College Basketball: Moe Harkless, Kyle Vinales, and the Top 5 Freshman Scorers

Jesse KramerCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2012

College Basketball: Moe Harkless, Kyle Vinales, and the Top 5 Freshman Scorers

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    The hype will always surround the McDonald's All-Americans—that's just the way it is.

    But amazingly, no McDonald's All-Americans are among the top five freshman scorers. Among the top five scorers, the highest ranked recruit was Tony Wroten, who was No. 17 according to ESPN. Moe Harkless was the only other ranked in the top 100.

    Continue reading for a closer look at the top five freshman scorers in Division I college basketball.

    *Follow Jesse Kramer on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer for more college basketball news and information.

Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State

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    Kyle Vinales leads all freshmen in scoring with 18.6 ppg, shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from three-point range. Vinales has been a perfect fit with seniors Ken Horton and Robby Ptacek, who average 20.4 ppg and 18.2 ppg, respectively.

    The "big three" at Central Connecticut State have led the Blue Devils to a 9-9 record, including a 6-2 start to NEC play.

    Vinales has scored in double digits in all but four games this season, and he has had eight games with 20 or more points, including a career-high 39 points in just 26 minutes of playing time against Niagara in the second game of the season.

    In addition to his scoring, he is averaging 3.5 assists per game, recording as many as seven in a single game. 

    If you have the chance to go to a Central Connecticut State game or watch one on television, you might not want to pass up the chance to see this trio perform. Fortunately, although Horton and Ptacek will graduate after this season, Vinales will still have three more years of eligibility. 

Juan'ya Green, Niagara

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    Juan'ya Green has cooled off after a torrid start, but his 17.6 ppg still stand at No. 2 in the MAAC and No. 2 among freshmen. He scored in double figures in each of his first 18 games, but he is only averaging 6.7 per game in his last three. 

    Green's two most dominant performances came against Fairfield and Saint Bonaventure. Against the Stags, he scored 35 points, his season-high, on 12-of-22 shooting. Against the Bonnies, he went for 32 on 10-of-17 shooting.

    Aside from scoring, Green is averaging 4.4 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game. In a single game, he has had as many as 11 assists and five steals.

    Green is part of an up-and-coming Niagara team whose core is made up of freshmen and sophomores, so he and the Purple Eagles could be getting some national recognition within the next couple of years.

Tony Wroten, Washington

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    Tony Wroten leads the Washington Huskies in scoring this year with 16.8 ppg. Despite struggling from beyond the arc (19.4 percent) and from the charity stripe (54.9 percent), he has remained an efficient scorer, shooting 48.3 percent from the field.

    The Seattle native did not have an outstanding start to the season—in his first seven games, he averaged 13 ppg. But since then, Wroten has been on fire, scoring in double figures in all but one of his last 12 games. During that stretch, he is averaging 19.1 ppg.

    Not only is Wroten one of the league leaders in scoring in the Pac-12, but he is also No. 2 in the conference in steals with two per game. He posted a career-high seven steals on January 5 against Colorado.

Stephan Hicks, Cal State Northridge

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    Stephan Hicks came out of the gate red hot—through his first four games, he was averaging 21 ppg. His most outstanding performance to date came in the second game of the season, when he posted 22 points and 17 rebounds against Hawaii.

    The redshirt freshman had scored in double digits in every game this season up until an eight-point performance against Cal Poly this past Saturday.

    Hicks' 15.9 ppg are currently No. 6 in the Big West, and he is No. 2 in the conference in free throw shooting at 81.1 percent.

    And despite being 6'5" he is a good rebounder, grabbing 7.2 boards per game. This season, he has recorded three double-doubles. 

Moe Harkless, St. John's

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    Moe Harkless is the future of St. John's basketball, along with fellow freshman D'Angelo Harrison (who just barely missed this list with 15.3 ppg). Harkless leads Big East freshmen in scoring and has scored in double digits in all but two games this year. He has also played up to his competition, scoring 17.5 ppg in conference play. His best performance came against Providence, when he scored 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting. 

    At 6'8", Harkless has good big man skills in addition to above-average ball-handling skills for someone his size. He has six double-doubles, recording as many as 16 rebounds in a game against Fordham. He has also had as many as four blocks in a single game.

    Harkless could be averaging a double-double in his sophomore season, and he will definitely be a Big East Player of the Year candidate before his career at St. John's is over.