Predicting Which Incoming Freshman Will Be His Team's Top Scorer in 2013-14
Every college basketball season there are freshmen that jump onto the national scene and dominate the stat book with impressive scoring totals.
The 2013-14 campaign will be no different. There are a handful of freshmen that will not only play at an impressive level, but actually lead their respective teams in scoring as well. Many of these first year players are lacing it up for the nation’s best programs.
Read on to see which freshmen will lead their team in scoring.
Duke is obviously one of the best programs in the history of college basketball, and it is never easy for a freshman to arrive in Coach K’s system and dominate from the start.
However, Jabari Parker is no ordinary freshman.
The Chicago product is an elite superstar in the making. He is the type of versatile forward that can play multiple positions, score from all over the floor and utilize his athleticism to both run the floor and serve as a stopper on the defensive end.
Parker will lead the Blue Devils in scoring because he can find the basket in such a variety of ways. He can score on the block, hit from the outside and penetrate off the dribble. While Rodney Hood, Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon will all score, Parker will lead the team in points per game.
Before Andrew Wiggins becomes the presumed No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, he will lead the Kansas Jayhawks in scoring as a freshman.
Wiggins is the best high-school prospect in recent memory, and the first thing that jumps out is his scoring prowess. He has the size and athleticism combination that will allow him to thrive in the small forward position by overpowering smaller defenders and blowing past slower ones.
Furthermore, he has developed his jump shot and should contribute from behind the three-point line at times this year.
Wiggins can score in a variety of ways, but fellow freshman Wayne Selden will contribute to Wiggins’ scoring totals by drawing defenders and utilizing his impressive passing abilities. Selden sees the floor incredibly well and will be able to set Wiggins up in scoring positions throughout the year.
While much of the recruiting attention surrounding Kentucky’s borderline ridiculous class has centered around the Harrison twins and Julius Randle, James Young will be the freshman to lead the Wildcats in scoring.
Randle will draw double teams in the paint (along with fellow big man Dakari Johnson), and both Andrew and Aaron Harrison will force defenders to collapse on their penetration. That will leave Young on the wing for plenty of open looks from behind the three-point line.
If the perimeter shot isn’t there for Young, he can always blow past defenders off the dribble and finish through contact in the lane. Furthermore, his athleticism will allow him to get out in transition alongside the Harrisons and finish in spectacular fashion at the rim.
If there was ever a situation where a 5-star freshman was overlooked it would be the case of Young, but people will pay attention to his game when he leads the Wildcats in scoring.
Arizona is coming off of a Sweet 16 appearance and lost Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill in the offseason, but the 2013-14 campaign will likely still be an improvement for Sean Miller and company.
The Wildcats reeled in an impressive recruiting class that features multiple superstar prospects, but the highlight of the group is Aaron Gordon. Gordon is a versatile power forward who is strong enough to bang around on the block but also athletic enough to get out in transition and play outside the paint.
He is a formidable offensive rebounder, which will lead to easy putbacks and higher scoring totals, and can hit from mid-range. Furthermore, transfer point guard T.J. McConnell is a pass-first floor general who will look to set up Gordon in position to score.
McConnell will challenge for Pac-12 Player of the Year honors and will lead the Wildcats in scoring along the way.
Few teams if any lost as much talent as Indiana did this offseason when Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller were both drafted by NBA squads. They were major parts of the group that brought the Hoosiers back to relevance, but it will be recruits like Noah Vonleh that keep them there.
Like so many incoming freshmen in the class of 2013, Vonleh is a talented and versatile stretch forward who is capable of playing inside the paint and from mid-range. Furthermore, he has a consistent jump shot and the length to finish at the rim.
Vonleh is one of the best rebounders in the entire 2013 class and will not have an issue mixing it up in the lane with the physical interior players in the Big Ten. His rebounding prowess will lead to putbacks and scoring opportunities for himself and teammates.
One of those teammates, Yogi Ferrell, will look to run Indiana’s offense through the freshman. Vonleh will benefit from Ferrell’s court vision and passing ability in the open floor and finish plenty of plays in transition.
It’s not every day that California lands a 5-star prospect like Jabari Bird, but the Golden Bears are a program on the rise that will continue to challenge for NCAA tournament appearances if it keeps recruiting at a high level.
Bird will make an immediate impact for a California team that needs someone to fill the departed scoring role of Allen Crabbe. Yes, Justin Cobbs is still in place and will score plenty of points, but look for Bird to thrive while opposing defenses focus early attention on Cobbs.
Bird is an aggressive scorer and will attack the rim with regularity, even as a freshman. He can finish through contact when he gets there, and has a solid shooting stroke that should improve the longer he is on campus. Furthermore, he is a formidable rebounder and will get some second-chance points for his squad.
Arkansas landed this 5-star power forward early in the recruiting process and hopes he provides enough of a spark to give the Razorbacks a chance at an NCAA tournament appearance.
One reason that Bobby Portis will lead Arkansas in scoring as a freshman is the fact that the team’s top two scorers from a year ago are both gone. B.J. Young and Marshawn Powell are no longer on campus, which leaves a gaping scoring hole that needs to be filled. No returning player averaged double-digit scoring in 2012-13.
Portis will score plenty of points with his impressive mid-range jumper and back-down abilities. He even has a hook shot in his arsenal and has soft touch around the rim. Throw in the fact that he attacks the glass hard on the offensive end, and there will be plenty of scoring chances for Portis.
Follow and interact with Ohio State basketball writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.
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