Much of the hype has been centered on the rather size-able group of freshmen like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle.
But just focusing on the fabulous freshmen would be a mistake as several other players have been making size-able contributions in the early going.
Several of these prospects are on the rise with their stocks going through the roof through the first month of the college season.
Don’t forget names like Creighton’s Doug McDermott, UCLA’s Zach LaVine, and UConn’s Shabazz Napier when considering players whose stock is sky high in December.
Check out 10 Players Whose Stock Is On the Rise for December….
6’8 235lbs Sophomore
13.3 ppg, 9.1 reb, 1.4 stl, .638 FG%
After starring on the U-19 USA Basketball squad this Summer, Harrell has been a pleasant surprise this season for the Cardinals. Although a tad undersized, he more than makes up for it with a 7’4 wingspan and a ferociousness around the rim that reminds many of Kenneth Faried. Don’t be surprised if Harrell moves from a fringe 1st Rounder to a borderline Lottery pick by season’s end.
6’10 240lbs Freshman
12.8 ppg, 10 reb, 1.3 stl, 1.1 blk, .528 FG%
With the loss of frontcourt players Cody Zeller and Christian Watford from last season, coach Crean has had to rely heavily on a number of youngsters, most namely Vonleh. He isn’t always included in the same vain as Wiggins, Parker, and Randle, but maybe he should be. He is skyrocketing up draft boards because of a motor that doesn’t quit and he’s averaging a legit double-double on the season, wrapped in an NBA ready 6-10 frame. He’s already being talked about as a fringe Lottery selection.
6’9 215lbs Sophomore
13.1 ppg, 5.9 reb, 1.9 ast, .520 FG%
After getting limited minutes last season, the son of former NBA player Harvey Grant and nephew of Horace Grant, finally is showing just how good of a player he can become. He came out in a big way at the Maui Invitational, averaging 16 points and 5 boards, being named to the All Tournament Team. He’s an extremely athletic combo forward in the mold of Thaddeus Young who could sneak into the Lottery with continued improvement on his offensive game.
6’8 230lbs Senior
25.3 ppg, 6.9 reb, .503 FG%, .453 3PT%. .867 FT%
For the 3rd straight season, the senior forward is among the top scorers in the nation. Unbelievably, he has appeared to be even better than last season when he earned his 2nd consecutive NCAA All American nod. He’s already scored 30 or more in 4 games this season, including a 37 point gem against UMKC. Some scouts say he’s either the next Dirk Nowitzki or Kyle Korver……..quite the stretch, but some think that with a great finish to the season he could contend for a Top 10 selection.
6’1 190lbs Senior
16.4 ppg, 5.3 ast, 3.1 reb, .541 FG%, .483 3PT%
The knock on Appling has always been his lack of a consistent jumpshot and an inability to distribute the basketball. He seems to have worked hard on both fronts, increasing his shooting percentages across the board and averaging a career high in assists. Being on one of the top teams in the nation may hurt his stock a bit, competing with Gary Harris and Adrien Payne, but Appling is looking like a legit 1st Rounder and potential back-up PG at the next level.
6’5 185lbs Freshman
14.2 ppg, 2.7 reb, 2.1 ast, 1 stl, .605 FG%, .500 3PT%
One of the fastest rising players in the early going is UCLA freshman Zach LaVine. Those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching the ultra athletic swingman, who regularly gets compared to former Bruin Russell Westbrook with a touch of Stephen Curry’s shooting, he is on par to be a Top 5 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. But if he continues to improve, look for him to be a lock in this season’s Lottery.
7’0 245lbs Sophomore
9.1 ppg, 7.7 reb, 4.3 blk, .617 FG%
After filling in admirably during the 2nd half of last season for eventual Lottery pick Nerlens Noel, who went down with an unfortunate knee injury, the former tw0 sport star has developed nicely into one of the top shot-blockers in the nation. Following up a stellar freshman campaign where he blocked 2.1 per game, he’s among the nation’s leaders, swatting 4.3 shots per contest this season, including 18 blocks over his last 2 games. Look for WCS to be a mainstay in the Lottery conversation all season long.
6’8 235lbs Freshman
22.1 ppg, 7.1 reb, 1.6 blk, 1.1 stl, .548 FG%, .467 3PT%
In most scouts’ eyes, Parker has surpassed both Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle as the most NBA ready prospect in the college game right now. He’s an unstoppable offensive force in the mold of Carmelo Anthony and has shown a tad more athleticism than expected. Can he have the same impact at Duke that Carmelo had at Syracuse back in 2003? Parker has scored 20 or more points in 7 of his first 9 games and is an absolute Top 3 lock come next June.
6’4 225lbs Sophomore
19.7 ppg, 4.9 reb, 3.8 ast, 2.9 stl, .463 FG%, .346 3PT%
By virtue of a nationally televised 39 point performance against Top 15 ranked Memphis earlier this year, Smart has firmly planted himself in the running for a Top 5 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. It appears as if he has improved his perimeter shooting, a perceived weakness last season, and is arguably the best man defender in college basketball outside of Ohio State’s Aaron Craft. He reminds many of a young Dwyane Wade but with an even stronger will to win, with outstanding leadership capabilities. Smart is the one upper classmen that could unseat one of the fabulous freshmen for the #1 pick come June.
7’0 250lbs Freshman
8.9 ppg, 6.6 reb, 2.1 blk, .640 FG%
Undoubtedly the fastest rising player in December has been freshman center Joel Embiid, who has remarkably already been compared to the great Hakeem Olajuwon, despite only playing basketball since the age of 16. The former volleyball and soccer star from Cameroon won’t blow you away with stats because he still plays behind senior Tarik Black in coach Self’s starting line-up but has already had a 16 point, 13 board game and another where he blocked 7 shots. Keep a close eye on Embiid throughout the rest of the season as he seems to get better with each passing game, making him a viable candidate for the #1 pick in June.