In preparation for the 2012-13 season, the college basketball staff here at Rant Sports will be running through a number of player and team breakdowns from now until the start of the season.
The college basketball season is quickly approaching and with it comes the debut of some of the highly regarded freshmen of the 2012 class.
We’ll now take a look at the Top 5 Freshmen to Watch in the Pac-12 heading into the 2012 season.
No. 5 PF Brandon Ashley (Arizona)- Ashley was rated as the third best power forward in the nation and one of the top players in the state of California. He decided to go out of state to resume his basketball career and he should immediately make an impact. At 6-foot-8 he has a large frame with great length. He has good quickness, bounce and great timing to affect shots around the basket. Ashley has solid foot speed that allows him to make quick post moves down on the block to shed defenders. His range extends to around 17 feet and his shot has a nice touch. If he plays up to his potential and gives full effort he can make an immediate impact this season with the Wildcats.
No. 4 PF Grant Jerrett (Arizona)- Jerrett is rapidly improving and as a hybrid 4 man he has the potential to play any one of the forward positions. Like Ashley, Jerrett has tremendous length, broad shoulders and poses as a formidable foe at 6-foot-10. He has great range in his shot and can step out and hit the three with consistency. When he’s down on the block he is able to score with both hands and has solid footwork for someone his age. One other plus is his passing ability out of the post.
No. 3 SF Kyle Anderson (UCLA)- Anderson is listed as a small forward but he has the ability to play all three perimeter positions. He poses as a match-up problem due to his size, 6-foot-7 and his ability to consistently hit mid range jumpers. While he isn’t the quickest player on the court he has the ability to change directions and play the angles to be effective. He has recently added a post game in order to take advantage of his size differential over smaller guards. Anderson finishes down the lane with the best in the country and will be very effective in the pick and roll.
No. 2 C Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona)- At 7 feet Tarczewski is a true center that has tremendous upside. He is able to run the floor very well and has great mobility for a player of his size. He’s a powerful finisher around the rim and can score with either hand down on the block. He affects shots around the rim with his length and is immovable down low. He has room for improvement and has shown that he can progress quickly from his high school days.
No. 1 SF Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA)- Muhammad is the second best recruit in the 2012 class and rounds out the top 5 Pac 12 freshmen for next season. He is potent in the open floor and finishes at the rim with power. He is very sound in the half court sets and is virtually unstoppable within 15 feet of the rim. He can easily elevate over defenders and utilizes a two-dribble pull up to score outside of the block. His range extends to the three-point line but he is much more comfortable with mid-range jumpers. He is a lock down defender on the block and has great quickness to recover after a mistake. The thing that makes Muhammad such a great prospect is his tremendous athletic ability and his will to win. He will be an instant star for UCLA and should compete for, if not win, the Pac 12 freshmen of the year.
Name to Remember: C Josh Scott (Colorado)- The highest rated recruit for Tad Boyle and the Buffs should quickly become a star in Boulder. He has tremendous ability on the low post but also passes well out of double teams. He runs the floor extremely well and will serve well in Boyle’s up-tempo offense. He has the ability to size up defenders and has solid mid-range game for a center. Scott’s versatility, length and athleticism make him an intriguing prospect. Although not many people have heard of him, he will soon be a household name.
The Pac 12 is in need of a bounce back season after being one of the weaker power conferences in the country a year ago. But with these six guys, the Pac 12 will have no trouble getting back to their usual prestige.