Sunday, October 21, 2007

NCAA: Finest Freshmen

If not for the NCAA decision to require high school athletes to go to college for one year, this list wouldn’t be so special. Most of these kids would be riding pine for an NBA team, with a serious bank account and a new house for mom. I guess it’s a moot point now.

With one of the best freshman classes in recent memory, college basketball is going to be real strong this season. Let’s take a quick look at some of college basketball’s Finest Freshmen:

1st Team

OJ Mayo, USC

The most heralded of the group, look for OJ to make a huge splash with the Trojans this season. He’s a superb scorer who can get hot in a hurry and absolutely dominate a game. OJ sees the court really well and has a very pure shooting stroke. You won’t get much emotion out of OJ on the court, but he apparently chose USC to display his personality off of it. If you haven’t read this story, it’s a must... OJ chooses USC.

One thing to note, OJ has been on the map for as long as I can remember, so if you’re expecting another LeBron, don’t. OJ doesn’t have the explosiveness to be a superstar at the pro level.

Eric Gordon, Indiana

Hoosier fans are going to be extremely happy to see Eric Gordon wearing cream and crimson this season. After originally verbally committing to Illinois, Gordon had a change of heart and decided to take his game to Bloomington, Indiana.

Plain and simple, Eric Gordon is a scorer. He plays an attacking style on offense, continuously taking the ball to the bucket, fending off contact with his muscular frame. He has great athletic ability and solid range on his jumper.

At 6’4 Gordon is still a tweener, so he might be forced to stick around IU for a few years to improve his point guard skills. Otherwise, this marriage will be short lived.

Derrick Rose, Memphis

There is not a faster player in college basketball right now than Derrick Rose. When the ball is in his hands, he is gone and if you blink you might miss him.

Rose is a tremendous athlete that can throw it down with the best of them, but he’s also a natural point guard with great court vision. His jumper could use some consistency, but other than that Rose is the complete package.

With the NBA draft only 8 months away, I doubt Rose is even unpacking. Done, locked, he’s gone.

Kyle Singler, Duke

Kyle is a perfect fit for the Blue Devils. He is extremely competitive and plays with a no fear attitude that will quickly make him a fan favorite. He is also very versatile. At 6’8, Kyle can not only bang with the big guys inside, but he has the ability to step outside and stroke from deep.

I’m picturing him now smacking the court at Cameron Indoor. You can expect to see him at Duke for the next few years, by choice more than anything.

Kevin Love, UCLA

Love is going to be a force at UCLA. He has a great attitude, always shows up to compete, and he gets the job done.

Love does a great job using his body to shield off the opposition. He is extremely active down low and has the ability to step out and hit the mid range jumper. His footwork is better than most pros and he can probably teach a course on outlet passing... Complete Kevin Love scouting report.

Love’s lack of athletic ability will inhibit him as he attempts to make UCLA a quick pit stop before heading to the next level. Despite many analysts predicting Love to be one and done at UCLA, I wouldn’t count on it. In fact, it wouldn’t shock me if he stayed the full 4 years.

2nd Team

Corey Fisher, Villanova – Don’t be deceived by his pudgy frame, Fisher is a scoring machine. Fisher needs to learn how to play the point and get teammates involved, but expect major scoring numbers from Fisher right away.

Michael Beasley, Kansas State
Beasley brings a swagger and cockiness with him to Kansas State. He is an inside-outside scorer that will force you to take notice every time he steps on the court. Both his willingness to be coached and his effort have been questioned, but never his talent.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, look for Beasley to declare for the league 10 seconds after his final college game.

Donte Greene, Syracuse Green follows in the recent line of long, skinny, athletic ball players to come through Syracuse. Like Damone Brown, Hakim Warrick and Demetrius Nichols before him, Green needs to hit the weight room. Once he polishes his game and learns to play inside, sky’s the limit.

Austin Freeman, Georgetown
– Despite the departure of Jeff Green, look for Freeman to come in right away and fill some of the scoring void left behind. Freeman will benefit from playing with two stud big men in his college career; currently Roy Hibbert and #1 Junior Greg Monroe. With those combinations, you can expect to see Georgetown among the top schools in the Big East for years to come.

Jonny Flynn, Syracuse – Flynn is a superb athlete who plays hard every minute of the game. He should have no problem beating out last years point guard, Josh Wright and immediately earn the starting nod. Joining former high school teammate Paul Harris, this dynamite combination should have Syracuse back to the nation’s elite.


Anonymous said...

That game opening night at the Garden is going to be insane. OJ vs. DRose, although I hear Rose might come off the bench, ala Marvin Williams at UNC.

Pretty odd that both Singler and Love come from Oregon. Not exactly a hot bed of talent from that state.


The Coach said...

Kev Love is the truth...Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

I'm loving the part about Rose skipping to the league. Its so true, the dude is one and donzo.

Rose is going to give OJ the biz in a few weeks.

Unknown said...

e.gordon is the truth
JB keep em coming!!