Jaelan Sanford comes in at number 6 on our list. Those of you that have been paying attention to this countdown will notice that we skipped numbers 7 and 8. There is a most excellent reason for this. I am a moron. A typo in our sign up sheet was not noticed until tonight. Every single player rank up till now should be exactly 2 places higher. Now that I have hung my head in shame, on to our regularly scheduled post.
The 6’4 Evansville native averaged 13.6 points per game last season. He shot 45% from the floor and an impressive 39% from three point land. 4 of his 5 20+ point games came in MAC or postseason play. He scored in double digits in 16 of those 21 games. While all of this is a good indicator that he will have a good season, another reason I expect big things from him this year is the departure of a large chunk of Toledo’s offense from last season. The top 2 scorers are gone from last year and the 17.1 combined shots they took each game.
All of this should add up for more looks for Sanford. However, I did find a couple of stats interesting. Sanford was 4th in the conference in minutes played and his free throw shooting dropped from 81.4% as a freshman to 72.6% as a sophomore and I don’t think those two stats are unrelated. While I think Sanford can handle more of the load, I don’t think he can handle the entire load himself. I don’t think he has to. The Rockets did a good job reloading after losing Boothe last season and I expect more of the same this year.