There are plenty of fresh faces on this year’s edition of the Sweet 16 — The Sun’s annual list of Baltimore’s best men’s college basketball players.
Syracuse’s C.J. Fair (City), Notre Dame’s Eric Atkins (Mount St. Joseph), UNLV’s Roscoe Smith (Walbrook) and 10 other players from the 2013 list have moved on from college. A 14th player, former Maryland wing Nick Faust (City), is sitting out this season after transferring to Long Beach State. The two returnees, meanwhile, are at the top of this year’s list.
The Sweet 16 is based on prior accomplishments and projected success for this season. Eligible athletes are returning players and fifth-year transfers.
There are 81 local players on DI rosters this season. After the jump, we’ll look a little closer at the top 16, and address some who just missed the cut.
The toughest omissions were Daquein McNeil, a sophomore guard at Minnesota, Wayne Sparrow, a fifth-year senior guard at UMBC, and Cedric Blossom, a junior forward at Morgan State.
McNeil, a Baltimore native who went to high school at Vermont Academy, had a forgettable freshman year, averaging 1.6 points in 9.8 minutes per game. But he’s been called the Gophers’ most-improved player by coach Richard Pitino, and his stat lines from exhibition games seem to back that up.
Sparrow averaged 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds at Richmond as a redshirt junior. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he moved on to UMBC, where he’ll pursue a master’s and be a leader on a young Retrievers squad. Some close to the program expect the former St. Frances shooting guard to be one of UMBC’s top scorers.
Blossom, a Montrose Christian grad and Columbia native, was the ultimate glue guy last year for a Morgan team that was one game short of an NCAA tournament berth. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward averaged 6.9 points and 5.3 rebounds as a sophomore.
Any questions about the list? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click through the gallery for a look at each player.