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-Big East:
1. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Adams is the highest ranked incoming freshman in all of the Big East this season, and might already be the most talented big man Jamie Dixon’s ever coached/recruited. A legit 7-footer with great athleticism, Adams will be tough to guard and keep off the glass, but his lack of experience against high-level talent cannot be overlooked. Coming from New Zealand, Adams has only played against top-notch American talent in summer camps and postseason all-star games. His size and skill will still make him a very hot commodity not just in the Big East, but in all of college basketball, and teamed with freshman point guard James Robinson, Pitt basketball should be on its way back to the top.
2. DaJuan Coleman, Syracuse
Coleman is the essential college basketball big man. Sitting somewhere between 6’8-6’9, Coleman weighs near 300 pounds and is an absolute animal under the basket. Coleman combines soft hands, strength, and a knack for taking contact to be a great finisher and an even better rebounder. While it’s difficult to fill in for an NBA bound center, Coleman will make ‘Cuse fans and Jim Boheim alike forget about Fab Melo, and will compliment returnees James Southerland and Rakeem Christmas, as well as fellow freshman forward (and son of Harvey Grant) Jerami Grant to make for a gritty and deep front court. Boheim may have lost a few of his best players to the NBA, but his team is still in great shape for this season thanks to the big freshmen.
3. Ricardo Ledo, Providence
Providence has a great recruiting class for this season headlined by point guard Kris Dunn and shooting guard Ricardo Ledo. Unfortunately for Ed Cooley’s bunch, Dunn suffered a shoulder injury training with the USA Under-18 team several weeks ago and may miss the entire season. While the Friars would have been incredibly dangerous with a three-headed monster in the back court, teaming Ledo with 2012 Big East third-team selection Vincent Council will still give them one of the better duos in the conference. However, Ledo remains ineligible at the moment, but if Dunn can recover from his injury and the this guard can receive NCAA clearance, then the Friars will certainly not be an easy out this season.
4. Omar Calhoun – Connecticut
It wasn’t all too long ago that Jim Calhoun and the state of Connecticut relied on a guard from the Bronx to bring them to the promise-land. Well NCAA sanctions may not allow that story to be repeated this year, but if freshman guard Omar Calhoun decides to hone his game in Storrs for more than one season, he could be the Huskies’ next savior. Less of a Kemba Walker, the 6-5 shooting guard has great touch from both deep and mid-range, and will follow in the steps of Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, and Ben Gordon as NBA-type guards to play for Calhoun. He and Shabazz Napier should make for one of the better back courts in the Big East.
5. Ryan Arcidiocono, Villanova
Although he’s coming off back surgery, Ryan Arcidiocono is one of the best point guards in this year’s freshman class, and will provide Villanova with the best replacement that they could’ve hoped for with Maalik Wayns gone. He’ll team with fellow ESPN-100 prosepect (#54) Daniel Ochefu to try and bring Jay Wright’s bunch back to Big East prominence. Arcidiocono has a great touch from deep, but also knows how to get to the basket and finish, and might even be better on the defensive end of the game. He’s as complete of a product as any coach can hope for out of his freshman point guard, and again, if he’s healthy, he’ll contribute and most likely lead the Wildcats back to Big East relevance.
Other Freshmen to Watch in the Big East: Jerami Grant, Syracuse. Kris Dunn, Providence (sidelined with shoulder injury). Montrezl Harrell, Louisville. James Robinson, Pittsburgh. Daniel Ochefu, Villanova. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown. Cameron Biedschied, Notre Dame. Stephen Domingo, Georgetown.