20. Ronald Nored & Khyle Marshall, Butler University
Over the past four years, Butler has registered an astounding 117-25 record, including back-to-back trips to the national championship game. But with Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard both gone, can the Bulldogs continue their winning ways? The answer is yes. This season, Brad Stevens will turn to senior point guard Ronald Nored and sophomore swingman Khyle Marshall in their quest for a trip back to the Final Four. Nored, an excellent leader on the court, will have the ball in his hands, while Marshall will pick up where he left off in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
19. Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bobcats
By the end of last season, Gerald Henderson finally became the player Charlotte knew he was capable of becoming when they drafted him 12th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. Averaging 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the month of April, the Bobcats felt comfortable enough trading away Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson in order to open up the starting spot for the third-year shooting guard. Oh yeah, and Michael Jordan told the Charlotte Observer that same month he believes Henderson has the upside to be an All-Star in two seasons.
18. Isaiah Whitehead, Lincoln High School
Isaiah Whitehead, a 6-4 sophomore combo guard, is the next up and coming New York City star hailing from Brooklyn’s legendary Lincoln High School. After an impressive summer, in which he was actively recruited by the likes of Kentucky, Arizona, North Carolina, Syracuse, St. John’s, Florida, Georgetown, and UCLA, Whitehead has his sights set on winning a city title. And following in the footsteps of Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson, he knows the spotlight will be on him every step of the way.
17. Patric Young, University of Florida
After the graduation of Alex Tyus, Vernon Macklin and Chandler Parsons, one might expect Gator fans to start panicking. Patric Young will assuage those fears. The sophomore center was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, despite averaging a mere 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game last year off the bench. After a strong showing for USA Basketball this summer, Young is ready to improve upon his SEC All-Freshman status and the Gators’ SEC Championship and Elite Eight run.
16. Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Paul George is a budding young talent. After climbing draft boards last June to go 10th overall to the Pacers, he stepped into his rookie season with a lot to learn. Despite only logging 16 starts, he played well enough off the bench to make the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, averaging 7.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 20.7 minutes a game. After earning a reputation as a strong defender, especially against MVP Derrick Rose in the first round of the playoffs, the swingman will provide Indiana with the scoring and athleticism they need for years to come.