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Kassoum Yakwe gets love on Breakout Players list

Jon Rothstein names five national names, including the jumping jack freshman forward for St. John's.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

In this season of just-after-college-basketball-finishes lists, Kassoum Yakwe has gotten some love from Jon Rothstein, who names him as one of five breakout players for next season.

Yakwe is a like a volcano -- he can erupt at any time. The 6-7 forward is a freak athlete who tallied two double-doubles last season as a freshman. Yakwe had eight games with eight or more rebounds and nine games with four or more blocks. There's only way to describe this kid: stud. Yakwe averaged 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in 2015-16.

Nice words on Yakwe, who chose to graduate early and come to St. John's to play for Chris Mullin. Kudos on that late pickup from Mullin; the forward spots would have been considerably worse without Yakwe's energy.

Like most freshmen, Yakwe had some room for improvement, which we will discuss soon in our season review. But suffice to say - 52% shooting from the free throw line for a player who drew over five fouls per game is leaving easy points on the court. And for a player whose offense tends to be at the rim, shooting 46% on 2-pointers also needs improvement.

Still, Yakwe - along with incoming guard Shamorie Ponds, the double-double game of Bashir Ahmed, the release of Marcus LoVett and some improvements as players become sophomores are reasons to be hopeful for next season.

Also on the list:

  • Jacob Evans, current sophomore at Cincinnati;
  • Donovan Mitchell, freshman at Louisville;
  • Dion Wiley, who redshirted with an injury this year but will be a sophomore next season at Maryland;
  • Dante Buford, a redshirt freshman forward at Oklahoma.