With the summer in full swing, the turnover in the Horizon League has finally slowed and team rosters for the 2016-17 have started to take shape. With the loss of much of the conference’s top upperclassmen, opportunity abounds for the incoming class of freshmen. Here's who you can expect to step up:
Marcus Ottey, Illinois-Chicago
The UIC Flames have an excellent class of freshmen coming to campus this fall. Given the struggles they had a season ago, it is likely that many, if not all of the newcomers will see significant opportunities to play. However, Ottey stands out as the most likely to make an immediate impact because of the Flames' lack of point guard depth. His competition should be another incoming freshman, Godwin Boahen. Ottey has a slight size advantage over Boahen and garnered some interest from major conference programs during his recruitment. He would seem to have the upper hand on the competition for the point guard job entering camp at UIC.
Carson Williams, Northern Kentucky
Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball award winner, Williams put up huge numbers in high school and averaged a double-double his senior season. While he isn’t the highest rated freshman coming to play for the Norse next season (Mason Faulkner takes that honor, according to Verbal Commits), Williams may be in the best position to play right away. The Norse lack size in the post and will likely ask some conventionally undersized players to fill in. Senior Cole Murray could slot in as a "stretch four" for the Norse, opening up room for the 6’6 Williams to find time at small forward. Faulkner will likely see time as well and could make his way into the starting lineup at a guard position. But Williams’ size could make the transition to college basketball easier.
Trevor Anderson, Green Bay
The Phoenix lost one of their leaders in Carrington Love this offseason, leaving an opening at point guard for the defending Horizon League tournament champs. Anderson has the skills the take over the job. He could have gone to a bigger program, but committed to Green Bay prior to his senior season. His prolific scoring in high school could translate well to the fast-paced system the Phoenix run. He will have to beat out some upperclassmen for time at guard early on with Charles Cooper, Khalil Small, and Tevin Findlay all returning, but Anderson should be given an opportunity to prove himself sooner rather than later.
Micah Bradford, Valparaiso
The Crusaders received some bad news recently, when the NCAA decided that Keith Carter would not receive another year of eligibility. That creates a need at point guard and Bradford could fill it. Like Anderson at Green Bay, Bradford will have to compete with upperclassmen for his spot, most notably with Lexus Williams, who has served as starting point guard in the past, and Shane Hammink, who spelled Carter at point guard last season. But, the Crusaders would rather have Hammink elsewhere on the floor if possible and Williams has yet to regain his speed coming off of injuries two seasons ago. If Bradford comes into camp strong, the job could be his.