The 2012 Charleston Classic field and bracket are set and now all we can do is wait for the games to commence on November 15. In the meantime here are five players to watch during the games from November 15-16, 18.
Isaiah Austin, Baylor: The Bears are getting a stellar incoming freshman for this season and it doesn’t hurt that he’s 7-feet tall. He’s got an all-around game on offense where he is not limited to just the post as he can step out and hit mid-range jumpers consistently. Combine that with good ball-handling and a decent three-point shot and he’s a tough match-up for any opposing big man. On defense, he obviously has the length to turn shots away at the rim and he also has the footwork to keep up with smaller forwards if need be. Austin has the potential to be a top-five lottery pick in the NBA Draft next year if he chooses to leave early but for now he’ll be competing for freshman of the year in the NCAA.
Pierre Jackson, Baylor: Another Baylor product is a player to watch and Jackson is one of the premier point guards in the country. He’s very quick off the dribble, possibly the quickest guard in the entire country. He led the Bears in points (13.8) and assists (5.9) last season and he brought an intensity to their lineup that was lacking previously. Along with Austin, the Bears have a shot at repeating their performance from last season and possibly to make it even further.
Andre Roberson, Colorado: Roberson is relatively unknown outside of the Pac 12 but he shouldn’t be. Last season he was a double-double machine as he averaged 11.6 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks to lead the Buffs to a Pac 12 championship and an upset win over UNLV in the NCAA Tournament. He finished fourth in the nation in rebounding and is only getting better, especially on offense. He’s improved his outside shot and is a match-up problem for other big guys as he can drive by the bigger, slower post players with ease while backing down the smaller forwards that try to curtail his speed. He’s a potential lottery pick and under head coach Tad Boyle he can only get better.
Isaiah Canaan, Murray State: He’s one of the best players that nobody has really heard of. Sure Murray State went 31-2 last season but Canaan still didn’t get the publicity he deserved. He can shoot from distance, slash to the basket with wild abandon and has a good mental game that prevents him from making many mistakes. He averaged 19 points a year ago and plans to improve that number this season.
D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s: They lost Maurice Harkless to the NBA Draft so that leaves Harrison as their best player. The shooting guard averaged 16.8 points last year and will only get better as Steve Lavin returns to the sideline to coach after battling prostate cancer and missing the majority of last season. He’ll need to improve his shooting percentage but he definitely has the potential to do so and become one of the premier guards in the nation.