We’re now one month into the season, so it’s time to start taking a look at all the best freshmen in the country – not just the top 20 players in the class of 2011 as we’ve been doing. From now on, we will be ranking the top 10 freshmen in the country in order to determine who’s where in the Freshman of the Year race. We will also mention a few other guys to keep an eye on throughout the season. It will be released on Thursdays, in conjunction with Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year column.
1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky: He might not have the best scoring numbers of any freshman, but he’s a tremendous rebounder and he’s going to set plenty of shot-blocking records.
2. Cody Zeller, Indiana: Zeller is doing a little bit of everything and is the primary reason the Hoosiers are off to an 8-0 start. How will he handle going against UK’s fresh faces on Saturday?
3. Brad Beal, Florida: Beal might have been No. 1 if not for his struggles the past two games. He shot 6-for-18 in his last two contests, totaling 16 points. Rebounding very well for his position.
4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky: Might be the best all-around frosh in the country; he just does so much at both ends of the floor. Had the most impressive performance in the UK-UNC game.
5. Austin Rivers, Duke: While people continue to nitpick at his weaknesses, Rivers just continues to score. Averaged 17.3 points per game against Ohio State, Kansas and Michigan.
6. Quincy Miller, Baylor: Miller missed one game with an injury, and has also seen his minutes and opportunities decrease since Perry Jones III became eligible. Still finding ways to score.
7. B.J. Young, Arkansas: Young has been very efficient, shooting 50 percent from both the field and from 3-point range. He had five 3-pointers and 28 points against Connecticut.
8. Moe Harkless. St. John’s: It’s only fitting that the player who started St. John’s recruiting class is playing the best so far. Harkless has back-to-back double-doubles, and is blocking shots.
9. LaDontae Henton, Providence: Perhaps the most surprising freshman in the BCS conferences. In his last four games, Henton is averaging 17.5 points and 8.8 rebounds – in 38.5 minutes.
10. Justin Edwards, Maine: We might use this spot to highlight under-the-radar guys. Going into Wednesday, Edwards was the top freshman scorer in the country, averaging 20.2. He also was picking up 3.2 steals, second overall nationally.
- Keep an eye on Connecticut’s Ryan Boatright. Through two games, he’s averaging 18.5 points and 4.5 assists – can he keep that up?
- In addition to Edwards, there are some other high-scoring frosh to watch from smaller conferences. Central Connecticut State's Kyle Vinales was averaging 20.0 heading into Wednesday. Niagara’s Juan’ya Green is averaging 19.5 per game, while Campbell’s Trey Freeman (17.0) and UNC-Wilmington’s Adam Smith (17.9) are also lighting it up.
- If Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant continues to play like he is, we might have to consider a redshirt freshman for the list. He’s averaging 14.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
- The best rebounding freshmen not on the list are Louisville’s Chane Behanan (8.9) and Virginia Tech’s Dorian Finney-Smith (9.4). Behanan could make the list soon.
- Other ones who just missed include Trey Burke (Michigan), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia), Myck Kabongo (Texas), Tony Wroten (Washington), Rodney Hood (Mississippi State), Jordan Tolbert (Texas Tech), Thomas Gipson (Kansas State) and Kendall Anthony (Richmond).
Photo: US Presswire