Ranking the top 10 freshmen in college basketball this season-ZoomTech News

Ranking the top 10 freshmen in college basketball this season-ZoomTech News

With the school basketball season 5 weeks previous, this appears like an excellent alternative to verify in on the brand new huge males on campus. No, we’re not speaking about dimension on this occasion, however we have got that coated too. 

We’re referring to the freshmen in faculty basketball. In a sport the place there are fifth- and sixth-year seniors nonetheless round, it’s troublesome for 17 and 18-year-old highschool recruits to enter the school scene and dominate video games. That being mentioned, this class continues to be crammed with headliner names and rising stars with wealthy upside, in addition to others who’ve sprung onto the scene at smaller-name applications and have been in a position to make an instantaneous impression. 

Let’s current some numbers for this 12 months’s freshmen:

In response to FOX Sports activities Analysis, over 1,000 Division I freshmen have performed in a minimum of one recreation this season. A complete of 65 of these freshmen are averaging a minimum of 10.0 PPG, which is lower than 7%.

We’re additionally nonetheless within the early a part of December, and there is loads of time for these rookies who have not totally come into their very own to make strides because the 12 months goes on. That is the enjoyable a part of a freshman season arc – there is a degree of unpredictability with it. 

With that mentioned, listed below are our top-10 freshmen to this point within the faculty hoops season, with a number of further names to observe as nicely! 

1. Reed Sheppard, Kentucky
Top/Weight: 6-3, 187 kilos
Stats: 13.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.8 APG 

There is not a single freshman who has seen his inventory rise extra within the first month of the season than Sheppard, who entered faculty because the 79th-ranked prospect within the 247Sports Composite rankings for the category of 2023. Sheppard was tabbed as a shooter out of highschool, however Mr. Kentucky Basketball out of North Laurel Excessive is a lot greater than that.

Sheppard’s intuition for the sport has been actually spectacular to observe, as he had a five-game stretch from Nov. 17 to Dec. 2 the place he tallied a minimum of 4 assists in each contest. And here is the factor: Sheppard is not only a expert offensive participant. He is been terrific defensively. Within the month of November, he was posting 5.3 steals and 1.7 blocks per 40 minutes. He has an excellent really feel for the place to be within the passing lanes on that facet of the ground, and his understanding of the fitting play to make is past his years. Sheppard has been as impactful as any participant on this Kentucky crew. 

2. Isaiah Collier, USC
Top/Weight: 6-5, 210 kilos
Stats: 17.0 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.0 RPG, 50% FG 

The consensus No. 1 recruit within the nation and reigning Naismith Excessive Faculty Participant of the 12 months has been as marketed and appears the a part of the potential No. 1 choose in subsequent June’s draft. Collier began his faculty profession with 4 straight video games of a minimum of 18 factors, together with a career-high 24 towards Brown. The 19-year-old guard additionally has the power to make performs for others whereas with the ability to take contact from a defender and discover area to create. Collier has tallied 5 or extra assists in 5 of the Trojans’ 9 video games to this point. If there’s a lone concern, it is his perimeter taking pictures, as he is gone 3-for-13 from downtown within the final 5 video games. The defensive finish of the ground can also be an space the place he must develop, however that is probably not an outlier. The best way he embraces physicality makes me imagine that his protection can proceed to come back alongside. 

The large storyline going ahead: USC is 5-4, and it could be a disgrace if Collier did not get to play within the NCAA Match. The Trojans might be a bubble crew with a NET that sits at 92 after a loss to Lengthy Seaside State in Bronny James’ debut. This program has made the final three NCAA Tournaments, and with Boogie Ellis main them, they need to make it once more, however there’s work for Collier & Co. to do. 

USC’s Isaiah Collier breaks an Oklahoma defender’s ankles and hits the 3-pointer

USC's Isaiah Collier breaks an Oklahoma defender's ankles and hits the 3-pointer

3. Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor
Top/Weight: 6-5, 195 kilos
Stats: 14.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 42% FG 

Walter is a giant purpose why Baylor is 9-0 on the season and ranked No. 6 within the nation. He’s as robust as any shooter within the 2023 class, sporting a 38% clip from 3-point vary. The five-star recruit has already had 4 video games this 12 months with 4 made triples.

Walter’s strengths transcend simply shotmaking, which makes him an ideal match for Scott Drew as a result of he is a succesful defender who makes use of his size to be disruptive, possessing a excessive motor. Walter by no means stops transferring on each ends of the ground, and the impression he has had for an unbeaten Bears crew, mixed together with his three video games of 23-plus factors this season, is why we have got him at No. 3 on this record. He’s a freshman who can explode on any given night time on the offensive finish for his crew. 

4. Robert Dillingham, Kentucky
Top/Weight: 6-3, 176 kilos 
Stats: 14.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 4.9 APG, 48% FG 

Together with his velocity and elite ball-handling skill, Dillingham is a blur in transition and offers such a burst for a crew on the offensive finish of the ground. The freshman from Hickory, North Carolina is made for the brilliant lights. In a matchup towards Kansas on the Champions Basic, Dillingham sparked Kentucky again right into a recreation that the Wildcats would have received had Dajuan Harris Jr. not had the most effective offensive recreation of his profession. After his 18-point efficiency towards the Jayhawks on 4-of-5 from 3-point territory, Dillingham was terrific towards Miami with 12 factors, 9 assists, 5 rebounds and no turnovers. 

Dillingham’s shot choice might be a bit of extra beneath management, however then once more, I do not thoughts the fixed inexperienced gentle for a man who has hit a number of threes in seven of his crew’s 9 video games, together with a 3-for-5 mark in Saturday’s 81-66 win over Penn, during which Dillingham ended up with 17 factors. The truth that each Dillingham and Sheppard come off the bench makes Kentucky that rather more scary, and as Aaron Bradshaw continues to come back into his personal, he’ll be on this record as nicely. 

5. Malik Mack, Harvard 
Top/Weight: 6-1, 170 kilos
Stats: 20.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.4 APG, 47% FG 

He was a three-star recruit out of highschool and was the Fiftieth-ranked level guard by 247Sports.com. Neglect all of that, as a result of Mack is the highest scoring freshman within the nation for a 7-3 Crimson crew. The 2022-23 Gatorade Participant of the 12 months out of St. John’s School Excessive Faculty, Mack can also be within the high 4 amongst all freshmen in faculty hoops with 4.4 assists per recreation. This child is greater than only a stat-sheet stuffer, as he has terrific instincts to create for his teammates.

Mack received the Ivy League Rookie of the Week honor in every of the primary 4 weeks of the season, taking pictures a whopping 25-for-53 from downtown to begin the season. 

6. Carlton Carrington, Pittsburgh
Top/Weight: 6-5, 190 kilos
Stats: 14.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.1 APG 

The 2-time ACC Freshman of the Week is likely one of the most intriguing gamers on this class. Carrington has excellent passing skill for somebody his age and an aggressiveness on protection that stands proud. 

Though his effectivity has been a little bit of a query mark when it comes to shotmaking, Carrington mixed to shoot 13-of-29 from the ground in a pair of wins this previous week with 14 assists, together with a 16-point, nine-assist recreation in a win at West Virginia. His upside at 6-5 is admittedly particular, and his instincts to cross actually bounce out on tape. 

7. Josh Hubbard, Mississippi State 
Top/Weight: 5-10, 185 kilos 
Stats: 16.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 45% FG 

The state of Mississippi’s highschool all-time main scorer at 4,367 profession factors, Hubbard has come into Starkville and lit it up offensively. His 150 factors by the primary 9 video games of the season are probably the most by a Bulldogs freshman since Rickey Brown within the 1976-77 season. Included in his bucket-getting performances was a 29-point exhibiting on 9-of-14 from the ground to win the Basketball Corridor of Fame Tip-Off over Northwestern. 

Hubbard is just not forcing up photographs, however slightly taking what the protection offers him and actually flowing in Mississippi State’s offense. And, he is been OK doing it by backing up lead guard Dashawn Davis and coming off the bench. For a Bulldogs program that ranks third within the nation in defensive effectivity, having this high-end scorer of their offense is a significant coup. 

8. Myles Rice, Washington State 
Top/Weight: 6-3, 180 kilos 
Stats: 16.0 PPG, 3.1 APG, 2.6 RPG, 50% FG 

This is likely one of the strongest tales in faculty basketball. Rice underwent remedy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma final 12 months, battling by it till it went into remission, permitting him to swimsuit up and get again to the hardwood this season. 

This 12 months, he is the main scorer on an 8-1 Washington State crew and has received back-to-back Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors. Have in mind, he performs in the identical convention that Collier resides in. Rice has not solely averaged 16 factors and over three assists per recreation, however on Sunday in a win over Grambling, he tallied seven steals, one off this system document, together with seven dishes and 14 factors. 

9. Aden Holloway, Auburn 
Top/Weight: 6-1, 178 kilos 
Stats: 12.3 PPG, 3.1 APG, 36% FG 

The five-star guard out of Prolific Prep has come into Bruce Pearl’s program and produced huge offensive performances. In his faculty debut, he posted 19 factors on 4-of-8 from 3-point land, and added six assists towards a top-10 Baylor crew. 

After some ups and downs, together with a scoreless outing towards Virginia Tech, Holloway capitalized on Indiana giving him photographs and made them pay in a 104-76 rout over the Hoosiers. He delivered a career-high 24 factors on 7-of-11 from the ground, 5-of-8 from 3 and two assists. Holloway has 25 assists to only 9 turnovers on the season, serving to to guide a Tigers crew that I imagine might be an SEC darkish horse with a top-20 KenPom offense and protection. 

10. Milan Momcilovic, Iowa State 
Top/Weight: 6-8, 210 kilos 
Stats: 13.2 PPG, 3.5 APG, 47% FG 

The KenPom comparability for Momcilovic is Boston Celtics ahead Sam Hauser, and for good purpose. A four-star recruit ranked within the high 40 within the 2023 class, Momcilovic is a knockdown shooter who ranks second within the Huge 12 at 46% from downtown. 

His most interesting hour in faculty got here in Orlando when he posted 21 factors towards Virginia Tech, going an environment friendly 7-of-10 from the ground. Together with his size and footwork at his dimension, there’s professional upside with the Cyclones standout. Will he be capable to present a capability to protect? He is enjoying for a coach in T.J. Otzelberger, who is a good defensive coach. 

Listed here are another freshmen to observe because the season goes on: 

Cody Williams, Colorado (14.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 62% FG)

Darren Buchanan Jr., George Washington (14.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 61% FG) 

Mason Falslev, Utah State (12.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, 65% FG) 

PJ Haggerty, Tulsa (15.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 39% FG) 

Sebastian Mack, UCLA (13.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, 38% FG) 

Stephon Citadel, UConn (9.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, 55% FG) *4 video games performed as a result of harm*

Baye Ndongo, Georgia Tech (8.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 44% FG) 

Tyler Perkins, Penn (15.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 41% FG) 

Xzayvier Brown, Saint Joseph’s (11.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 53% FG)

Markus Burton, Notre Dame (15.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.7 APG, 42% FG)

JT Toppin, New Mexico (12.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 73% FG)

John Fanta is a nationwide faculty basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports activities. He covers the game in quite a lot of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Community to offering commentary on The Discipline of 68 Media Community. Observe him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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