You Should Know These NCAA Juniors


As we continue our countdown to college top off, we make our way through the junior class. It is filled with All-Americans, Player of the Year finalists, a Defensive Player of the Year, and a National Champion. And still, these players have so much more they can do. Here are some juniors to keep your eye on this season.

Haley Jones, Stanford

The constantly underrated junior forward is coming off of a national championship, Most Outstanding Player award in the Final Four, and a gold medal with the Americup team. She hit a few of the most clutch shots in women’s college basketball history, knocking down the go-ahead and game-winning jump shot in the Final Four against South Carolina and a huge and-one bucket in the championship against Arizona.

Jones is one of the most versatile players in the country, averaging 13.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a sophomore. Yet, to win a postseason award or be named an All-American, Jones still has a lot to prove. On a really talented team looking to repeat, her numbers likely won’t be eye-popping, but her impact shows that she is one of the best players in the country.

Aaliyah Boston, South Carolina

Dominant on both sides of the ball her sophomore season, Boston was a Player of the Year finalist and is looking to bring a championship back to Columbia, South Carolina. She averaged 13.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and had 81 blocks last season.

The SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year was a missed layup away from going to the championship game. It was obviously heartbreaking for her and impossible for her to forget. That moment has motivated her all summer, she will continue to terrorize other teams all season in pursuit of the national title. Who else can say they got a triple-double with blocks?

Ashley Owusu, Maryland 

One of the best ball handlers and shot creators in the country, Owusu is a walking highlight reel. Consistency and health are the only things stopping her and Maryland from reaching their goals. She averaged 17.9 points and 5.9 assists per game and took home the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the top shooting guard in the country. She can score on anyone in the country and will only continue to grow her game. That’s scary for the rest of the teams around the nation.

Jordan Nixon, Texas A&M

One of the best stories of the NCAA tournament last season was Jordan Nixon’s postgame speech after her 35-point performance and buzzer beater against Iowa State. She averaged 10.6 points and 3.2 assists for the Aggies in her first season since being able to play since her transfer from Notre Dame. Nixon is a talented player who hit a number of clutch shots last year, including two game winners against Arkansas. With more eyes on her this season, it will be interesting to see if she is able to build off the momentum.

Diamond Miller, Maryland

A 6’3 guard who averaged 17.3 points while shooting 50% from the field in her sophomore season, Miller is one of the best players in the country. Her supporting cast features other nationally known and award winning players, making Maryland a tough out. A player that can fill up the stat sheet and do almost everything on the court, Miller will make an even bigger impact in her junior season.

Zia Cooke, South Carolina 

A player who has every move in her arsenal, Cooke is a dynamic guard who will play a big role for Dawn Staley. Her stats won’t be as much as they could if she played on a lesser talented team. With the team she has around her, she could be the X factor and what pushes South Carolina over the hump in March. Cooke averaged 15.9 points on 39% shooting. It will be interesting to see what her role will be will the influx of talent in Columbia.

Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech

The 6’6 junior forward averaged 18.2 points and 10.4 rebounds as a sophomore for the Hokies. Kitley was 2021 first team All-ACC in a really deep conference. In a new season, hopefully some of her teammates have taken some leaps and VT can contend in a stacked ACC.

Charisma Osborne, UCLA

Osborne is easily one of the best scorers in the country. She averaged a career high 17.0 points per game and made the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. She scored 20 points or more in seven straight games from January 3rd to February 7th. UCLA is full of talent around Osborne, so they will be in the middle of the Pac-12 race.

About Tariq McDowell

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