This year’s team could be very special and with all of the highly touted newcomers, it could be easy to overlook some guys who are poised to breakout and have a nice year. Guys like Uros Plasvic, Olivier Nkamhoua, and Drew Pember could certainly take a step forward and be better overall players this year, but there’s one guy in particular who I would look to really come on the scene make an impact, and that’s Davonte “Ticket” Gaines. Davonte last year was mostly just a defender who used his length and hustle to bother opposing players, but this year I look for Gaines to not only improve on the defensive side of the ball, but on the offensive side as well. Last year Gaines averaged 3.3 points per game, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.5 assist on 33.3% from the field. He scored his career high of 9 points against UNC-Asheville, Grabbed his career high of 7 rebounds against Arkansas, and had his career high of 3 steals against Arkansas as well. I look for Gaines to take over somewhat of the Jordan Bowden role. What I mean by that is he will be the guy who flashes to the free throw line for a rise up jumper over his defender. If he utilizes his length, he should have no problem getting his shot off and it all comes down to if he can make that shot. I feel like Jordan got at least a possible 6 points per game off of that play, which could be 6 easy points for Gaines. I also expect him to be very active cutting to the basket off the ball with backdoor cuts, front cuts (give and go), UCLA Cuts, and other movements in the offense. If I had to make a prediction for the end of the year stats per game for Gaines, I would say 8.5 points per game, 4 rebounds, 2 assist, on 44% from the field. Now that’s nothing that wow’s you, but for this team (and Gaines development) it would be huge.