Big 12 Basketball: Predicting the Top 3 Impact Freshmen for Next Year

Ryan ReschContributor IIIJune 1, 2012

Big 12 Basketball: Predicting the Top 3 Impact Freshmen for Next Year

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    As college basketball fans sit twiddling their thumbs until the start of the season, or at least the release of the schedules, predictions have to be made.

    The Big 12 is made up of some of the best talent in basketball, and next year’s incoming class is stock full of very gifted players.

    Which three players will have the most impact for their team given its current situation?

    Read on to find out.

Perry Ellis, Kansas Jayhawks

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    The loss of Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor will be a blow to the Kansas Jayhawks.

    That said, head coach Bill Self still has a great amount of talent waiting in the wings, and Perry Ellis should be able to showcase that talent.

    Ellis is a power forward in the strictest sense of the position. He is a little undersized for the position but makes up for that with his strength and conditioning.

    As for his skill set, he already has a great ability to score. He has a good group of low-post moves, and he combines that with his shooting ability facing the basket.

    Having both him and Jeff Withey dominate the paint will be a dangerous duo and will cause many problems for defenses; especially when you consider having Ben Mclemore, a potential star, playing at the 3.

    Ellis is poised to step into Thomas Robinson’s shoes and play the power forward position very efficiently. 

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    The Oklahoma State Cowboys struggled this past season, ending the year with a 15-18 record (7-11 conference). Part of the problem came from the Cowboys’ inability to put up big numbers consistently.

    As such, Oklahoma State needs a scorer, and Marcus Smart is just that.

    Smart, the top shooting guard in this year’s class, is one of the most gifted scorers in recent memory.

    Offensively, he can play all of the perimeter positions very well. He can even drive the lane and burst up to the rim with his impressive vertical and athleticism.

    He is also a rebounding machine, which is another aspect that the Cowboys struggled with this past season.

    With the Cowboys’ leading scorer Keiton Page leaving, Smart is ready to become the big-time player that he has the potential to be at Oklahoma State.

    His game has all of the pieces necessary to bring Oklahoma State out of the mud. Now he just needs his teammates to step up and help him.

Isaiah Austin, Baylor Bears

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    The Baylor Bears’ frontcourt was essentially decimated after all three starters, Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller, either graduated or left early to enter the NBA draft.

    Yet, head coach Scott Drew, just like Bill Self, has a very deep bench and one of the nation’s best recruiting classes coming in for next year.

    One such recruit, center Isaiah Austin, is going to be a pivotal part of the Bears next season.

    He is the coveted seven-footer that every coach wants and every fan loves. He is a monster on the rim, crashing the boards for offensive and defensive rebounds.

    He also has a gifted set of post moves, but his most impressive offensive skill is his ability to shoot from literally anywhere on the floor, even from beyond the arc.

    Austin does not allow his length to hinder his athleticism, as he is also one of the best floor runners at the center position.

    Look for Austin to pair with Cory Jefferson next year and combine to be a dominating duo in the paint and one of the best shot-blocking cores in the game.