Coaches vs. Cancer 2012: Rising Stars to Watch in Hyped Tournament
Awareness, the cure and donations will be at the forefront of the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, but it will also be a nationally televised way to introduce a new stable of stars to the insatiable college basketball fan out there.
The tournament, which starts on Friday, will see new players take over leadership reins on the Florida State Seminoles, BYU Cougars, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and St. Joseph's Hawks.
However, the relentless player turnover in the sport oftentimes leaves the casual fan in the dark about who these potential stars could be.
That means whichever player steps up most for his squad will walk out of the Barclays Arena with a sense of new-found respect in the college basketball community.
Who are these future stars?
Here is a look at a guy from each squad that could rise to stardom in the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Michael Snaer, G, Florida State
After sharing the spotlight in each of his first three seasons, guard Michael Snaer should finally be an unquestioned team leader in 2012-13.
A vital cog as part of a larger whole last season, the senior guard will have to transition into more of an alpha dog role—especially offensively.
Thus far, Snaer has shown a willingness to take the reins, but not yet a star's ability. Though he leads the team at 14.5 points per game, Snaer has shot just 33.3 percent from the field, including a dreadful 2-for-11 performance in the Seminoles' opening-game loss to South Alabama.
With the level of competition ratcheting up, Leonard Hamilton will certainly need more from his guard in the Classic.
This Florida State team is yet to show the unbelievable defensive tenacity as squads in previous years, so it will be necessary that guys like Snaer step up their scoring game.
Two games is obviously a small sample size to use, but Snaer is certainly the guy to watch. If he soars with his expanded offensive responsibilities, it will be difficult for any team in the Classic to take down Florida State.
However, if Snaer flounders, a disappointing trip to the consolation game may be in store.
Brandon Davies, F, BYU
While Snaer has been up-and-down with his increased duties this season, Cougars power forward Brandon Davies has been nothing short of sensational.
In two dominant BYU victories, Davies has averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and three blocks per game. The senior star emerged last season as one of the more underrated post forces in the country and will pose a massive threat to a weakened Seminoles frontcourt.
Davies' brilliance has also opened up a beautiful inside-out game with guard Tyler Haws. The sophomore guard, who sat out the last two seasons to complete a mission trip, has shown no rust, tying Davies for the team lead with 22 point per game.
Nevertheless, the only way Haws is going to continue getting good shots off is if Davies begins bringing the defense inside the paint.
With questions boundless in the middle for Florida State, both emerging stars should have a nice game on Friday.
Whether it's enough to win remains to be seen.
Jack Cooley, F, Notre Dame
As the Fighting Irish padded their early-season record in cupcake town, forward Jack Cooley became the team's most dominating force.
The 6'9" big man leads the team in points (17), rebounds (10) and blocks (three) per game thus far. All impressive stats, but it's Cooley's ability to get to the free throw line that has been truly outstanding.
The senior has hit the line a whopping 27 times already this season, working his way underneath the basket and forcing overmatched defenders into fouling him.
Though he's not the biggest or most athletic forward you'll ever see, Cooley has a subtly strong build that allows him to maneuver his way into the lane with ease.
Obviously, he won't have as easy of a time at the Classic as he did with Monmouth and Evansville. Nevertheless, Cooley is a guy who stepped up huge for the Irish last season and may hold the key to their fate in 2012-13.
Langston Galloway, G, St. Joseph's
The black cloud surrounding the Classic for the Hawks is the suspension of leading scorer Carl Jones, who will be eligible to return on Saturday (per Philly.com).
Without Jones, St. Joseph's will have an infinitely more difficult time finding penetration and getting open shots. A senior, Jones led the Hawks in scoring and steals and was second in assists last season.
That still doesn't mean all hope is lost.
Guard Langston Galloway stepped up huge in St. Joseph's victory over Yale on Monday, dropping 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting and adding six rebounds, as well.
Forwards Ronald Roberts Jr. and Halil Kanacevic are stepping up their play on the defensive end. The two bigs swallowed up Yale on the inside and combined for 23 rebounds, as the Hawks held the Bulldogs to a mere 35 points.
If Roberts and Kanacevic have another nice game inside and Galloway leads the offensive charge, an upset over Notre Dame isn't totally out of the cards.
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