Seemingly every coach in every sport has said, at one time or another, that the best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores.
(John Calipari might say it, too, if any of his first-year guys ever became sophomores. But we get the feeling "Coach Cal" doesn't spend time worrying about such trivial matters.)
Anyway, the seasons turned in by the likes of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal and Trey Burke aren't normal freshman campaigns. Those guys had no growing pains – well, at least none that were all that noticeable – and became key players for their teams right away.
For most freshmen, though, there were growing pains, some inconsistency, a learning curve. In that vein, here's a list of 10 sophomores-to-be who we fully expect to have breakout seasons in 2012-13 – guys who should contend for all-league, if not All-America, honors. They're listed alphabetically.
[The Dagger: Kentucky's 6-foot-11 Eloy Vargas has impromptu prom date]
G/F Wayne Blackshear, Louisville
Particulars: 6-5/225; Chicago Morgan Park. 4-star recruit out of high school (No. 36 player nationally).
Key stats from 2011-12: 7.0 mpg, 2.5 ppg
Buzz: Injuries wrecked his freshman season, as he was able to play in just 15 of the Cardinals' 40 games. But he flashed some of his athleticism when he scored nine points in just 14 minutes in Louisville's national semifinal loss to Kentucky. When healthy, he is a solid all-around player who can do everything well – score, rebound, pass and defend. And if healthy, he should be able to average in the low-teens in scoring, with one or two highlight dunks per game.
G Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado
Particulars: 6-5/190; Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. 3-star recruit out of high school (No. 146 player nationally).
Key stats from 2011-12: 27.4 mpg, 10.0 ppg, 43.8 3-pt FG%, 3.6 rpg
Buzz: Dinwiddie enjoyed a solid freshman season for the Buffs, who were a surprise NCAA entrant, and he will be their leading returning backcourt scorer. While coach Tad Boyle raved about Dinwiddie's playmaking ability when he signed, Dinwiddie proved a good fit at off-guard. He has a nice mid- and long-range game, but could be better at slashing to the hoop. It wouldn't be a surprise if he becomes CU's leading scorer next season, as he has the potential to be a mid-teens scorer for a program that looks to be on the uptick under Boyle.
G Andre Hollins, Minnesota
Particulars: 6-1/200; Memphis White Station. 3-star recruit out of high school (No. 110 player nationally).
Key stats from 2011-12: 21.1 mpg, 8.7 ppg,
Buzz: He played his best ball down the stretch and really turned it on in the NIT, averaging 15.0 points during the Golden Gophers' run to the final. He also had two 20-point games in the Big Ten tourney. Hollins was deadly from the line (90.1 percent, the school record for a single season), and if he can become a little less sloppy with the ball, he has the potential to average in the mid-teens and contend for all-league honors next season. (He is one of two players named "Hollins" from the Memphis area who play for the Gophers; they aren't related.)
G Myck Kabongo, Texas
Particulars: 6-1/169; Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep. 5-star recruit out of high school (No. 26 player nationally).
Key stats from 2011-12: 30.6 mpg, 9.6 ppg, 5.2 apg, 1.3 spg
Buzz: Kabongo did a steady job at the point this past season, and he has the potential to be one of the nation's top dozen or so point men next season. His scoring average also should go up because of the departure of J'Covan Brown, who never met a shot he didn't want to take. Kabongo had some growing pains this past season, but that's to be expected from a true freshman point man. Look for him to be a steady low-teens scorer and a solid assist guy next season for a Texas team that will have the talent to compete for the Big 12 crown.
G Damion Lee, Drexel
Particulars: 6-6/200; Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More, preceded by Towson (Md.) Calvert Hall. 3-star recruit out of high school (unranked nationally).
Key stats from 2011-12: 28.9 mpg, 12.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Buzz: Lee was the Dragons' second-leading scorer this past season, but has the talent and athleticism to be one of the scoring leaders in the Colonial next season. He has a nice outside shot and also can get to the rim. An average of at least 15 points per game should be expected next season, when Drexel will be looking to defend its CAA regular-season title with four returning starters.
F James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina
Particulars: 6-9/220; Norfolk (Va.) Norfolk Christian. 5-star recruit out of high school (No. 8 player nationally).
Key stats from 2011-12: 15.6 mpg, 6.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Buzz: He toyed with the idea of going pro, then decided to remain in school. It was a smart move. After serving as a backup this past season, he should become the Heels' go-to guy next season. UNC is losing its entire starting frontcourt, and it's not hard seeing McAdoo average 28-plus minutes, 16-plus points and 8-plus rebounds next season. He is sneaky quick defensively and should be among the Heels' leaders in steals, too. (His dad, Ronnie, who played at Old Dominion and overseas, is the second cousin of former UNC All-America F Bob McAdoo.)
F Otto Porter, Georgetown
Particulars: 6-8/205; Sikeston (Mo.) Scott County Central. 4-star recruit out of high school (No. 37 player nationally).
Key stats from 2011-12: 29.7 mpg, 9.7 ppg, 52.5 FG%, 6.8 rpg, 1.1 bpg
Buzz: Porter was a key player for the Hoyas this past season, and he may be the key guy for them next season. Porter, who led the team in rebounding this past season, will be the top returning scorer (the top three are gone), and could flirt with averaging a double-double. He is athletic, and despite his relatively lanky frame, he is stronger than he looks.
F Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
Particulars: 6-8/250; Memphis Southwind. 5-star recruit out of high school (unranked nationally because he reclassified and graduated high school in December).
Key stats from 2011-12: 25.6 mpg, 9.6 ppg, 53.4 FG%, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Buzz: Signing Stokes was a coup for new Vols coach Cuonzo Martin (Stokes is the first Memphis player to sign with the Vols since 2002), and Stokes should be the Vols' go-to guy next season. He is extremely strong in the low post and uses his size adeptly to carve out space on both ends of the court. He needs to work on his free throw shooting, and while he never will be an elite offensive player, his strength and ability to score around the basket make him a candidate to be a nightly double-double guy. Some Stokes trivia: He wears a size-20 shoe.
F/C Brad Waldow, Saint Mary's
Particulars: 6-9/250; Shingle Springs (Calif.) Ponderosa. Unranked out of high school.
Key stats from 2011-12: 18.5 mpg, 8.1 ppg, 66.7 FG%, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Buzz: Waldow redshirted in his first season on campus, then gave the Gaels a big, physical presence last season. But with F Rob Jones gone, Waldow will have to make the jump from spare part to key cog next season. He isn't overly athletic, but he is strong and also understands his limitations on both ends of the court. For the Gaels to again win the WCC title, Waldow will have to score at least in the low teens and increase his rebounds by at least three per game. He should be able to do both. And if all else fails, he can wow opponents with his intellect: He is planning to major in biophysics and biogenetics.
F/G Dez Wells, Xavier
Particulars: 6-5/215; Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy. 4-star recruit out of high school (No. 76 player nationally).
Key stats from 2011-12: 26.1 mpg, 9.8 ppg, 50.4 FG%, 4.9 rpg
Buzz: Wells started this season, but should see his scoring average climb into the mid-teens next season because he and G Mark Lyons should be the two main scorers with the graduation of G Tu Holloway. Wells is a good athlete who can slash to the rim and also has a nice mid-range game; look for him to improve his 3-point shooting this offseason. He has the athleticism to be a solid defender, too, even if he didn't always show that facet of his game this season.
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