NCAA Basketball: Top 10 Freshmen That Will Impact the SEC
NCAA Basketball: Top 10 Freshmen That Will Impact the SEC
The talk of the upcoming NCAA season has surrounded the impact that incoming freshmen will have all across the NCAA. Once again, the upcoming SEC season will focus on the Kentucky Wildcats and their incoming recruiting class. However, Kentucky isn’t the only team in the country with incoming young stars.
Top players not going to Kentucky or the SEC, like Duke's Jabari Parker and Kansas' Andrew Wiggins, have captured the headlines with Parker supposedly rumored to have held his own one-on-one with the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant and Wiggins actually being heralded by some as the next Durant. There hasn’t been a greater incoming group of freshmen into the NCAA in a long time.
The Wildcats have five – maybe six depending on what source you use – incoming 5-star recruits, which gives John Calipari the best incoming recruiting class once again. As a side effect of Kentucky’s continued 5-star success, the rest of the SEC has had to recruit better in order to compete.
The other SEC teams haven’t disappointed. Nearly every SEC team has signed at least a 4-star recruit for the upcoming season, and many have signed multiple 4 and 5 star athletes. The influx of young talent into the league will lead to fiercer competition and more upsets, which is a good thing for teams not named Kentucky and Florida.
With the spotlight on Kentucky, other SEC teams will be able to keep players at their school rather than losing them early to the NBA Draft. The more that Kentucky wins the recruiting battle, the more young athletes will opt to go to an SEC school that will play the Wildcats so they can prove their worth to NBA scouts. That competition is great for the conference as a whole.
Here is a list of the top 10 incoming freshmen this year that will make an impact in the SEC.
No. 10 Damian Jones - Vanderbilt University
Kevin Stallings isn’t the type of coach to bring in big name 5-star recruits, and Jones, like most of Vanderbilt’s roster is considered a 4-star recruit. However, there may not be a better coach in the country at taking players considered less talented than recruits from schools like Kentucky and Florida and coaching them to beat top teams.
Jones will get some playing time his freshman year and will be a top player in the SEC in two to three seasons.
No. 9 Sindarius Thornwell - South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina was bad last year; they need help offensively. Frank Martin is a great recruiter, and the shooting guard is his first big-time recruit with the Gamecocks. In a few seasons, Thornwell will be a major player in the SEC.
No. 8 Moses Kingsley - Arkansas Razorbacks
The Razorbacks are rebuilding under third year head coach Mike Anderson and need a talented center to compete in the SEC. Kingsley may have a lot more playing time as a freshman than he expects.
No. 7 Jordan Mickey - LSU Tigers
Mickey’s addition has been overshadowed by the potential of incoming freshman Jarrell Martin and returning Tigers’ star Johnny O’Bryant III, but he will make an immediate impact in the SEC. Opposing teams will be focusing on other LSU players which will allow Mickey to shine.
No. 6 Robert Hubbs - Tennessee Volunteers
Hubbs is just what the Volunteers need for the upcoming season. A majority of starters are returning along with the addition of Antonio Barton, a transfer from Memphis.
Hubbs plays like Tennessee star Jordan McRae and will be able to shine from off the bench this season. Nothing is more dangerous than a freshman that will want to be a starter.
Head Coach Cuonzo Martin is doing an outstanding job recruiting for the Volunteers.
No. 5 Bobby Portis - Arkansas Razorbacks
For the Razorbacks, Portis will be the player that they hope will take over for 2013 NBA Draft entry BJ Young. He has the talent and the offensive ability to take control of Arkansas. The Razorbacks are slowly turning into one of the more potentially dangerous teams in the SEC.
No. 4 Chris Walker - Florida Gators
Florida looks to come into next year and win the SEC championship after it was taken from them by the Ole Miss Rebels. Walker will make an immediate impact from off of the bench. You know a team is talented when a 5-star recruit is likely to be a key sixth or seventh man.
No. 3 Jarrell Martin - LSU Tigers
Jarrell Martin and Johnny O’Bryant III are going to be the second most dangerous players down-low in the SEC next season – Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon are better rebounders. However, Martin is going to surprise top teams and help to make LSU the dark horse candidate to win the SEC.
No. 2 Kasey Hill - Florida Gators
Kentucky’s recruits may get the spotlight, but Hill is just as talented as most of the Wildcats. Billy Donovan has been one of the best recruiters of point guards in the SEC, and Hill will not disappoint.
No. 1 All of the Kentucky Wildcats' Freshmen
Where do you start about who to watch on this team? Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, James Young, Aaron Harrison and Marcus Lee are all players that will be in the NBA in the next few years.
This recruiting class is talented enough to lead to another national championship for John Calipari. However, whether or not that is next year or in the future remains to be seen.
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