10 under-the-radar players who could become stars in 2017-18

Boston College guard Jerome Robinson passes the ball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Florida State defeated Boston College 104-72. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
Mark Wallheiser/AP photo

Which players in college basketball may not be well known now, but could emerge as stars during the upcoming college basketball season? Check out our list of 10 below. In no particular order…

Charlie Brown, Saint Joseph’s: Boasting an ordinary name doesn’t mean one has an ordinary game and Brown is tangible proof of that very sentiment. The versatile forward averaged 12.8 points and 5.0 rebounds last season as a freshman and much of his expected supporting cast — Shavar Newkirk, Lamarr Kimble, and Pierfrancesco Oliva — went down with season-ending injuries. Expect Brown to make a “DeAndre Bembry” caliber jump as a sophomore and average between 16 and 18 points each time he takes the floor as the Hawks re-establish themselves as one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10.

Seth Towns, Harvard: The 6-7 forward averaged 17.1 points and 6.0 rebounds over the Crimson’s final seven games of last season as a freshman and should be ready to take a massive step forward as a sophomore. Well embedded moles in Cambridge say that Towns has changed his body in hopes of becoming an Ivy League Player of the Year candidate in 17-18. Another thing to note about this kid? He was only 3-16 from the floor and 2-10 from three-point range when Harvard lost by two to Yale in the semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament. Momentum is close to going back in the right direction for Tommy Amaker’s program and Towns is a major reason why.

Tony Carr, Penn State: It’s not an oversight, it’s an insult. Carr averaged 13.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists last season as a freshman while leading the Nittany Lions to wins over three teams — Michigan State, Maryland, and Minnesota — who played in the NCAA Tournament. Carr rarely gets mentioned when people discuss when the top players in the Big Ten, but that will change this season if Pat Chambers get his talented young core into the top half of the conference standings. If the 6-3 Carr played for Michigan or Ohio State, he’d regularly be talked about as a potential All-American for the upcoming year — seriously.

Malachi Flynn, Washington State: When Ernie Kent had great teams at Oregon he leaned on point guards like Luke Ridnour and Aaron Brooks to anchor his offense and now he’s going to do the same thing with Flynn. After averaging 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists as a freshman while shooting an impressive 38.7 percent from three-point range, the 6-1 floor general should now become the face of the Cougars’ program as a sophomore. Flynn impressed many during USA Basketball’s U19 training camp this past summer in Colorado Springs and appears primed to be one of the top point guards in the Pac-12 during the 17-18 season.

B.J. Taylor, UCF: Johnny Dawkins has coached guards like Jay Williams, Chris Duhon and Chasson Randle during his time as a college coach and he firmly believes that Taylor should be mentioned in the same breath. If UCF contends for an NCAA Tournament berth as expected, expect Taylor to be mentioned as a first-team all-league candidate. This is the best guard in college basketball that nobody really knows about.

Jaylen Fisher, TCU: Jamie Dixon has made his alma relevant in just one year on the job and a big reason why is because of this guy. A former Top-40 recruit out of high school, Fisher had a major hand in the Horned Frogs’ run to the Postseason NIT title and should be one of the best players at his position as a sophomore. If Fisher and Devonte Graham traded places for TCU and Kansas respectively, there wouldn’t be much of a change in the Jayhawks’ production — he’s that good.

Jerome Robinson, Boston College: How do you a hide a 6-5 point guard? Jim Christian won’t be able to after this season. Robinson is firmly on the radar of NBA scouts thanks to his size, versatility, and ability to defend. While he needs to continue to improve his shooting (33.3 percent from three-point range), Robinson should form one of the ACC’s top back courts with teammate Ky Bowman. After averaging 18.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.7 steals as a sophomore, this Raleigh native will become a national name if Boston College can finally make a push into the ACC’s second tier.

Quinton Rose, Temple: Rose scored 26 when the Owls upset Florida State in the Preseason NIT and shined in Colorado Springs during USA Basketball workouts this past summer according to those in attendance. The 6-8 wing averaged 9.7 points last season as a freshman and should be one of the best players in the American Conference as a sophomore. This turned out to be a tremendous evaluation job by Fran Dunphy and his staff.

Jeff Dowtin, Rhode Island: Dowtin had 23 points, five assists, and zero turnovers the Rams’ NCAA Tournament win over Creighton and should take a seat at the table alongside E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell this season as an All-Atlantic 10 caliber player. The most underrated thing about the 6-3 Dowtin? How well he takes care of the ball. In his final 143 minutes of last season, Dowtin only turned the ball over twice.

Matisse Thybulle, Washington: Mike Hopkins needs a star to emerge during his first year as a head coach and Thybulle could very well wind up being that guy. The 6-5 wing has tremendous length and freakish athleticism, giving him the ability to always be around the ball on both sides of the floor. After playing second fiddle to both Dejounte Murray and Markelle Fultz over each of the past two seasons, Thybulle should have a chance to be featured more next season as Washington’s program truly enters a new era for the first time in almost two decades.

Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and is the lead college basketball columnist for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast via Compass Media Networks, which is available via iTunes. Rothstein is also a regular in-studio correspondent for both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. He currently lives in Manhattan.


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