The college basketball season is officially upon us! The Canes tip off Friday night vs Lehigh, but before they do, let’s have some fun and hand out some superlative awards for players on the team.
Nastiest Crossover: Chris Lykes
As a true freshman, Chris Lykes was a human highlight reel breaking the ankles of defenders while blazing into the lane all at 5’7”. The tiny guard makes up for his size with his incredible handle and speed. He LITERALLY spun circles around defenders last year as this clip serves as a reminder.
Lykes will continue to make defenders look silly this season as he takes over the starting point guard role full time.
Biggest Posterizer: Dewan Hernandez
Junior forward Dewan Hernandez, formerly known as Dewan Huell, is known for putting opponents on posters. Allow this inbound dunk from last year as a reminder.
Hernandez will be sure to create more posters this season as he will catch lobs, drive down the lane, and dunk via post moves. Attention opponents, watch your head!
Limitless Range: Dejan Vasiljevic
The junior guard from Melbourne, Australia believes he’s in shooting range as soon as he crosses half-court. If you’ve watched any games the past two seasons, you’d know that is NOT a hyperbole. Vasiljevic is known to launch three’s and shot them pretty well last year at a 41.1% clip, averaging two made per game. When he’s in the game, everyone on the floor knows he’s not afraid to shoot it from deep, including the opposing team.
Most Likely to Post a Triple-Double: Anthony Lawrence II
Lawrence enters his senior season as the Canes’ Swiss-Army knife. Lawrence does a little bit of everything as he posted averages of 8.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 blocks, and 1.4 steals in 30.5 minutes per game. The likelihood of Lawrence achieving a triple-double isn’t very high, but due to his versatile all-around game, he’s the most capable on the team. Assists will be the hardest feat, as his career high in a single game is six.
Most Likely to Score 30: Zach Johnson
The graduate transfer from Florida Gulf Coast displayed his scoring abilities in his first three years in collegiate basketball, scoring 20 or more points twelve times. Last season, Johnson actually scored 37 vs Lipscomb in the Atlantic Sun conference tournament. Johnson could lead the team in scoring this year, so I expect him to flirt with scoring 30 points in a game, if not achieving the feat.
Most Improved: Ebuka Izundu
Izundu averaged just under 15 minutes per game last season while averaging five points and around four rebounds. The numbers aren’t eye-opening, but he flashed at times during the season scoring double figures in five games, including three ACC games that were decided by five points or less. Behind Hernandez, Izundu should be the first big man off the bench and have an opportunity to average around eight points and seven rebounds if he avoids foul trouble and is given 20 minutes per game. Entering his senior season, I expect Izundu to yet again improve and be a vital role player.
Biggest Mystery: Anthony Mack
The redshirt Freshman transfer from Wyoming hasn’t yet played a minute of college basketball, but is cleared to play immediately for the Canes. Mack, a three-star recruit, attended Blair Academy in New Jersey with fellow Cane, Deng Gak. With transfer guard Miles Wilson being dismissed from the team, Mack should be the fourth guard on the team and find some playing time. What he will make of the playing time is severely unknown.
Locksmith: Anthony Lawrence II
For most of the last decade, Canes teams have featured great defenses with one player in particular shutting down opponents (Durand Scott, Davon Reed, Kamari Murphy, Bruce Brown, etc.) This year’s team might not feature a premier defender, but AMP can fit the billing by defending any player 1-5 on opposing teams. Lawrence is a versatile defender who gives up size to bigs, but can move his feet with guards. He jumps the passing lanes a ton for deflections and steals, and his success on this end of the floor this year will be vital to the Canes.