Key roles for under-the-radar players

Syracuse freshman Tyler Ennis is expected lead the Orange from Day 1. AP Photo/Damen Jackson

Marcus Smart and Doug McDermott are already on the map. Ditto for guys like the Michigan duo of Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, who both passed on the opportunity to go to the NBA after last season. Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins and fellow frosh Jabari Parker (Duke), Julius Randle (Kentucky) and Aaron Gordon (Arizona) will get plenty of hype as the season approaches.

Here are 15 players who haven’t received quite as much attention for one reason or another but will be critical to their team’s success this season.

1. T.J. McConnell, Arizona Wildcats

Arizona finally has a point guard. Sean Miller has been making due since he arrived with a patchwork situation running the team. It was Momo Jones and Mark Lyons. Now the Wildcats have a pure point who makes people better and can direct the offense. McConnell, a Duquesne transfer who sat out last season, also can defend.

The key, though, may be whether he can make shots from the perimeter, because with the departure of Grant Jerrett, Miller needs someone to be a long-range threat. There are more high-profile names in Tucson -- freshman Aaron Gordon, sophomores Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski and even athletic wing Nick Johnson. Still, no one will be more important to the program’s success this season than McConnell.