr. G, Duke It’s a lot of pressure for a freshman, but that’s kind of the “new normal” in college basketball. The Blue Devils don’t have another true point guard, so they’ll go as far as he goes facilitating with the likes of Grayson Allen, Brandon Ingram, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones and Luke Kennard.