College basketball preview: Top 20 under-the-radar freshmen
USF center John Egbunu is among the less heralded newcomers who will make an impact on college basketball in 2013-14.
We know all about the McDonald's All-Americans whose names appear in bold print as soon as they set foot on a college campus (and often before). Eye on College Basketball's Jeff Borzello covered many of those. But what about some hidden first-year players that could have an impact? Check out the list below for 20 under-the-radar freshman entering the 2013-14 season. In no particular order...
Marcus Allen , G, Stanford Cardinal : Don't be surprised if Allen is Johnny Dawkins' first guard off the bench. A terrific athlete, the 6-3 freshman has the potential to be a terrific defender who can also make plays on offense with his athleticism. Stanford needed more bounce on the perimeter and Allen will add just that.
Josh Newkirk , G, Pittsburgh Panthers : Lightning quick floor general has been mightily impressive since arriving in the Steel City. Like a cheetah when he gets into the open floor, Newkirk could allow James Robinson to slide off the ball in spurts during the Panthers' first season in the ACC.
Jordan Burgess , F, VCU Rams : Strong, tough, and downright nasty, Burgess has been itching to get on the court after redshirting last season. While his brother Bradford was a lights out shooter for the Rams, this Burgess is straight enforcer. Opponents may think VCU has a linebacker playing small forward when they get a taste of this 6-5 wing, who is physically capable to play some power forward if Shaka Smart opts to play small.
Calvin Hermanson , F, St. Mary's Gaels : 6-6 forward was a two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year in Oregon. Skilled and fundamentally sound, Hermanson has an excellent chance to be an immediate starter for the Gaels.
Sebastian Saiz , F, Ole Miss Rebels : Andy Kennedy is already raving about Saiz's motor and drive. The Rebels need to replace both Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner up front and Saiz looks like the guy that will step in. The 6-9 freshman was very productive this past summer for Spain's U19 team at the FIBA World Championship.
Hassan Martin, F Rhode Island: An incredible athlete, Martin is up to 230 pounds and should be an immediate factor for Dan Hurley's team. Expect to see a lot of the 6-7 freshman alongside Rutgers transfer Gilvydas Biruta in the Rams front court this season.
Peter Jok, G, Iowa Hawkeyes : The Hawkeyes desperately need outside shooting and that's what Fran McCaffery is hoping Jok will provide. At 6-6, Jok possesses good size for a wing and scored the ball effectively during Iowa's foreign trip this summer. He may have a ways to go defensively, but teams are going to have to guard Jok if he's on the floor because of his penchant for putting the ball in the basket.
Jon Severe , G, Fordham Rams : A high-level scorer, Severe was a major get for Tom Pecora and the Rams. Rated last year as the top player in New York State, the 6-2 combo guard should average close to double figures in his first season of college basketball. Think another Bryce Cotton .
Dakarai Allen , G/F, San Diego State Aztecs : Long and athletic, the 6-5 Allen will give Steve Fisher another athlete that can guard multiple positions defensively. A terrific finisher in the open court, Allen will be lethal in transition and on the break.
<strong>DeAndre Bembry, F,</strong> <team idref= : A do-everything forward that always seems to be around the ball, Bembry looks like he could be the missing piece for Phil Martelli's team. The Hawks have had great talent over the past two seasons, but they haven't had a player that possessed these types of intangibles. At 6-6, Bembry will likely start at small forward for Saint Joseph's.
John Egbunu, C, South Florida Bulls " data-canon="Florida Gators" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0">: The Bulls needed to address their lack of size, and Egbunu should an instant starter at center. At 6-10 and 230 pounds, Egbunu is raw offensively but he's still capable of dunking anything that's even remotely close to the basket. South Florida will also protect the rim better than they did last year with Egbunu in the pivot.
Myles Davis , G, Xavier Musketeers : An elite shooter, Davis will immediately improve the Musketeers' spacing on the offensive side of the floor. A year older after red shirting last season, the 6-2 Davis should complement the penetration ability of both SemajChriston and freshman Brandon Randolph .
Dustin Thomas , F, Colorado Buffaloes : Late signee is undersized at 6-7 but brings instant toughness. Tad Boyle will lean on Thomas and red shirt freshman Wesley Gordon to replace Andre Roberson on the interior for the Buffaloes, who should be one of the better teams in the Pac-12. The underrated thing about Thomas? He made 48% of his three-point shots in high school.
Jordan Woodard , G, Oklahoma Sooners : A traditional floor general, Woodard brings winning experience after capturing two state titles in high school. Look for Lon Kruger to use both Woodard and sophomore Je'lon Hornbeak at point guard during the upcoming season for the Sooners.
Geno Thorpe , G, Penn State Nittany Lions : Wired to score from the moment he takes the floor, the 6-3 Thorpe could be a valuable reserve for the Nittany Lions. Most of the talk surrounding the Penn State backcourt centers around Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill , but Thorpe should take a seat at the table before this season is over.
Josh Brown , G, Temple Owls : Fran Dunphy isn't known for playing freshmen, but he's not going to have a choice with Brown. A pit bull in every sense of the word, Brown is going to be an absolute nuisance to play against because of his ferocity. The 6-3 freshman should immediately become one of the better on-ball defenders in the AAC.
Tim Quarterman , G, LSU Tigers : Wiry guard has great size at 6-6 and can play multiple positions. Quarterman has an "Evan Turner" type feel to his game and possesses the ability to have an major impact for LSU. This was an unsung piece to Johnny Jones' elite recruiting class.
Egor Koulechov , F, Arizona State Sun Devils : The game never gets too fast for this 6-5 native of Russia. Possessing a high IQ and terrific feel, Koulechov always seems to make the simple play. This could very well be Herb Sendek's starting small forward before Michigan State transfer Brandan Kearney is eligible in December.
: Cuonzo Martin loves this freshman floor general. At 6-4, Thompson has good size and can guard multiple positions defensively. Expect to see a lot of Thompson and Antonio Barton on the floor together, especially in end of game situations.
Scoochie Smith , G, Dayton Flyers : New York City native may immediately get the keys to the car for the Flyers. At 6-2 Smith has great size for a point guard along with a maturity that extends beyond his years. This was a terrific get for Archie Miller, who should have one of the more improved teams in the Atlantic 10.
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