We are still a few months away from getting to see any real college basketball play, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t speculate over which teams will have a breakout year. More specifically – which freshman are going to have the most impact this season? In a previous post, I explored the idea that, in basketball, with time comes more skill. Which makes you wonder – how much impact can you have when you’re a freshman?
Power forward, Duke. Williamson is the type of player that is extremely physical, but also the kind of player that you don’t see very often. He is agile and can dominate his position. He will be one of the toughest matchups for any team at any spot on the floor. Williamson has a shot to be the ACC and national player of the year if he can be a beast throughout the season.
Small forward, Duke. Yes, Duke has two of the most important freshman in the country. Barrett could be the difference-maker for the Blue Devils with his versatility. And if this 1-2 punch can deliver on a regular basis, then don’t be surprised to see Duke mount a title campaign.
Small forward, North Carolina. Little has a shot at competing with Barrett and Williamson for ACC rookie/player of the year. Little might be the star that the Tar Heels have discovered recently. They do have loads of other talent, but in mostly experienced, veteran players. That said, Little gives the Tar Heels that impactful freshman who can be a terror from day one for his opponents.
Shooting guard, Indiana. Langford’s recruitment was an intense one for Indiana. This was particularly a major coup for Archie Miller, and Lanford might be the reason that the Hoosiers will be competing for a spot near the top of the Big Ten this year. The return of Juwan Morgan gives the Hoosiers an experienced, go-to player. Langford, though, can be a difference-maker that Indiana lacked last season.
Shooting guard, Kentucky. The Wildcats once again have a stellar recruiting class. Herro is the one who stood out during the summer trip to the Bahamas. If he can match his scoring prowess during the regular season, then the expectations for Kentucky could be met.
Center, Western Kentucky. The Bassey addition gives Rick Stansbury a player who could be at any power school in the country. That means if the Hilltoppers can reach the NCAA tournament, they can match up with any opponent at a position where schools tend to be overmatched. If Bassey can deliver on his expectations, then Western Kentucky will not only be a team to watch in its title chase with Marshall in Conference USA but also in March.
Power forward, UCLA. The late add gives the Bruins a much-needed boost inside. The Bruins have plenty of pop on the perimeter in the return of Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands. But there was a glaring need for another frontcourt player. O’Neal, who is Shaquille O’Neal’s son, doesn’t have to be the most important player on the team, but if he can make significant contributions in spots, then the Bruins should be a legitimate contender in the Pac-12 this season.