College Basketball's 5 Most Electric Freshmen to Watch in 2012-13

Alexander Smith@RealAlexSmith19Correspondent INovember 6, 2012

College Basketball's 5 Most Electric Freshmen to Watch in 2012-13

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    Since the NBA stopped allowing high school players to jump straight to the NBA, college basketball has enjoyed the luxury of having the most explosive young athletes play in their ranks. Each year, freshmen such as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Kevin Durant have brought excitement and fervor to the college game through their dynamic play and highlight-reel heroics.

    This year is no different. The 2012-13 freshman class is filled with several high-flying playmakers with the potential to make jaw-dropping plays at any moment. Here is a video slideshow of five freshmen whose athleticism and electric performances will find their way onto your television screen this season.

Honorable Mention

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    These guys may not have made the top five, but they're well worth watching in the season ahead (click on their names to see highlights):

    Isaiah Austin, Baylor

    Kyle Anderson, UCLA

    Alex Poythress, Kentucky

    Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

5. Rodney Purvis, North Carolina State

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    A Raleigh native, 6'4" Rodney Purvis will look to use his explosive scoring ability to help bring his hometown NC State Wolfpack back to the Sweet 16 in 2012.  

    Purvis will team up with last season's leading scorer C.J. Leslie as NC State comes into the year with sky-high expectations and a No. 6 ranking in the Associated Press preseason poll.

4. Glenn Robinson III, Michigan

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    The name might sound familiar, as his father Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson starred at Purdue in the early 1990s before becoming the top pick in the 1994 NBA draft.

    While he has a lot to live up to, Glenn Robinson III's attacking style of play has the potential to make a big splash this season. In 2012-13 Robinson will bring his 36-inch vertical to Michigan, where he looks to help John Beilein and the Wolverines advance deep into the NCAA tournament.

3. Anthony Bennett, UNLV

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    Anthony Bennett may hail from Ontario, Canada, but he made his name known playing high school ball at powerhouse Findlay College Prep of Henderson, Nev.

    Bennett will stay in the Las Vegas area this year as he looks to use his rim-shaking power and surprising shooting touch to lead the UNLV Runnin' Rebels to their first Mountain West championship since 2008.

2. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

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    The center position is best known for bruising shot-blockers who lack the explosive ability of their smaller counterparts. However, Nerlens Noel and his flat top will bring unique athleticism to Kentucky's front line in 2012-13.

    Noel is an unbelievable talent who will greatly impact the game on both ends of the floor as he and the rest of Kentucky's highly touted freshman class try to bring a second consecutive national championship to Lexington.

1. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA

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    Although Shabazz Muhammad is under investigation by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits, with fellow recruit Kyle Anderson being cleared to play less than a week ago, it looks as if Muhammad will step on the court for the Bruins this season.

    Assuming he gets cleared, Muhammad's ultra-aggressive play will have a profound impact on the Pac-12 and all of college basketball. Muhammad's game-changing ability should help UCLA re-establish itself as a contender on the national stage and make him a Player of the Year candidate.