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2012-13 College Basketball Previews

CBSSports.com College Basketball Staff
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 (AP)  
 
By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

A healthy Laurence Bowers will be critical to Missouri making a deep postseason run. For Louisville to win it all, Wayne Blackshear will need to stay on the court. Minnesota needs Trevor Mbakwe back 100 percent from his torn ACL in order to get back dancing. We saw what happened to Pittsburgh without a healthy Tray Woodall.

It's time to take a look at our list of guys that return from injury, academics, suspensions, missions and even heart issues. And, as s bonus, we'll give you a list of players that redshirted as freshmen last season that will make an impact in 2012-13.

Bounce-back players
Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota
The 6-foot-8 athletic power forward began his college career in 2007 at Marquette. He barely played as a freshman, transferred to Miami-Dade junior college and then went to Minnesota -- where he redshirted his first season while dealing with legal issues. Mbakwe had a strong junior season for the Golden Gophers, with 19 double-doubles -- and was a legitimate All-American candidate entering last season. However, just seven games into the year and averaging 14.8 points and 10 boards per game, he tore his ACL and missed the remainder of the season. Mbakwe, if healthy, is one of the top players in the country. He also makes Minnesota a contender for a top spot in the Big Ten.
Laurence Bowers, Missouri
The athletic forward was slated to be an integral part of Missouri's success last season, but he tore his ACL in his left knee in preseason workouts. Bowers averaged 11.6 points and 6.1 boards two seasons ago and earned a spot on the Big 12 all-Defensive team. A healthy Bowers, to go along with all the other talent in Columbia, could make the Tigers a legitimate Final Four contender.
Tray Woodall, Pittsburgh
Want to know the reason why Pittsburgh struggled last season? It was because Woodall was in and out of the lineup all year long and was never 100 percent. He played 28 games, but the Panthers point guard wasn't healthy in many of them -- and Pittsburgh struggled mightily in those he missed. If Woodall can get back to where he was prior to the groin and abdominal injuries, Jamie Dixon's team has a chance to get back to competing for one of the top spots in the Big East.
Wayne Blackshear, Louisville
Made his college debut on Feb. 11 and was never truly himself after multiple shoulder injuries prior to his freshman campaign. Showed glimpses, but was never healthy enough -- and was fighting from behind after missing the first few months. Blackshear, if healthy, will be a huge part of Louisville's success in 2012-13.
Branden Dawson, Michigan State
Started the first 31 games of the season and averaged 8.4 points and 4.5 boards before suffering a torn ACL in the regular-season finale against Ohio State. Dawson is a big, strong, athletic wing who should see an expanded role with the loss of all-everything forward Draymond Green.
Adonis Thomas, Memphis
Was just starting to emerge when he went down with a season-ending ankle injury. Should be the Tigers best player this season with the departure of Will Barton and has a chance to be a lottery pick. He's that good.
Kevin Parrom, Arizona
Had a rough go last season. It started with him being shot back in New York on Sept. 23, 2011. Then Parrom's mother passed way. Parrom decided to play last season, but was never 100 percent -- and suffered a broken bone in his right foot on Jan. 28 and missed the rest of the season. Parrom led the team in scoring in its preseason trip to the Bahamas and he could be critical if Sean Miller's Wildcats can go deep in March.
Jio Fontan, Dewayne Dedmon and Aaron Fuller, USC
Fontan missed the entire season after suffering a torn ACL last summer on the Trojans trip to Brazil. Dedmon broke his hand on Oct. 11, then battled though a stress fracture in his right foot in late-November before a torn MCL and tibial bone ended his season on Jan. 26. Fuller was second on the team in scoring (10.6) and first in rebounding (5.9) when his season ended in late-January due to a torn labrum. The trio will make USC, which won just a single league game a year ago, a contender in the Pac-12.
Marshawn Powell, Arkansas
The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 19.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in two games -- and just 21.5 minutes -- before he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Will give the Razorbacks another scoring option to go along with B.J. Young -- and also experience up front.
Tyler Haws, BYU
Has been in the Philippines the last two years on a Mormon mission, but should come in and make a huge impact for the Cougars. He averaged 11.3 points and 4.2 boards as a freshman and shot 37 percent from beyond the arc. Can really shoot the ball -- and will also bring experience and leadership to Dave Rose's program.
Kevin Foster and Marc Trasolini, Santa Clara
Two seasons ago, Foster was the WCC's leading scorer. Last season he missed the second half of league play following a suspension for driving under the influence. The Broncos didn't win a league contest in 2011-12, but the return of Foster and Trasolini (12.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg in 2010-11), who missed last season with a torn ACL, should change that. In fact, Santa Clara could finish in the top half of the league.
Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald, North Carolina
McDonald missed the entire season and Strickland sat out the second half of the year after suffering a torn ACL. The Strickland injury wound up being huge, since the Tar Heels needed a point guard for when Kendall Marshall went down and was unable to play in the NCAA tournament. Strickland will likely battle freshman Marcus Paige for starting point guard duties this year while McDonald could have difficulty being more than a role player due to the fact the Tar Heels already have wings Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston.
LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State
He's long and extremely talented, but he missed the first part of last year due to academics and was too far behind to become a factor the second half of the season. Ross averaged just 3.9 minutes and 2.0 points per game, but the Buckeyes need another scorer -- and Ross just may be the most physically blessed kid on Thad Matta's roster this season.
Scootie Randall, Temple
The 6-foot-6 wing probably could have played down the stretch last season, but didn't want to burn an entire year for just a few games. His return from offseason knee surgery will certainly help Fran Dunphy and the Owls as Randall averaged 10.7 points and 4.7 boards two years ago. With the emergence of Khalif Wyatt, Temple should be set at the wing spots.
Will Yeguete, Florida
Was extremely valuable to Billy Donovan and the Gators because he was a willing role player and rebounder. Yeguete was averaging nearly 22 minutes per game prior to suffering a broken foot against Auburn in February. It's unlikely he'll start over Patric Young or Erik Murphy, but Yeguete gives Florida a quality big man off the bench who can help on the glass.
Pe'Shon Howard, Maryland
Had a tough season a year ago for the Terps. Missed the first nine games with a foot injury, came back and then tore his ACL in February. It looks as though Maryland's starting floor leader should be good to go for the start of the season -- and Mark Turgeon will need him with the departure of leading scorer Terrell Stoglin.
Josh Benson, Dayton
The Flyers forward was the team's second-leading scorer (10.9) and rebounder (5.2) when he went down with a torn ACL in late-December. Benson's return could make Archie Miller's team NCAA tournament-caliber this season.
Cady Lalanne and Sampson Carter, UMass
Lalanne sat out in 2010-11 due to academics and dealt with ongoing foot issues last season. The talented big man fractured his foot prior to the season and then re-injured it midway through the year and was done for the year. Lalanne could fill a hole role for Derek Kellogg in the middle with the departure of veteran Sean Carter. Sampson Carter, who averaged 8.6 points two years ago, redshirted last season after suffering a hip injury.
Chris Otule, Marquette
His numbers (5.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg) certainly don't blow anyone away, but the 6-foot-11 senior big man provides an inside presence for Buzz Williams and the Golden Eagles. First it was O'Tule who suffered an ACL injury on Dec. 6 against Washington - and then fellow center Davante Gardner went down for a few games with an injury. With O'Tule and Gardner, Marquette has a solid two-headed monster in the middle.
Jean-Paul Olukemi, Oklahoma State
Talented forward who averaged 11.1 points two years ago and was putting up 9.4 points last season before suffering a season-ending torn ACL on Dec. 31. With Olukemi back and the addition of freshman guard Marcus Smart, it's difficult to imagine the Cowboys not being a factor in the Big 12 race this year.
Scott Suggs, Washington
Could have played last season despite toe surgery just prior to the start of the year, but smartly decided to redshirt. The Huskies had Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox on the wings, and now Ross is gone. Suggs averaged 7.4 points two years ago and will give Lorenzo Romar another wing who can shoot it from the perimeter.
Jon Horford, Michigan
Was a rotation big man before his season ended after nine games due to a right foot injury. Horford, the younger brother of NBA star Al Horford, was making strides and could be a valuable piece for John Beilein's team this season. He'll battle for playing time with veteran Jordan Morgan and freshman Mitch McGary.
Mo Creek, Indiana
He'll never be what he once was, but Creek can still be a valuable piece for Tom Crean and the Hoosiers. The 6-foot-5 wing missed all of last season with a ruptured achilles heel, but that was the latest injury he's suffered while in college. He was, at one time, the top scoring freshman in the country and put up 31 on Kentucky in 2009-10, but he missed the rest of the season with a season-ending injury. Then had a stress fracture midway through his sophomore campaign that ended his season. Creek can certainly help with depth and leadership.
Allan Chaney, High Point
He last played in 2008-2009 with the Florida Gators as a reserve forward. Chaney sat out the next season after transferring to Virginia Tech and then experienced heart issues that kept him off the court all of last season. The talented 6-foot-8 Connecticut native is now at High Point, where he's cleared to play this season for Scott Cherry.
Alex Kirk, New Mexico
Talented 7-footer who sat out last season due to a herniated disc in his back. Kirk started 21 games as a freshman and averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 boards, but his presence should be felt this season -- especially with the loss of Drew Gordon.
J.T. Thompson, Charlotte
It's hard to predict his impact in his first year with the 49ers and final season in college. He has missed the past two years at Virginia Tech following ACL surgeries. Thompson averaged 6.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in his first three seasons in Blacksburg and 7.3 points his junior campaign. He then sat out the 2010-11 campaign with a torn ACL in his left knee and missed last season after surgery on the other knee.
Derek Needham, Fairfield
The Stags point guard broke a bone in his left foot in late-February and missed the end of the regular-season, the MAAC tourney and also the CIT. Needham's numbers dropped a bit, but he's still huge for Sydney Johnson & Co. -- and was averaging 11.8 points and 3.4 assists at the time of the injury.
Richard Solomon, California
Was suspended for the San Diego State game in December and then ruled ineligible due to academics in mid-January. Is a long, athletic, defensive-minded big man who can help Mike Montgomery and the Bears. Averaged 6.0 points and 6.2 boards in 13 games a year ago.
Nick Minnerath, Detroit
The senior forward averaged a dozen points and four boards in five games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury. If healthy, he'll team with Ray McCallum to make the Titans the favorites in the Horizon.
Jon Hood and Sam Malone, Kentucky
If I don't find a way to get a Kentucky player on every list I put together, I'll feel the wrath of Big Blue Nation. So I'm getting a pair on here. Malone is a fellow Massachusetts native and walk-on who tore his ACL last December while Hood also tore his ACL and could get some minutes in a reserve role this year.
 
 
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