Dejean-Jones lost a little momentum when he broke his non-shooting hand during a preseason workout, but he may be the most natural scorer on the team. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard transferred after one year at USC, and his talent has never been in question (off-court problems held him back at Southern Cal, with reports of locker-room altercations and clashes with the coaching staff). But once he fully recovers from his injury—he’s expected to be back around the start of the season—a happy and focused Dejean-Jones could become one of the Rebels’ top scoring options.
Most prognosticators have sophomore Khem Birch slotted in at center for the Rebels, but he’s not going to be eligible until a month into the season. So who mans the middle until then? It may turn out to be Lopez-Sosa, a 6-foot-11 junior who showed shot-blocking and rebounding ability last year. Lopez-Sosa moves well for a near-7-footer, and his touch around the basket has improved. He’ll get big minutes until Birch hits the floor—and even after that, he’ll be a crucial part of the Rebels’ vaunted rotation of big men.
To Rebel fans, Goodman may have seemed an afterthought in Dave Rice’s masterpiece of a recruiting class, but the freshman could turn out to be a gem. A 6-foot-6 forward, Goodman plays with exactly the type of hard-nosed edge you’d expect from this Philadelphia bruiser. He could end up being the Rebels’ best and most versatile defender as early as this season, and he’s shown the ability to run the floor and score in the open court. But any offense he provides will be a bonus—Goodman is a stopper.