If you think about it, prior to last season he'd barely played over the first three years of his college career. he was a backup at Providence his first season, and didn't garner a lot of playing time. Then he transferred here and had to sit out. Then he came off of the bench for a few games in season 3 before getting the eye injury and missing 85% of the season.
Last year was the first time he got any consistent court time. And while the statistics were unimpressive, he actually did a pretty good job, was an iron man [which isn't easy for big men to do, given all of the contact they have to deal with], stayed out of foul trouble, etc.
Doesn't surprise me that he might be able to build upon the game experience he gained and have a better year, after an offseason of hard work.