Perhaps more than the average year, this season’s incoming freshman class may produce upwards of 8-10 legitimate impact pros that have NBA scouts already drooling with anticipation for the recruits to get on the hardwood.
In addition to these almost certain one-and-doners like Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Gordon, and Julius Randle, there are several other prospects that have the potential to be immediate stars on the collegiate level.
With such a vaunted incoming freshman class this season, we have expanded our usual Top 10 to include 15 NCAA Must Watch Freshmen for the ’12-’13 season…
6’2 165lbs PG
#26 Recruit in 2013 Class
Now that Lorenzo Brown has moved on to the professional ranks and Rodney Purvis has decided to transfer to UConn, their will be plenty of playing time alongside sophomore point Tyler Lewis this upcoming season. Enter Anthony “Cat” Barber, who like his nickname, is known for a lightning quick, cat-like first step and deadly handles. Don’t be surprised if Barber outplays Lewis for the Wolfpack’s starting point guard spot.
6’8 200lbs SF
#33 Recruit in the 2013 Class
Known initially for being the 2nd cousin of former NBA great Allen Iverson, Kuran has worked hard on his game to become one of the best all around recruits in the incoming freshman class. He has been compared to Lamar Odom, as a player with length that can score, rebound, and pass the basketball on an elite level. Iverson may be one of coach Pastners’ lead scorers in their initial season in the new Big East Conference.
6’2 180lbs PG
#20 Prospect in 2013 Class
For as good as Michael Carter-Williams was last season, finishing 2nd in the nation in assists, the Canadian born Ennis may actually be an upgrade. Now that MCW is off playing in the NBA after his sophomore season, Ennis, the former AAU teammate of Andrew Wiggins will be given the reigns of coach Boeheim’s offense from day one. He may not be as good defensively as Williams but has a much better all around offensive game with game-takeover ability, and loves to play in an uptempo run-and-gun offensive style.
6’6 190lbs SG
#23 Prospect in 2013 Class
Not many outside of the West Coast knows much about the former AAU teammate of Aaron Gordon on the Oakland Soldiers, but Bird has the potential to be a one-and-done elite level talent as one of the nation’s best incoming scorers. His offensive skill set is arguably already NBA ready but needs to add some bulk to his rather thin frame, something which a Division I weight room should fix. With last season’s PAC-12 POY Allen Crabbe now in the NBA, Bird should slide right in as the Bears’ #1 option.
6’6 210lbs SF
#8 Prospect in 2013 Class
Almost a forgotten man on Kentucky’s loaded incoming freshman class that includes Julius Randle and the Harrison twins, Young would be a #1 option at almost any other school in the nation. He may be the best pure scorer on the Wildcat roster as a freshman, making him a potential one-and-done prospect as he tries to undoubtedly hone his skills into being an NBA player, potentially after just one season.
6’3 180lbs PG
#17 Prospect in 2013 Class
While most of the attention in the Philly area was focused on McDonald’s All American Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a prized incoming Arizona commit, it was Jordan that finished as Pennsylvania’s top ranked HS player this past season. The sky is the limit for the scoring point guard with size, that finishes above the rim. It looks like coach Steve Lavin finally has that elite PG to push the Red Storm into the Top 25 polls and contend for a Big East title.
6’5 220lbs SF
#14 Prospect in the 2013 Class
Much of the hype surrounding the Kansas program this Summer has been heaped upon prized prospect Andrew Wiggins, but coach Self has already gone on record as saying that Selden has been his most pleasant surprise so far in camp. He’s a bit undersized for SF,but he used his bulk well to overpower opposing players at the HS level. Look for the former HS teammate of Nerlens Noel to form one of the best 1-2 punches in the college game next season alongside Wiggins.
6’8 220lbs PF
#13 Prospect in the 2013 Class
Most scouts agree that the elite level forward has all of the tools to be a good NBA player but he still is growing into his rather large frame and must become more consistent on the collegiate level. When focused, he will hustle for every loose ball and could develop into one of the best players in the nation. Noah will get plenty of playing time for coach Crean with Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo now in the NBA.
6’10 195lbs PF
#12 Prospect in the 2013 Class
It’s unfortunate that Walker, whom some have already compared to a young Chris Bosh, could not qualify academically for the Fall semester with the Gators. All signs point to him focusing on fulfilling his academic burden in time to qualify by December, joining fellow incoming elite recruit PG Kasey Hill, for coach Donovan as Florida makes a push for the Final four this season.
6’11 230lbs C
#6 Prospect in the 2013 Class
Remember the name Embiid. While it may not mean much now, the elite level shot blocker will be one of the most domination big men in the college game this season. He still raw but is developing rapidly and takes over patrolling the painted area for the graduated Jeff Withey, now trying to make it in the NBA. Embiid will be joining his predecessor quickly, possibly after just one season.
6’5 210lbs PG
#5 Prospect in the 2013 Class
Coach Cal has a proven track record of sending his point guards rather quickly straight to the next level, so don’t blink, or you might miss one of the nation’s best floor generals in action next season. Harrison is already on most experts’ mock drafts as a bonafide Lottery pick because he has elite level size, passing ability, and scoring prowess at the PG position. He seems to have a knack for making the right pass at the right time and is a proven winner on the HS level.
6’8 230lbs SF
#4 Prospect in the 2013 Class
If you crave elite leaping ability, monster dunks, and ferocious intensity, Gordon may be your most favorite player to keep an eye on next season. The player that most scouts are touting as Blake Griffin 2.0, but with better handles, will be an instant impact player for coach Miller and the Cats as a freshman, as he chose to stay close to home to play his college ball on the West Coast. Being named MVP of the recent FIBA U-19 Tournament may just be the first of many upcoming accolades for the potential star at the next level.
6’8 230lbs SF
#2 Prospect in the 2013 Class
Before the onset of Andrew Wiggins mania, it was Parker that was initially touted as the best HS player since Lebron James. After a long recruiting process, coach K has prevailed, as Parker will immediately vault the Blue Devils into Final Four contention. He’s got the size and scoring prowess that reminds many of a young Carmelo Anthony and Duke fans are surely hoping he helps lead them to a National Title like Melo did at Syracuse back in 2003.
6’9 225lbs PF
#3 Prospect in the 2013 Class
As the gem of Coach Cal’s potential top recruiting class of all time, Randle will be the alpha male on a loading incoming freshman class that includes 6 of the Top 25 rated players in the nation. Randle is an immediate NCAA POY candidate and legit Lottery pick in next year’s NBA Draft. Randle is a bruising forward that can score from anywhere on the floor, rebound at an elite level, and finish better than almost any player in the nation. Could he have the same impact as former #1 Draft pick Anthony Davis in propelling the Wildcats to National Title #9?
6’7 205lbs SF
#1 Prospect in the 2013 Class
The prized prospect that has upwards of 10-15 NBA franchises in “Tank Mode” finally gets to show out in front of a national audience as the newest star of the Kansas Jayhawks. It is said that his vertical leap is immeasurable as he literally jumped higher than the Jayhawks could record and has already wowed fans by dunking on his teammates at practice. Although he’s still a bit thin, Wiggins is the total package, capable of scoring in bunches, outleaping his opponents for rebounds, and having a quicker first step and spin move than the defense can deny. The legend of Wiggins lives on as he should become a freshman 1st Team Preseason All American and the consensus pick as the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Get your popcorn ready…