The Year of the Freshman, Part 2

Greg Oden being ridiculousA couple years ago, most high school seniors capable of dominating on the college level were going straight to the pros. Year 1 of the NBA age limit came and went without any huge impact freshman. Year 2 brought us Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, two of the greatest freshman players in NCAA history. Year 3 – well, year 3 is just ridiculous.Of the 73 programs in the major conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-10 and SEC), 18 are currently being led in scoring by a freshman (24.6%). 37 of those teams have a freshman in their top 3 in scoring (50.6%). The top 7 picks on NBADraft.net’s 2008 Mock Draft are all freshman. 9 of their 13 lottery picks are freshman. The top 2 scorers, top rebounder and top FG% in the country, among the major conferences, are freshman.While Michael Beasley, Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love get most of the media attention, this is probably the deepest freshman class the NCAA has seen in quite some time. Below are 27 freshman (ranked by PPG, not talent-level), all of whom have a chance to be all-conference performers this year. Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. showed last year freshman can lead their team to the final four – it looks like we will be saying the same about a least a team or two this year.

  1. Michael Beasley, F, Kansas St – 24.9 ppg, 13.9 rpg
  2. Eric Gordon, G, Indiana – 24.4 ppg, .543 FG%
  3. O.J. Mayo, G, USC – 19.6 ppg, 1.9 spg
  4. Donte Green, F, Syracuse – 19.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg
  5. Andrew Ogilvy, C, Vanderbilt – 19.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg
  6. Jerryd Bayless, G, Arizona – 18.8 ppg, 4.3 apg
  7. J.J. Hickson, F, NC State – 18.0 ppg, .708 FG%
  8. James Anderson, F, OK St. – 17.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg
  9. Kevin Love, C, UCLA – 16.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg
  10. James Harden, G, Arizona St. – 16.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg
  11. Dominique Jones, G, South Florida – 16.5 ppg, 2.3 spg
  12. Patrick Patterson, F, Kentucky – 16.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg
  13. Manny Harris, G, Michigan – 16.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg
  14. Nick Calathes, G, Florida – 15.8 ppg, 5.5 apg
  15. Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio St. – 15.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg
  16. Derrick Rose, G, Memphis – 15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg
  17. Davon Jefferson, F, USC – 14.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg
  18. Jonny Flynn, G, Syracuse – 14.3 ppg, 6.3 apg
  19. Chris Warren, G, Ole Miss – 14.2 ppg, 5.8 apg
  20. Anthony Randolph, F, LSU – 13.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg
  21. Kyle Singler, F, Duke – 13.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg
  22. Blake Griffin, F, Oklahoma – 13.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg
  23. Craig Brackens, F, Iowa St. – 12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg
  24. James Johnson, F, Wake Forest – 12.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg
  25. DeJuan Blair, F, Pitt – 12.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg
  26. Corey Fisher, G, Villanova – 11.9 ppg, 3.1 apg
  27. Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga – 11.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
  28. DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M – 10.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg
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14 Responses

  1. what about Chris Warren from Ole Miss??

  2. indeed – added him on

  3. thank god for the rule change to deny 19 yr old potentials to join the NBA. It’s made college basketball better and the pros have a little better chance to draft a player rather than just a prospect.

    Having more talent on NBA rosters is a very good thing, truthfully I wish the age limit was even higher.

  4. There’s nothing like Eric Gordon…dominate and can’t be stopped..he can do it where ever on the court. But all the players are like that..They have something the other freshman don’t have. Freshman are and now have dominated the game of basketball. It seems as though..if you are a jr. or sr. in college playing ball..you aren’t that explosive or interesting cuz you’ve been there too long and you game will develop and die…lots of players tend to stay and kill their stock by the new things they do. Freshmen have changed the game of college basketball, and it will never be the same as long as freshmen keep coming out like this!

  5. WHERE IS DEANDRE JORDAN AKA THE NEXT DWIGHT HOWARD, HE WILL BE A TOP 3 PICK AND WILL BE THE NEXT GREAT NBA CENTER

  6. Deandre has to be there. Being a projected top 10 pick on almost everyones predraft rankings, its almost foolish not to have him on that list. The guy is the most athletic 7 footer I’ve seen since David Robinson.

  7. when I made the list, DeAndre was only averaging about 7 ppg. I was going on impact on their team, rather than NBA potential (which deandre has LOADS of) – but I added him since he’s picked it up a little, and only figures to get better.

  8. Austin Freeman from G-Town should probably be on there…Chris Wright from Dayton…and 2 of 3 of Purdue’s top 3 freshman stars.

    I think D’Andre Jordan should be a bit higher too…even thought he only gets 20 minutes per game, he has a huge impact on the team defensively. When him and Joseph Jones are playing together, that’s one hell of a frontcourt duo. Plus, he’s shooting 75% from the floor, which is mindboggling.

    DeJuan Blair I think should be WAY higher too…he’s far outplaying a lot of the other big man above him on that list, especially Anthony Randolph, Blake Griffin, and Kosta Koufas. 12 pts, 10 rbs, 1.5 blks, anchors the team with a physical presence. If Blair was injured, Pitt would not have even close to the record they’ve got.

  9. READ the post “Below are 27 freshman (ranked by PPG, not talent-level), all of whom have a chance to be all-conference performers this year.”

    Subjectively ranking the freshman by talent/impact would be a completely separate post entirely. And will likely come once the season is over and we find out who will be entering the draft.

  10. Ah, my bad Dannie, didn’t catch that. Thanks!

  11. All good. Thanks for reading and all the comments. We really appreciate it.

  12. I think a guy to really keep an eye on whose stock has been raising every game is Patrick Patterson of Kentucky. I’ve had a chance to see him play four times now, and every game throughout the season’s he’s shown improvement.

    His post game fundamentals are real solid…he is actually a big man that plays with his back to the basket, has good footwork with nice post moves, demands to receive the ball on the block, and is not afraid to take the big shot. At 6’10 with a muscular physique, he definitely has an NBA body too.

    He’ll probably stick around for his sophomore year, and him and Perry Stevenson, Kentucky’s also rapidly improving 6’9 forward, should form a top 5 front court combo next season for Gillespie.

  13. Wanted to bump this thread up again. I heard recently that Anthony Randolph is 50/50 for whether he’s staying for his soph year or taking off to the NBA. This is a guy we should really keep our eye on…he might be one of the few legit bigs that has a slim chance of being around when we pick (around 13-16 at this rate).

    He’s a legit 6’10, has a freakish wingspan and blocking ability, hustles his a** off, apparently is a real disciplined worker (similar to Thad Young), and while his scoring numbers are modest, in watching him play you can see he already possesses the fundamentals most big men lack in their post game.

    Why might be there towards the end of the lottery/mid 1st round? He has Tayshaun Prince syndrome…he looks like he weighs 50 lbs. LSU sucked a phat one this year, thus dropping his stock a bit and causing him to fly under the radar. He won’t get any tourney exposure, meaning his stock can’t rise higher until May during predraft camps. And with a potential mass exodus of other underclass big men (Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, D’Andre Jordan, Patrick Patterson, Darrel Arthur)…Randolph might be still available. As long as Randolph is committed to bulking up, getting this guy in the mid 1st round could be a huge steal, I love his potential.

    As I’m pretty convinced we are going to strike out big and have almost no shot of luring Elton Brand away from L.A., I think landing a gem of a post talent in this draft, or a legit SG that can hit threes, is an absolute essential. A backup PG that can stroke it from deep would be nice too in the 2nd round…a Jamar Butler from OSU, or Brian Roberts from Dayton, type guy.

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