College Basketball Preseason Awards: Freshmen "Most Likely To..." Part II
Today I unveil eight more freshman who are ready make their own unique imprint on the college basketball world.
In what could become one of the most exciting college basketball seasons in quite some time, you can bet that the freshman class of 2011 will be a large reason why.
Without further ado, the second and final installment of the preseason freshman "Most Likely To..." Awards.
Most Likely to Score 40 Point in a Game: Austin Rivers, Duke
Outside of Kentucky's Anthony Davis, there isn't a more "NBA-ready" player than Duke Freshman Austin Rivers.
The 6'4" scoring machine is capable of going off for 20 or more points on any given night, and odds are that he will have numerous scoring explosions this season.
The frontrunner for ACC Freshman of the Year, the son of Doc Rivers will use this season as a springboard to a possible lottery selection in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Teaming with sharpshooter Seth Curry and uber-athletic power forward/center Mason Plumlee, expect another epic series of games against the boys from down Tobacco Road.
Most Likely to Turn a Program Around: Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears, Rutgers
The talented duo of Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears is ready to bring Rutgers out of the Big East basement.
Word on the Rutgers campus is that they are making waves in pickup games with their teammates, and it's not out of the question that both true freshmen can start for the Scarlet Knights.
Mack, a 5'9" scoring guard, brings a much-needed winning mentality to the team. He is coming off a senior season in which he won a mythical national championship at the legendary St. Anthony's High School under Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley.
The 6'1" Seagears can penetrate with the best of them, and is fearless in traffic. He also has a feathery jump shot.
Both talented guards are fiercely competitive, which is why Rutgers head coach Mike Rice believes they can be the pioneers for the State University of New Jersey.
Most Likely to Make the Quickest Mid-Major NBA Jump: Dezmine Wells, Xavier
Xavier head coach Chris Mack got a gigantic steal when he snatched powerful guard Dezmine Wells from the state of North Carolina and John Wall's alma mater, Word of God Academy.
The 6'4", 220-pound wing uses his brute strength to score and rebound while also having the athleticism to dunk on anyone in his path.
His game is reminiscent of a mini-LeBron, always on attack mode.
He's going to get immediate minutes in the backcourt with All-American candidate Tu Holloway. He won't be a one-and-done college player, but once Holloway graduates and the team is his, he could prove to be ready for the 2013 NBA Draft.
Most Likely to Prove He Was Vastly Underrated: Tyrone Johnson, Villanova
Playing for legendary coach Stu Vetter at famed Montrose Christian Academy in Maryland, and being the catalyst for a team that won the 2011 ESPN Rise National High School Invitational (where in the championship game he scored 21 points and was 11-11 from the free throw line), you would think that the combo-guard would be a household name in recruiting circles.
That wasn't exactly the case.
While most recruiting pundits had the 6'3", lightning-quick New Jersey native hovering around the top 50 of their rankings, it is very possible that the well-schooled guard could have a big impact for the Wildcats as a true freshman.
When all is said and done, he could prove to be one of the five best guards to come from the 2011 class.
Most Likely to Be a Crowd Favorite: Jahii Carson, Arizona State
The biggest recruit to land in Tempe since James Harden, homegrown point guard Jahii Carson is ready to make Sun Devils fans excited about the basketball program again.
The pint-sized scoring guard is a super-athlete. He reminds many of Oklahoma Thunder guard Nate Robinson, as he is capable of throwing down incredible dunks despite his small stature.
The 5'10" guard has publicly stated just how excited he is to bring his flashy game to the Arizona State campus, and he most definitely will.
Look for him to battle Arizona's own freshman phenom point guard Josiah Turner when the rival schools lock horns this year.
Mike Likely to Further His Legend as a Hometown Hero: Adonis Thomas, Memphis
The city of Memphis is known for producing elite basketball players year after year. Not only do they produce such talented athletes, but these players feel the pressure to stay at home and play for the hometown Memphis Tigers.
Last year, point guard Joe Jackson jilted several other top-25 programs to stay at home and continue to build what John Calipari left behind with the Tigers.
This year, 6'6" 205-pound small forward Adonis Thomas decided to turn down offers from virtually every other program in America to suit up for Josh Pastner's title contenders.
The McDonald's All-American teams with talented sophomores Jackson, Will Barton, Tarik Black and Chris Crawford in what could be a special season in the Bluff City. If that is the case, look for Adonis Thomas to further his reputation as a proud beacon for the city.
Most Likely to Unfairly Get Bench Splinters: Brad Beal, Florida
I'm not saying that the Ray Allen clone will be saddled on the bench all season for Billy Donovan's squad, but I will say that Brad Beal has his work cut out for him in Gainesville.
In the backcourt, the Gators return Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton, two All-SEC second team selections in 2011. On top of that, former Rutgers star Mike Rosario is eligible to play this season.
I still fully expect the star from St. Louis to carve out his own niche in the rotation, but he won't be getting 30 minutes of playing time a game like other mega-recruits will.
Most Likely to Be an All-American: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
The latest and greatest Windy City star is Anthony Davis, a 6'11" forward who can do anything you ask of him on the basketball court.
Not only does he have all the tools to be a superstar NBA athlete for years to come, but you just know that John Calipari will be able to bring out some of the best this kid has to offer in what will likely be his only season in Lexington.
Though future NBA Draft Lottery pick Terrance Jones will be the leader of this year's Kentucky team, Davis might be the forward who is harder to handle for opposing teams.
Expect the rapidly-improving combo forward to improve throughout the season and save his best games for the bright lights of the NCAA tournament.