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Top freshmen to watch in 2010-11
By recruiting analyst standards (and I agree), this isn’t exactly a stellar freshman class. However, there are definitely plenty of guys that will have an impact on the national level.
We’re going to give you 25 of them that you need to keep an eye on.
Two guys who we have listed with an asterisk are Josh Selby (Kansas) and Enes Kanter (Kentucky) as they haven’t yet been cleared to play by the NCAA.
FRESHMEN TO WATCH
Harrison Barnes, 6-8, 210, SF, North Carolina — He was the guy that most had ranked at No. 1 in the Class of 2010 and for good reason. Barnes can do it all — he’s a long, talented wing that can score in a variety of ways, rebound and defend. His arrival in Chapel Hill should put the Tar Heels back in contention for a Final Four.
Jared Sullinger, 6-9, 280, C, Ohio State — He’s a man already and could become the most dominant post player in the nation. He knows how to utilize his big body, can score in the post and is a relentless rebounder.
Kyrie Irving, 6-2, 180, PG, Duke — He’ll step right in for Jon Scheyer in Durham and the Blue Devils won’t miss a beat. Irving is fast, makes his teammates better and will mesh well with vets Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. Irving will make Duke scary in transition.
Brandon Knight, 6-3, 195, G, Kentucky — He’s a big-time scoring guard who can put up big numbers. He’s not John Wall, but he’ll be the guy with the ball in his hands for the Wildcats this season.
Perry Jones, 6-11, 235, PF, Baylor — Arguably the most talented player in the entire class, the long and skilled Jones will be interesting to watch to see if his production can match his potential.
Tobias Harris, 6-8, 225, F, Tennessee — The New Yorker opted to go to SEC country and should make an immediate impact for Bruce Pearl. Harris is a combo forward who is a tough matchup due to his versatility.
Renardo Sidney, 6-9, 280, F, Mississippi State — He wasn’t cleared by the NCAA to play last season and will miss nine games this year. If the skilled big man gets himself into shape, he’s as talented as just about anyone on this list.
Tristan Thompson, 6-8, 225, F, Texas — The Canadian was, at one time, considered the top player in the Class of 2010 before falling down a few notches. Rick Barnes will likely utilize Thompson plenty up front after losing so many big men from a year ago.
Cory Joseph, 6-3, 185, PG, Texas — Here’s another Canadian on the Longhorns roster and he may be exactly what Barnes has been searching for since the departure of D.J. Augustin: a big-time point guard.
Jereme Richmond, 6-7, 205, SF, Illinois — Talk about versatility. Richmond can play multiple positions and will find a way to make an impact for the Illini. His numbers won’t be staggering, but he can do a little bit of everything.
Shabazz Napier, 6-0, 170, G, UConn — He was supposed to do another year of prep school, but opted to arrive in Storrs this year and Jim Calhoun won’t be shy in going with Napier — who can really score the ball. He’ll be a perfect replacement for Jerome Dyson.
Terone Johnson, 6-2, 210, G, Purdue — His stats may end up being more impressive now that Robbie Hummel is out for the season. He could wind up becoming the Boilermakers' third offensive option.
Will Barton, 6-6, 175, SG, Memphis — He was a virtual unknown until a couple years ago when the Baltimore native blew up in the offseason. He’s long and talented and has all the tools to become a big-time scorer and player.
Fab Melo, 7-0, 245, C, Syracuse — The big Brazilian should take the place of Arinze Onuaku, and he could be a force on both ends of the floor. But it also may take some time.
Reggie Bullock, 6-7, 190, SG, North Carolina — He’s kind of the forgotten man since he’s overshadowed by Barnes in the Tar Heels class, but this kid can really score — especially from deep.
GOODMAN SEASON PREVIEWS
- Preseason All-Americans
- Preseason Top 25: Who's No. 1?
- 68 things to watch this season
- Best backcourts: Super 'Nova
- Best frontcourts: Big, bad Heels
- Top transfers: Curry's 'lil brother
- Top freshmen: ACC scores talent
- Coaches on hot seat: Careful, Pearl
- ACC preview: Return of UNC?
- Big East preview: New favorites
- Big 12 preview: K-State or KU?
- Pac-10 preview: Huskies and mutts
- Big Ten preview: Power conference
- SEC preview: It's wide open
Ian Miller, 6-3, 195, PG, Florida State — The ‘Noles have everything — except for a big-time point guard. Miller, who can really light up the stat sheet, could get a chance at some point and could be the missing piece for Leonard Hamilton & Co.
Phil Pressey, 5-9, 168, PG, Missouri — The kid is a jet and is ideal for the way that Mike Anderson’s Tigers play.
Juwan Staten, 6-0, 190, PG, Dayton — He’ll get the ball from Brian Gregory from Day One and is certainly capable of handling the pressure.
Nate Lubick, 6-8, 240, F, Georgetown — He’s come a long way over the last few years and can make an impact due to his mental and physical toughness. With the departure of Greg Monroe, there’s time available for the Massachusetts native.
Ray McCallum, 6-1, 185, PG, Detroit — Spurned a ton of high-majors to stay home and play for his dad and the Titans. Knows how to run a team and has a high basketball IQ.
Eric Ferguson, 6-7, 185, SF, Georgia Southern — Here’s my one freshman sleeper of the group. Ferguson could have gone high-major, but he wanted to play for Charlton Young — who roomed with Ferguson’s dad back in college and helped raise him.
Vander Blue, 6-4, 190, G, Marquette — He’s the perfect Buzz Williams type of kid. He’s tough, hard-nosed and physical. Those attributes will get him on the court plenty.
Tim Hardaway Jr., 6-5, 185, G, Michigan — John Beilein needs him, and the son of the former NBA star should step right in and play.
C.J. Leslie, 6-8, 205, F, N.C. State — A terrific talent and a big-time athlete, Sidney Lowe will count on him to help Tracy Smith up front.
Keith Appling, 6-1, 180, G, Michigan State — With the departure of Chris Allen, there’s certainly an opportunity there for Appling to get playing time on the wing. He’s a big-time talent who just needs the chance.
WAITING FOR CLEARANCE
*Enes Kanter, 6-11, 270, C, Kentucky — All accounts point to the Turkish big man being dominant if he’s cleared, but right now he’s still awaiting word on his amateur status from the NCAA.
*Josh Selby, 6-2, 185, PG, Kansas — He’ll almost certainty have the ball in his hands in Lawrence and is one of the top point guards in the nation, but Selby is still waiting for the NCAA to determine whether he’ll be cleared to play or not.
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