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Bulls Basketball Player Preview: The Bright Future of Lamonte Bearden

With the incredible progress we saw Lamonte make throughout his rookie season, we got a taste of just how good he can be.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Lamonte Bearden's ability to adapt to the college basketball style of play as well as make a notable contribution to his team is what made him a standout freshman. Though he wasn't able to nab the "MAC Freshman of the Year" award (which I still think is kind of ridiculous), he showed us all that he'll be a big piece of this Bulls team for the next few years.

Offense - Lamonte is a super quick guard that knows how to finish around the rim. His athleticism gives him the ability to make those tough, contact layups in traffic. The growth he made during the season, from start to finish, was what really got people's attention and had him as a candidate for the Freshman of the Year award.

He averaged 8 points per game as a rookie, which is pretty good, but I'd say he bumps that up to a double digit number next season. I see him becoming even more involved in the offense and looking to score more frequently. He's got the talent and skills necessary to be a top scorer for this team.

Assisting - As a freshman floor general, Lamonte showed that he's mature enough to help lead this team. He finished the year averaging 4.3 assists per game. He's got some new passing options this year with the arrival of Maurice O'Field, Torian Graham and now David Kadiri. He's been good at controlling the pace and seeing the floor. I see his assists per game increasing to no more than about 6 assists. This is mainly because of the new options he has and the expectation that he'll grow.

NCAA Tournament - Lamonte had a decent game for his first ever tourney appearance. There were some bad parts like the 7 turnovers and the easy opportunities missed, however, I thought he did a great job of attacking the basket and putting his talent on display in front of a national audience. He also had 6 assists to add to his 8 points. If UB returns to the tournament, I say he'll do a better scoring job, more frequently demonstrating his quickness and athleticism when attacking the basket.

Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks seemed to be impressed.

Dare I say...NBA? - This is more for debate as it's WAY too early to make any related predictions. There's still much to see but we've seen him impress as a freshman. If his game keeps on growing, he's got a solid chance. I say this mainly because there are some parts of his game that could transition over well. He's a quick, slashing, point guard who knows how to use his abilities, play defense and control tempo. He's got some ways to go but I wouldn't count him out. He's developed well and I think he'll make some good improvement in the following years that could get people thinking.

Overall - I'd say Lamonte makes improvements to his game throughout the season as he did last season. He'll become an even more valuable piece to this roster by doing so. Lamonte's got a ton of talent; let's hope he takes advantage of it because it's so much fun to watch.