When we posted about our intern search, we heard from all sorts of people. But one person that stood out from the pack was Lucas Shapiro. An avid Dime reader and basketball fanatic who even has his own NBA blog, while Lucas would love to intern, he is only 16 years old and lives in Boston. Last week the young buck put the rest of the world on to Virginia’s Sylven Landesberg. Back by popular demand, here are two sophomores ready to lead.
Looking for two sophomore college players bound to breakout this upcoming season? UNC’s Ed Davis and UCLA’s Malcolm Lee would fit that description.
Davis was a highly recruited phenom during his entire high school career, while Lee broke out during his senior campaign. Last year, both were buried behind some of the best players in the nation. Davis had four NBA players ahead of him (Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green), while Lee had two 9Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday). Now it is their turn to lead their respective teams to the NCAA tournament. And far.
Davis will be taking over for one of the best college basketball players of all-time in Hansbrough. Although he could have gone to a school in which he immediately would have been the star his freshman year, he chose to learn to become a winner with a reduced role at North Carolina. His rebounding and block totals were impressive for someone who only averaged 18.8 minutes per game. In their second game against Virginia Tech last year, Davis had six blocks in only 17 minutes! With all of this, the 6-10 phenom opted to stay in college for his sophomore year, although many said that he could have been the second pick in the NBA Draft behind Blake Griffin.
What is intriguing about this kid is his knowledge about his own game. The fact that he could critique his offensive game and realize that he was not NBA-ready is impressive. We could have been reading about Davis in the NBA right now. Many players would have been too attracted to the money rather than being concerned with how their game would develop. While many would be satisfied with just being great offensively, Davis is well-rounded player and his defense stands out among his peers.
But while people have known about Davis for quite some time, it wasn’t until Lee’s senior year in high school that he got the recognition that he deserved. His senior year was quite impressive to say the least. Many were not fans of his game due to the fact that he does not have a true position. One thing that is known about this 6-5 combo guard is that he is ready to be the defensive stopper for coach Ben Howland at UCLA this season. Defensive stoppers are rare in today’s game since everyone prides themselves on scoring. Lee did not get the chance that Davis did to contribute right away due to the fact that he was playing behind Collison and Holiday. Now that both of those guys are off to the NBA, this is Lee’s team now.
These two guys were ready to play last year but had to wait in line to get their chance. Patience, persistence and maturity are some of the qualities that these guys showed by staying in college. Now it is their time to shine and show what they are made of.