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.
Another year is approaching and so too are the debuts of many highly-regarded freshmen.
Let’s take a look a look at the Top 5 Freshmen to Watch-ACC, heading into the 2012-13 season:
No. 5: T.J. Warren (North Carolina State)- Head coach Mark Gottfried has a loaded recruiting class coming to Raleigh, but fellow freshman Rodney Purvis has yet to be cleared by the NCAA. The Wolfpack have a roster that’s capable of winning the ACC in 2012-13, but if Purvis remains ineligible, then Warren and freshman Tyler Lewis will need to step up and add quality minutes and depth to North Carolina State’s rotation. The good news is, they are all capable of doing just that, especially this 6-foot-7 wing who has all the tools to be a dynamic threat as the season continues.
No. 4: Amile Jefferson (Duke)- Jefferson made his collegiate decision late last spring, becoming a key component for the Blue Devils’ class. At 6-foot-7, Jefferson is among on of the top power forward prospects in the country, and his presence inside will certainly help Coach K’s front court rotations. Jefferson’s size and feel for the game gives him a very good opportunity at a bright future within the ACC.
No. 3: Rodney Purvis (North Carolina State)- A former Louisville-commit, Purvis chose to remain home at North Carolina State after re-opening his recruitment in high school. However, issues involving his eligibility due to the high school he attended leaves Wolfpack fans on the fence and awaiting word from the NCAA. Purvis has all the talent to instantly impact N.C. State, so if good news is on the horizon then this 6-foot-4 guard will undoubtedly be among the ones to watch in the conference this year.
No. 2: Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke)- Austin Rivers has left for the NBA and sophomore guard Quinn Cook can expect a larger role in 2012-13. However, Sulaimon is among one of the top recruits in the country and his ability to impact the Blue Devils’ rotation will be key in terms of their back court success. Sulaimon will have weapons around him, including a veteran presence with Seth Curry, but at 6-foot-3, this Texas-native will certainly be one to keep an eye on.
No. 1: Marcus Paige (North Carolina)- Head coach Roy Williams lost a lot of talent to the NBA Draft this past off-season, but the Tar Heels should once again be competing among the league’s elite. With no more Kendall Marshall at the point, Paige will instantly his have expectations in Chapel Hill. However, this 6-foot-1 guard has all the tools to handle those expectations and succeed immediately at North Carolina. Tar Heel fans will learn to quickly love Paige’s ability and like Marshall, he just so happens to be left-handed.
Other Freshmen to Watch in the ACC: Robert Carter (Georgia Tech), Brice Johnson (North Carolina), Shaquille Cleare (Maryland), Tyler Lewis (North Carolina State), Justin Anderson (Virginia), Evan Nolte (Virginia), Montay Brandon (Florida State), Joel James (North Carolina), Marcus Hunt (Georgia Tech), J.P. Tokoto (North Carolina), Codi Miller-McIntyre (Wake Forest), Mike Tobey (Virginia), Jaron Blossomgame (Clemson)
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