A season can be changed by an injury. In the same way, 10 teams are hoping a key player returning from injury will change their fortunes for 2012-13.
Among those players returning from injury include a forward with All-American potential at Minnesota, a key veteran at rebuilding North Carolina, and explosive guard at USC and former starters at three SEC schools.
Top 10 Freshmen for 2012-13
Impact Transfers for 2012-13
Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2012-13
10 PLAYERS BACK FROM INJURY
Laurence Bowers, F, Missouri
Bowers’ knee injury last October was thought to be a crippling blow to a Missouri team that lacked size in ’11-12. The Tigers, however, thrived playing small ball and went on to win 30 games in Frank Haith’s first season. Still, Mizzou will welcome back the 6-8, 227-pound senior, who averaged 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds two years ago.
Michael Davenport, G, St. Bonaventure
Davenport started 31 games as a junior in 2010-11, averaging 11.1 points while shooting 37.1 percent from 3-point range. He missed all but the first eight games of the ’11-12 campaign with a shoulder injury. The 6-5 senior from Cincinnati will be one of the Bonnies’ primary offensive options this season.
Jio Fontan, G, USC
The Trojans’ hopes to be relevant in the Pac-12 took a hit last year when Fontan went down with a torn ACL during a summer tour through South America. The transfer from Fordham averaged 10.5 points and 3.9 assists in 2010-11, his first season at USC.
Trevor Mbakwe, F, Minnesota
The skilled power forward was on his way to a terrific senior season (14.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg) before tearing his ACL after seven games. Mbakwe was granted an extra season of eligibility by the NCAA and will return to anchor the Gophers’ frontcourt. His return, however, is a complete guarantee as Mbakwe could face jail time after a DUI conviction was a violation of his probation.
Leslie McDonald, G, North Carolina
The former McDonald’s All-American missed all of his junior season with a torn ACL. He has averaged 5.2 points in 13.1 minutes while shooting a disappointing 35.6 percent from the field. McDonald, however, will be expected to play a big role on the ’12-13 Tar Heels. Fellow guard Dexter Strickland also returns to the UNC lineup after missing the final 19 games with a torn ACL.
Marshawn Powell, F, Arkansas
Powell emerged as one of the best big men in the SEC as a freshman in ’09-10 but has had to battle injuries over the past two seasons. He played in 28 games as a sophomore in ’10-11 but his production was down due in part to a slow recovery from a broken foot. Last year, he missed all but two games after going down with a knee injury.
Scootie Randall, G, Temple
Randall averaged 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds two years ago but was sidelined with a knee injury in ’11-12. He will play a major role in a Temple backcourt that must replace Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore.
Kourtney Roberson, F, Texas A&M
An ankle injury limited Roberson to only nine games last season. The 6-9, 240-pound power forward averaged 5.6 points and 3.8 boards in only 12.7 minutes as a freshman two years ago. He could be a double-digit rebounder for the Aggies in 2012-12.
Terrance Shannon, F, Florida State
Shannon, a bullish power forward, was off to a solid last season (8.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg through seven games) before going down with a shoulder injury. With Bernard James and Xavier Gibson no longer around, Shannon will be asked to make significant contributions on a Florida State club that should be in the hunt for an ACC title.
Scott Suggs, G, Washington
Suggs, who missed last season with a broken foot, will give the Huskies a much-need 3-point threat on the perimeter. The 6-6 senior averaged 7.4 points and shot 45.0 percent from the beyond arc two years ago.
More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store
Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
8. Ohio State
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
19. Notre Dame