The likelihood of this year’s incoming freshman class to the Big 12 being as impactful and as talented as last season’s is a long shot to say the least. Last year’s class featured names like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, who could quite possibly follow each other as the first two overall picks in the upcoming NBA Draft. Along with the superstar potential of Wiggins and Embiid, Wayne Selden Jr. of Kansas could have been a lottery pick while Isaiah Taylor of Texas played with a colossal chip on his shoulder after a lowly recruitment and now enters his sophomore season as a reasonable choice for the NCAA’s best point guard.
Overall, the Big 12 was simply loaded with freshman talent and potential. As for the upcoming 2014-15 season, outside of the No. 2 recruit Myles Turner of the Longhorns and the No. 3 recruit Cliff Alexander of Kansas, there don’t seem to be too many incoming freshman who can make an impact worthy of comparison to how last season’s freshmen panned out.
As for Turner and Alexander, who will undoubtedly have the highest expectations and highest ceiling during their inaugural season in college hoops, the possibility of living up to the hype set before them is much more complicated than most would assume given their high school rankings. For Alexander, Perry Ellis should be the sure bid to secure the starting power forward role, and unless Cliff can slide over and be just as dominant from the center position, his potential impact as a freshman should suffer as a result.
For Turner on the other hand, his versatility will become a huge benefit towards the impact he will have at Texas, but with the depth of the Longhorns’ frontcourt, he will lose minutes to some very worthy teammates unless he is much better than we already know he can be. Not to single Turner and Alexander out, but in comparison to the elite talent of last year’s Big 12 newcomers, they will have a tough time filling their shoes.
And as for the freshmen as a unit, the depth of talent just isn’t as vast. For example, although both the 2013 and 2014 freshmen alike featured three future Big 12 players in the McDonald’s All-American game, the talent level and depth of Wiggins’ class was superior to this year’s class. Outside of the All-Americans, the 2013 class featured 13 of the ESPN 100 recruits. Compare that to only six in the 2014 ESPN 100, which proves to be far less stacked and the numbers can’t be any clearer.
Again, just as Isaiah Taylor showed us all last season, you can never truly predict how impactful a recruit will be and I could easily be wrong about how special this class could be. But as for the numbers, the 2014 freshman fade in comparison to 2013.