Who Will Be The Best Freshman?
Sports Illustrated posted a nice slideshow of the freshmen who they think will have the most impact on the upcoming college basketball season. 15 players were listed — it looked like they copied the McDonald’s All-American roster — and if you follow recruiting at even the most rudimentary level (newspapers), you’ve probably heard of a lot of them.
The question is, out of this bunch, who will be the best newcomer? It’s likely the freshman of the year will come out of the following pool:
Jrue Holiday – combo guard, UCLA
Demar DeRozan – shooting guard, USC
Tyreke Evans – shooting guard, Memphis
Willie Warren – shooting guard, Oklahoma
B.J. Mullens – center, Ohio State
Greg Monroe – forward/center, Georgetown
Al-Farouq Aminu – combo forward, Wake Forest
Kemba Walker – point guard, UConn
Samardo Samuels – power forward, Louisville
Scotty Hopson – shooting guard, Tennessee
Devin Ebanks – small forward, West Virginia
Chris Singleton – small forward, Florida State
JaMychal Green – power forward, Alabama
Delvon Roe – power forward, Michigan State
Luke Babbitt – small forward, Nevada
Based on last year’s Rivals.com recruit rankings, B.J. Mullens is considered the best freshman coming into college — is there a better big man recruiter than Thad Matta in the country? — but will he have the most impact? Considering the available playing time, he’ll certainly have the opportunity.
B.J. Mullens highlights:
Don’t forget about Greg Monroe either. For much of the recruiting season last year, Monroe was considered the top prospect. He also has an opportunity to play immediately in JT3′s system, so look for big things from Georgetown’s new big man.
Greg Monroe highlights:
Scotty Hopson is considered one of the most gifted athletes out of the bunch (and the one with probably the biggest upside), so you know Bruce Pearl is thinking big things for his Chris Lofton replacement.
In Louisville, big things are expected from Rick Pitino’s new big man on campus, Samardo Samuels. Rivals considers Samuels to be an instant double-double guy. He’s replacing David Padgett, so he has a lot to live up to. As long as he doesn’t go down the Derrick Caracter route, Cardinal fans should be happy.
Lastly (for this post anyway), look for Memphis’ Tyreke Evans to have a huge season for John Calipari. We already know Coach Cal is not afraid to play his freshman guards, as long as they are producing and Evans has production written all over his game, which is reminiscent of former Memphis guard, Darius Washington.
Tyreke Evans highlights:
These are just five of the fifteen and there are some SI might have overlooked (UConn’s Ater Majok and Louisville’s other forward signing, Terrence Jennings, come to mind). Anyone of these players is capable of winning the Freshman of the Year award, but who do you think it will be?
Good thing we don’t have that long to wait before we start finding out.