Commentary

Breakthrough players to watch

Updated: November 8, 2010, 1:54 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

One thing I love about the start of a new season is the way certain players can break through and develop into superstars.

Here are five guys to keep an eye on this season as they could move up into prominence big-time this season:

Shelvin Mack, Butler
With Gordon Hayward off to the NBA, Mack could be the key guy for Brad Stevens' club. The 6-3 junior from Lexington (do you think John Calipari would love to have him?) was second on the team in scoring and assists last season. He averaged 13 ppg. at the Final Four last season and you can expect even more from him this season.

Kris Joseph, Syracuse
With Wesley Johnson leaving early for the NBA, Joseph is expected to step up and give Jim Boeheim's team a major boost. Joseph was the Big East's Sixth Man of the Year as a sophomore, and he will improve even more as a junior. He has shown explosiveness and he will have many more opportunities to score during the 2010-11 season. Look for him to score around 17-18 a game after averaging under 11 last season.

John Henson, North Carolina
He is getting bigger and stronger. His freshman season was a learning experience, and I believe he will live up to his billing as a sophomore. It helps to have diaper dandy Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller to take some of the pressure off of him.

Jordan Hamilton, Texas
He is the top returning scorer (10.0 ppg) from last year's squad. Hamilton played in all 34 games off the bench during his freshman season. He led the team in three-point field goals made (58-of-159) and ranked fourth on the squad in both scoring and rebounding (3.7 rpg) in just 19.9 minutes per contest. He will earn more playing time and Rick Barnes will call upon him to produce more.

Jordan Williams, Maryland
Gary Williams believes he has a special young player. The 6-10 sophomore averaged 8.6 rebounds per game as a diaper dandy. Only two other Maryland freshmen had 250 points and 250 rebounds -- Joe Smith and Buck Williams turned out to be pretty good! He should be a double-double man night in and night out.

Keep an eye on these guys as they go to a different level this season.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.