Ten Instant Impact Freshmen in 2010-11Posted by zhayes9 on May 26th, 2010
Zach Hayes is a regular RTC writer and resident bracketologist.
Last week on ESPN.com, esteemed analyst Doug Gottlieb highlighted ten (ended up being 11) freshmen for the 2010-11 season that will make a definable impact on college basketball. These players have been hyped on the AAU circuit, involved in serious recruiting battles and now finally have the opportunity to make their mark on the college game starting in November. Gottlieb broke down the skills of Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Cameron Clark (Oklahoma), Allen Crabbe (California), Tobias Harris (Tennessee), Kyrie Irving (Duke), Perry Jones (Baylor), Brandon Knight (Kentucky), Renardo Sidney (Mississippi State), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), Tristan Thompson (Texas) and Dion Waiters (Syracuse). Still, there are plenty of other talented incoming rookies that will drastically alter the course of the upcoming campaign. Here’s ten more highly touted freshmen to look out for next season:
Enes Kanter (Kentucky)- Kanter won’t be as productive a player per 40 minutes as his post predecessor DeMarcus Cousins, but he does have the skill level to develop into a formidable replacement. Should Kanter be deemed eligible to play immediately, the 6’9 Turkish center will start immediately alongside Terrence Jones on John Calipari’s frontline. Kanter has a tremendous feel for the game and an array of advanced post moves. Kanter can also face up and opposing defenders must respect his capable mid-range jumper to about 17-19 feet. While no Kentucky center will be matching the rebounding production of Cousins any time soon, Kanter can absolutely hold his own on the glass.
Josh Selby (Kansas)- Selby and Kentucky commit Brandon Knight will distribute to an array of talented teammates next season, but the two phenoms are also gifted scorers who can post 30 points on any given night. Selby is a physical guard that invites contact and often beats defenders with a variety of advanced moves for his age. Expect to see Selby penetrate often with the idea of kicking to an open Tyrell Reed or Brady Morningstar on more than one occasion in 2010-11. Selby has outstanding shooting range himself and loves to pull up in transition. You won’t find a tougher guard in this year’s class.
C.J. Leslie (NC State)- There are few players in this year’s freshman class that have the ceiling of C.J. Leslie. NC State head coach Sidney Lowe capped off a wildly impressive recruiting campaign when the ultra-athletic Leslie opted to stay home rather than play in the bluegrass of Kentucky. Leslie reminds scouts of Amare Stoudemire because of his ability to face up and hit a mid-range jumper, yet also possesses the capability to overpower defenders for a finish at the rim. His rebounding and shot-blocking skills are off the charts, but the consistent effort in those areas have come into question.
Will Barton (Memphis)- Will Barton is a pure scorer in every sense of the word. He has the capability to pull up at all times from nearly any range and nail the jumper. Barton’s three-point range is as impressive as any recruit in recent years and he also loves pulling up for mid-range jumpers in transition. As the case with any young kid with this much talent scoring the basketball, Barton can often run into problems with shot selection and decision making. Barton’s lengthy wingspan also allows the skilled shooting guard to act as a capable defender. If his wiry frame can add some strength at Memphis, Barton is a guaranteed future lottery pick.
Fab Melo (Syracuse)- Melo will attempt to replace the big-bodied Arinze Onuaku in the post at the Carrier Dome next season and should prove a worthwhile replacement. The 7-foot Brazilian center has the frame to clog the lane and prevent penetration-and-kicks that kill the patented 2-3 zone. His collection of post moves are still a work in progress, but Melo’s sure hands and soft jump hook will be featured often next season. His shape and effort level tend to waver, although those concerns have been erased slightly in recent seasons.
Cory Joseph (Texas)- Joseph is everything a college coach wants in a point guard: lockdown defender, three-point marksman with the added quickness to penetrate and command of the position that makes his teammates better every single game. No longer will there be a revolving door at the position for Rick Barnes, and it’s possible Joseph is even more impressive than fellow Findlay Prep alum Avery Bradley was in burnt orange last season. Along with an innate passing ability and defense that isn’t extremely inferior from Bradley (or even Dogus Balbay, who may be relegated to third guard duties), Joseph is a true point guard and can run the offense with the steadiness of a senior.
Patric Young (Florida)- Young doesn’t wow scouts with his offensive low-post game, but he could be the best interior defender of this class. Young’s physicality and strength on the low block are almost as impressive as his tremendous shot-blocking ability. He can also rebound at the rim and loves finishing at the other end with earth-shattering two-handed jams. Billy Donovan will surely work with Young on completing his game with a repertoire on offense. He lacks a definable move and can’t be depended on for much scoring on the collegiate level, at least initially.
Reggie Bullock (North Carolina)- Bullock, along with fellow rookie Tar Heels Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall, will contend from Day One for starting positions under Roy Williams. Bullock is a prototypical 2-guard with incredible shooting range and the constant threat of lighting it up from downtown. He has the chance to pass Will Graves immediately for the premiere three-point popper sporting Carolina blue. Bullock can also score comfortably in transition and possesses decent ball-handling skills and basketball IQ. Improve his mid-range game and defense and Bullock could be an All-American two years down the line.
Adreian Payne (Michigan State)- Payne is an intriguing prospect and could go in either direction. While he won’t receive a boatload of playing time from the outset on a loaded Spartans squad, Payne should certainly make an impact during his handful of minutes on the floor for Tom Izzo. The consistency has always been a lingering issue for Payne, who possesses some of the best pure shot-blocking and rebounding skills of any player in the class. Payne is an explosive force with a high ceiling, but certainly needs to develop more of an offensive repertoire in East Lansing.
Tony Mitchell (Missouri)- The first of a few talented Texans that make up Mike Anderson’s most enviable recruiting class to date, Mitchell should blend perfectly in Missouri’s system. The 6’8 forward runs extremely well for his size and can defend multiple positions because of his quickness and agility. His ball-handling and speed match those skills of a guard, but Mitchell also uses his size to exploit smaller defenders on the block. The offensive game and shooting range could certainly use improvement, but expect more than one overpowering dunk off of a press-created Missouri swipe this season.