Ranking the 10 Most Unguardable Incoming Freshmen for the 2013-14 Season
While college basketball is continually changing, one skill remains at the top of the list that makes a good player great: the ability to score.
The class of 2013 is filled with elite scorers who are going to cause opposing coaches to lose sleep and opponents to hang their heads.
Here are the 10 most unguardable players among this year's incoming freshmen. This is not simply the top 10 ranked players overall. This is a listing of those young players who can do the most damage with the ball in their hands.
10. Zak Irvin, Michigan
It won’t take long for Zak Irvin to get into the swing of things in Ann Arbor. This uber-athletic wing is a custom fit for the Wolverines' wide-open attack. A player is not named Indiana’s “Mr. Basketball” by being a hoops slacker.
Whether he’s spotting up for jumpers from the Great Beyond or putting the ball on the deck to get to the rim, Irvin has all the tools to be a petrifying player for Big Blue. Depending on the types of tweaks that head coach John Beilein wants to make to Michigan’s lineup, Irvin could immediately fill the role vacated by the multi-talented Tim Hardaway Jr.
With all of the perimeter talent on the Michigan's roster, Irvin will have to earn his playing time. His exceptional attitude and work ethic—combined with his insane skills—will secure him minutes from the start.
9. Bobby Portis, Arkansas
The Razorback fans in Fayetteville are going to flip over Bobby Portis. This home-state boy is an electrifying player whose versatility will help him become an instant star in head coach Mike Anderson’s unrelenting Arkansas attack.
Portis is more than capable of playing either down low or on the wing. Because he can do work with either his back to the basket or facing up, the Hogs’ opponents will have to figure out how to contain this 6’9” 225-pound phenom.
8. Wayne Selden, Kansas
No Kansas opponent in the upcoming season will intimidate Wayne Selden. In fact, the brawny wing from Boston will most likely damage opponents.
Selden is an extremely powerful perimeter player who will inspire announcers to come up with new terms to describe his game. “Power wing” is one that comes to mind.
He is explosive on the break, and, at 6’5”, 225 pounds, he will make opponents think twice about setting up in his path to the basket.
Additionally, Selden is a good passer. His mid- and long-range accuracy are coming around. Since KU's Bill Self will be replacing all five starters from this past year's Jayhawks lineup, watch for Selden to play a featured role from day one.
7. Noah Vonleh, Indiana
With the departures of four of the five starters from last year’s squad, Noah Vonleh will have an immediate opportunity to shine in his first year in Bloomington.
Vonleh has a well-developed, inside-outside game that will allow for him to be used in several different roles for Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean.
NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith compares the 6’9” forward with the 7'3" wingspan to a young Jamal Mashburn—no small compliment. Vonleh already has a sweet shooting stroke and has no problem putting the ball on the floor to create further problems for opponents.
6. Aaron Harrison, Kentucky
Aaron Harrison is the total shooting guard package. He is capable of knocking down jumpers from distance or getting into the lane and causing havoc.
Because of his size (6’5”, 205 lbs), he creates big-time matchup challenges, and he has a tremendous basketball IQ, which helps him to remain in position.
Even if Harrison was on just about any other college team, he would still be able to get good looks and find excellent scoring opportunities. Because the Kentucky Wildcats will have so many players to keep track of, Harrison will have an unending supply of open shots.
5. Andrew Harrison, Kentucky
Few point guards come constructed like Andrew Harrison. Some are powerfully built, but on the shorter side. Some have length, but they could accurately be described as “lanky.”
Harrison is both long and strong, and he uses both to make life miserable for opposing teams, players and coaches.
Harrison has a keen floor leader’s mentality, ready to deliver the ball to his teammates in excellent scoring position. He is also a capable scorer, ready to get past defenders and go all the way to the cup.
4. Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Ferocious. Fierce. Relentless.
These are all words that precisely describe Aaron Gordon’s always-on-the-attack game. Few players have the non-stop motor that this 6’8” multi-talented forward displays. Combine that with some cosmic hops and you have an in-game slam dunk competition waiting to happen.
If opponents don’t keep a close watch on Gordon, he will grab and slam any missed shot in his area code. The rest of Gordon’s game is true. If you give him space, he can knock down jumpers from mid- and long-range.
After Gordon has a little time under Arizona's Sean Miller, he will be devastating.
3. Julius Randle, Kentucky
If you were designing the ideal college power forward, you might use Julius Randle as a prototype. The 6’9”, 245-pound man-child can deliver the goods in so many different ways.
Randle loves to face up and operate, but he can set up shop on the block and go to work with his back to the basket, too.
Randle has no problem shooting from anywhere inside the arc. By the time next season opens, don’t be surprised if he has added a repertoire of shots from downtown.
Virtually no college defenders will be effective against him one-on-one. And because of the insanely prolific lineup that UK head coach John Calipari will put on the floor, opponents will not be able to double down on Randle.
2. Jabari Parker, Duke
Players of Jabari Parker’s capability don’t come along in every recruiting class. Parker is the rare mixture of skills, smarts and size. He is still regaining some of his physical burst while fully recovering from a broken foot injury.
Parker has an incredible court sense to go along with a great shooting touch. His ability to set up his man to score on him is far more advanced than most college players.
When he isn’t putting points on the board himself, Parker is a gifted passer who is ready to deliver the ball to teammates at any moment.
His unselfishness and leadership make him the consummate star player.
1. Andrew Wiggins, Undecided
Without a doubt, Andrew Wiggins is the most gifted offensive scorer in the recruiting class of 2013. He is a bona fide physical freak.
He can do what he wants, when he wants and however he wants. Simply put, he is just that gifted.
Wiggins is capable of playing anything from shooting guard to power forward, but he will wreck opponents—most certainly—from the small forward position.
He can take the ball and get to the rim at will. He’s a deadly shooter from the perimeter. If someone gets up on him, Wiggins can create separation off the dribble without any difficulty.