Freshman of the Year: Kentucky's Archie Goodwin debuts at No. 2

With Ryan Harrow out, Kentucky's Archie Goodwin has been impressive playing the point guard spot. (US Presswire)

After two weeks of the college basketball season, there were plenty of freshmen putting up great numbers. Not surprisingly, some of those players have seen their production take a dip since then. For the next few weeks, though, we’ll still see quite a few newcomers put up impressive stats -- until conference play, when players begin to hit the freshman wall and opponents key in on top options.

For now, Marcus Smart stays atop the rankings, as Oklahoma State is still undefeated and Smart is still very productive in every facet. Kentucky has three players worthy of consideration, but not all three could make the cut. We also have two new players in the top five -- with a handful of guys nipping at their heels.

As always, the Freshman of the Year rankings will be released on Tuesdays, along with the Player of the Year rankings. 

1. Marcus SmartOklahoma State
  Position: Point Guard

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 225

Season Stats: 13.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 5.8 APG, 2.4 SPG

Smart probably had his worst game of the season against Portland State, scoring just eight points and turning it over five times. However, he still managed to dish out nine assists in a 23-point Oklahoma State win. As a result, he remains at No. 1 --and will likely stay in this spot until another newcomer emerges as a more important part of his team’s success.
2. Archie GoodwinKentucky
  Position: Shooting Guard

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 198

Season Stats: 19.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.4 APG

Goodwin came into college known as an explosive wing scorer who could get to the basket on anyone and finish in a variety of ways. While that’s still true, we’ve seen Goodwin show excellent ability to handle the ball and play point guard. With Ryan Harrow away from the team, Goodwin really stepped up. He fell one rebound and one assist short of a triple-double against LIU Brooklyn and scored 28 points against Morehead State. From unranked to No. 2.
3. Anthony BennettUNLV
  Position: Power Forward

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 240

Season Stats: 19.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG

Bennett continues to put up impressive numbers despite the multitude of offensive options that UNLV possesses. He totaled 44 points and 17 rebounds in the past week, despite the Runnin’ Rebels losing to Oregon. An interesting thing to watch could be Khem Birch’s arrival at UNLV -- will Birch start and force Bennett into a different frontcourt role? Either way, Bennett will find ways to put up points.
4. Nerlens Noel – Kentucky
  Position: Center

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 228

Season Stats: 12.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.6 BPG, 3.6 SPG

Noel came into the season with expectations as a supreme shot-blocker -- and that’s been perhaps the least impressive of his season so far. He has been contributing across the board, including racking up steals at a high clip. Noel has been very solid on the glass and is scoring well in transition and around the rim. He needs to be more disciplined defensively; he’s allowing too many offensive boards.
5. Jahii CarsonArizona State
  Position: Point Guard

Ht: 5-10 Wt: 175

Season Stats: 21.0 PPG, 5.0 APG

Previously unranked, Carson’s big-time numbers are too good to ignore. He’s among the national leaders in scoring, and is also dishing out dimes at a high clip. Over the last three games, he has been to the free-throw line 36 times and is averaging 26.7 points. And it’s not just against bad competition, either: in a loss to Creighton, Carson went for 30 points, seven assists and four steals.

Others to Note:

  • Two players dropped out of the rankings from last week. Isaiah Austin, slotted at No. 4, was up and down in Baylor’s surprising loss to Charleston, going for 12 points and five rebounds before fouling out. Michigan State’s Gary Harris dropped from No. 5 after news emerged he will miss up to three weeks with a shoulder injury.
  • Kentucky’s Alex Poythress could make a case for being the third Wildcat in the top five, boosting his season averages to 18.4 points and 7.4 rebounds. Totaled 42 points in two games last week.
  • Just like in high school, Colorado’s Josh Scott is flying under the radar. Coming off a 20-point, seven-rebound performance against Air Force, Scott is now averaging 13.8 points and 5.4 boards for the undefeated Buffaloes.
  • After missing the opener with an illness and struggling against Butler, Xavier’s Semaj Christon has come into his own. 17.3 points and 6.3 assists in last four games.
  • Houston native Damyean Dotson has made an immediate impact at Oregon, going for 19 points and multiple clutch shots in an upset of UNLV.
  • Texas Tech’s Josh Gray is doing a great job at filling the stat sheet. The most impressive part? Averaging 4.0 steals per game.
  • Brice Johnson has been extraordinarily productive for North Carolina. In fewer than 14 minutes per game, he’s putting up nearly nine points and five boards.
  • High Point’s John Brown has been putting up some major numbers, but he’s been held to 10 or fewer points in two of his last three games. Still scoring better than 18 per game.
  • Only one freshman is currently averaging a double-double: Longwood's Michael Kessens, is averaging 13.5 points and 10.8 rebounds.
  • Other non-BCS freshmen to note: James Woodard, Tulsa; Lester Wilson, East Tennessee State; Dewayne Russell, Northern Arizona; Jimmy Hall, Hofstra; Tim Williams, Samford. 
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