Pressure is something a lot of players this season are going to endure. Every player, to an extent, will feel pressure, from trying to achieve a greater number of wins than last season to freshman phenoms living up to the hype.
Here at Dime, I came up with 10 collegiate players that I think are under the most pressure this season. So press play on your iPod and listen to Queen’s “Under Pressure and let’s take a look and see if you agree.
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10. AARON CRAFT
Since his freshman season, Aaron Craft has been surrounded by leaders like William Buford, David Lighty, Jon Diebler and let’s not forget Jared Sullinger. They all took pressure with a grain of salt and were able to lead their teams to victory. The time is now for Aaron Craft to do the same, especially with the experience he has in him as a senior. Pressure busts pipes, but also some players thrive in it. We’re going to have to see how Aaron Craft handles it.
9. MITCH McGARY
Coming out of high school, he was heavily regarded in his class but during last season didn’t live up to the expectation placed upon him. But when the NCAA tournament came around, he was a different player and showed flashes of his potential. He played so well that some were even talking about him as a potential No. 1 pick in last summer’s NBA Draft. Let’s see if Mitch can bring the noise this year and continue doing his thing.
8. JAHII CARSON
Opting out of the draft may have been smart but also ignited a lot of pressure for Jahii Carson. As a freshman he averaged 18.5 ppg and set three freshman records. Coming back secures his future, but for the present? He will be expected to do even more. Now, the pressure is really on considering ASU has not made it to the NCAA Tourney in past years. Therefore the question is — with Jahii Carson back at ASU, will he be the force he was and finally take ASU to the next level?
7. RODNEY HOOD
Two years ago at Mississippi State, he handed out 10.2 ppg. Then he transferred to Duke. Before he can even play his first game, he suffered a season ending injury and was sidelined for the entire season. Despite sitting out last year, Duke has recently announced him as a captain for the 2013-2014 season. With great power comes responsibility and naming him as a captain before the season start has pressure written all over it.
6. P.J. HAIRSTON
We think it is apparent to not only us but you guys reading that Hairston had himself quite an eventful summer. After dropping a team-high 14.6 ppg last year, the wing player was cited for speeding in May, arrested on charges of possessing marijuana and driving without a license (later dismissed) in June, and then in July was pulled over for speeding and careless and reckless driving. Ouch. Now Roy Williams says Hairston’s suspension is yet to be finalized. Whenever the sharpshooter does come back, he’ll have a lot to prove. Is he really the player we believe he can be or were we all setting the bar too high?