Top 10 Freshmen in College Basketball — Week 9 Edition
Top 10 Freshmen in College Basketball -- Week 9 Edition
Here we are at the ninth installment of the Top 10 Freshmen in College Basketball, and we are starting to see a certain few players cement their names on the list. We have already named the No. 1 spot in these rankings after Jabari Parker. Seriously, from this point forward any college freshman that has a spectacular season will be known has having a "Jabari Parker." He has been unreal, even after a few bumps in the road this past week.
Parker saw his first bit of adversity this week, but fellow frosh Andrew Wiggins continues to struggle with production versus hype. On paper he is having a very good season, especially for a freshman. In most seasons he would be considered the top freshman, but his wildly inconsistent play coupled with Parker and Julius Randle as well as Wiggins' preseason hype leaves all fans a little bummed with the results. Wiggins will still be no worse than third in the upcoming NBA Draft based mainly on potential, but from what we have seen so far there is plenty of reason to be skeptical.
Wiggins has been outplayed the past three weeks by teammate and fellow freshman Joel Embiid. Embiid is a relatively new basketball player -- he has only been playing for a few years -- but he improves every week. Every single game you watch him play you will notice something new in his game. His growth has been amazing, but it also points out the complacency that we see in Wiggins.
Speaking of complacency, the top-10 has leveled out some thanks to a slow past two weeks due to holiday break for most schools. For the most part this list has the same list of characters just in a different order. Bobby Portis makes the top-10 for only the second time all season, and we have the return of Zach LaVine.
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10. Zach LaVine
LaVine is back in the top-10 for the first time in three weeks. He had a bit of a drop off over the past few weeks, but he found his groove this past week against USC. LaVine had his first double-digit scoring night (16 points) since Dec. 14, and he also added four assists and three rebounds. LaVine has loads of talent, and if he can be more consistent he will be a permanent member of the top-10. (Last week: NR)
9. Noah Vonleh
Vonleh had the second-worst game of his career this week (five points and nine rebounds) against the strong front line of Michigan State. He is still having one of the best freshman seasons with 11.8 points per game and 9.5 rebounds, but single-digit scoring performances in four of his last six games is not looking very good. (Last week: 7)
8. Bobby Portis
Portis made his debut in the ranking last week, and with so few games he made the most of his one opportunity. Portis led Arkansas over UT-San Antonio with a perfect shooting night -- 8-for-8 from the field -- and 19 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and three assists. He has pushed his season averages up to 12.8 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game. (Last week: 10)
7. Aaron Gordon
Gordon had a Jekyll and Hyde week with one bad game against Washington St. (five points and 10 rebounds) and one good game versus Washington (18 points and 11 rebounds). Gordon shows flashes of why he is considered a top talent, but being more consistent is something he needs to do to improve his draft stock along with being more influential for Arizona. (Last week: 8)
6. Andrew Wiggins
There is no doubt that Wiggins is one of the most talented players in this year's class, but he has struggled. I don't think it has to do with all the hype either. Sure, his player efficiency rating (PER) is 20.3 and he is averaging 15.8 points per game, but he is only shooting 45.2 percent from the field. A player who outclasses most players on the court in athleticism can get any shot he wants. It appears that Wiggins doesn't really want to get better shots, though. (Last week: 6)
5. Joel Embiid
Embiid is exactly what you want to see from a freshman -- progression every week. This week he had 12 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in Kansas' only game. He won't be the first freshman from his own team drafted, but the work he has put in is showing and will definitely improve his draft stock. (Last week: 4)
4. Jordan Mickey
LSU was one of the few teams that played multiple games over the past week; unfortunately for them they lost both. Neither of the losses could be pinned on Mickey, who continued his amazing freshman season. In two games Mickey totaled 35 points on 17-of-25 shooting, grabbed eight boards, blocked nine shots and had four steals. Other than the poor rebounding numbers, he had a stellar week. (Last week: 5)
3. Tyler Ennis
Syracuse is still undefeated, and Ennis continues to be one of the main reasons why. In two games this week he tossed in 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting, 14 assists, four steals and only three turnovers. He has yet to have a game with more than two turnovers, and for the season he has a assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.7:1. (Last week: 3)
2. Julius Randle
Randle did not have a game last week. If he had played and played well, he probably would have overtaken Jabari Parker for the top spot. Randle will not be moved down based on playing zero games this week, though, as his season-to-date is incredible (8.1 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game.) (Last week: 2)
1. Jabari Parker
Parker faced his first bit of adversity this season when Mike Krzyzewski benched him late in the Notre Dame game. Parker was having an off night -- only making 2-of-10 shots -- but he was particularly bad on defense. That won't fly with Coach K. The surprising part was Parker had another bad outing the following night against Georgia Tech (4-of-12 for 12 points). This isn't what we have come to expect from Parker. Here's hoping he breaks out of this funk soon. (Last week: 1)