We’ve all heard of the John Wall and Derrick Favours and Demarcus Cousins and Avery Bradley, etc., etc. Their accomplishments to date have been key to their teams’ lofty status among the elite in college basketball (okay, maybe not Georgia Tech).
And, while they do get much of the ink, there are many other first-year players who have contributed to their teams’ surprising (in many cases) success.
This is my short list. There are dozens more that could probably be on here as well.
Elias Harris - Gonzaga
I’m not sure the Zags knew exactly what they were getting where Harris came in from Germany. He is as tenacious as he is athletic, averaging 16 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. He is the main reason Gonzaga remained as competitive as they did.
Aaric Murray - Lasalle
After his surprise decision to go to the Explorers, Murray hasn’t disappointed - in fact, the team has not really lived up to expectations. He averages 12 and 7, but has scored at a clip of 18 per game over the last six.
Matthew Dellavedova - St. Mary’s
Another in a growing list f Australian recruits, Dellavedova has been a consistent scorer and energy guy. He averages13 points and 4 assists per game and gives the Gaels (19-3) the added depth they need to challenge Gonzaga.
Maurice Creek - Indiana
Okay, so the Hoosiers aren’t a good team but they are probably better than expected. Creek has emerged as their top gun, averaging 16 points per game and shooting threes at a 45% clip. With a little luck (skill) they could have 5 Big Ten wins.
Chris Braswell - Charlotte
This space-eater averages 10 and 9 for the A-10‘s most improved team, the 16-5 49ers. His contributions are made over an average span of 22 minutes as well. Could be a real force for Charlotte down the stretch.
DeAndre Brown - Louisiana Tech
At 5’11”, Brown is usually the smallest guy on the floor. His 11 points and 3 assists per game for the 18-4 ‘Dogs have helped them to the top of the WAC.
Derrick Williams - Arizona -
16 and 7 for the Wildcats who are contention in (granted) a weak PAC 10. Sunday’s game against California could give the Cats a share of the lead. Williams makes 58% of his field goal attempts and is a key part of Sean Miller’s rotation, averaging 27 minutes per game.