The Top 10 "Best of the Rest" Freshmen in College Basketball

Matt SchneidmanContributor IIIFebruary 4, 2014

The Top 10 "Best of the Rest" Freshmen in College Basketball

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    LSU's Jordan Mickey has been a pleasant surprise this year and will be vital down the stretch if the Tigers want to grab an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.
    LSU's Jordan Mickey has been a pleasant surprise this year and will be vital down the stretch if the Tigers want to grab an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Spor

    First it was three, then four, then six and now the list extends by the day.

    The list of impressive freshmen started with Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle. Then Aaron Gordon was added. Tyler Ennis and Joel Embiid even joined the group of the nation's top diaper dandies.

    There is little argument that these six constitute the elite, but what about the bourgeoisie of college basketball freshmen?

    Players such as LSU's Jordan Mickey have vastly exceeded expectations and are putting up some eye-opening numbers against conference opponents.

    Many others have had significant impacts on their respective teams, so read on to find out where Mickey and the other nine "Best of The Rest" freshmen are ranked.

10. Zach LaVine, UCLA

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    PPG: 11.2

    RPG: 2.7

    APG: 2.1

    SPG: 1.1

    BPG: .2

    LaVine has been somewhat of a surprise this year for the Bruins, as they sit one spot behind No. 2 Arizona in the Pac 12.

    Leading scorer Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson, one of the best all-around players in the country, own the spotlight, but the high-flying LaVine is capable of putting up similar numbers. He started off the season on a tear, but has since cooled down, failing to amass six points in each of the last three games.

9. Andrew Harrison, Kentucky

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    James Crisp/Associated Press

    PPG: 11.1

    RPG: 2.9

    APG: 3.5

    SPG: .4

    BPG: .1

    The Harrison twins haven't lived up to all the hype they came into the season with, but they've still been steady performers for the No. 18 Wildcats. Andrew has been slightly inferior to twin brother Aaron numbers-wise, and he's also been more turnover-prone. He's struggled as of late, failing to reach double-digit point totals in three of the last four games, shooting a combined 12-for-36 during that stretch. 

8. Eric Mika, Brigham Young

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    Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

    PPG: 12.9

    RPG: 6.4

    APG: 1.1

    SPG: .5

    BPG: .8

    Mika has been overshadowed by one of the nation's leading scorers in Tyler Haws and versatile guard Kyle Collinsworth. Despite that, he's shot almost 55 percent from the field, proving to be a reliable third or fourth option for the Cougars as they look to challenge Gonzaga for the West Coast Conference title.

7. Bobby Portis, Arkansas

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    Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

    PPG: 12.3

    RPG: 6.5

    APG: 1.5

    SPG: 1.0

    BPG: 1.3

    Portis has been a bright spot for a Razorbacks team that has struggled so far in conference play. He is second on the team in scoring and leads the team in rebounding. He's shot a combined 18-for-31 in the last three games and will need to produce similar efforts if Arkansas wants to climb out of the depths of the SEC.

6. Marcus Foster, Kansas State

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    Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

    PPG: 13.9

    RPG: 3.8

    APG: 2.0

    SPG: .6

    BPG: .2

    Foster has arguably been the Wildcats' best player thus far. He leads the team in scoring, but that doesn't seem to be enough for Kansas State, as it has lost three out of the last four. However, in those losses, Foster has averaged 17 points per game, so he's clearly not the problem.

5. Aaron Harrison, Kentucky

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    Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

    PPG: 14.1

    RPG: 3.0

    APG: 2.0

    SPG: 1.0

    BPG: .3

    As aforementioned, Aaron has been slightly superior to his backcourt twin. He ranks third on the team in scoring, second in assists and first in free-throw percentage. There have only been four games in which Aaron has scored in single digits, a trend that will bode well if the common perception of guard play winning games in March is to stand true this year.

4. Nigel Williams-Goss, Washington

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    PPG: 12.9

    RPG: 4.4

    APG: 4.1

    SPG: 1.2

    BPG: .1

    Williams-Goss has mightily exceeded expectations, as the No. 19 recruit in the Class of 2013 is second on the team in scoring and first in assists. He recently put up 32 in a win against Oregon State, showing that he has the ability to take over games.

3. Jordan Mickey, LSU

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    Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Spor

    PPG: 13.5

    RPG: 7.4

    APG: 1.1

    SPG: .8

    BPG: 3.8

    Mickey has been a rejection machine this year, as he ranks third in the nation in blocks. He's amassed six double-doubles and scored in double figures in all but two games. Along with Johnny O'Bryant, Mickey will be a deciding factor if the Tigers are to challenge for the conference crown.

     

2. Noah Vonleh, Indiana

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

    PPG: 11.7

    RPG: 9.4

    APG: .5

    SPG: .9

    BPG: 1.2

    The versatile Vonleh has logged nine double-doubles on the year, including one in a recent upset win over Michigan. Vonleh is the Hoosiers' only formidable inside presence and will have to continue rebounding at the rate he is doing so if Indiana wants to surpass two teams with injured big men, Michigan State (Adreian Payne) and Michigan (Mitch McGary).

1. James Young, Kentucky

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    Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

    PPG: 14.9

    RPG: 4.4

    APG: 2.0

    SPG: .9

    BPG: .2

    Besides Julius Randle, Young has been the Wildcats' best player. The versatile forward has been on the rise as of late, scoring over 20 in his last two games while shooting a combined 17-for-32 from the field, including a 9-for-19 mark from three-point range. It seems that any Wildcat can singlehandedly carry this team deep in March, but besides the obvious top player, none is more capable than Young.