These players will make an early impact
These days, freshmen are making more of an impact on the game than ever before. No longer do they wait their turn to become go-to players. Some will immediately assume that role the minute they put on the uniform. Here are 10 players whose names you will hear early and often next year:
1. Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
The Buckeyes don't have anyone on their roster who can score inside as consistently as Sullinger. Not only can the 6-foot-8 big man score with the best of them, but he is very effective passing out of double-teams. He's also the most consistent rebounder in the 2010 class.
Don't be surprised if: Sullinger puts up a double-double every night for Ohio State.
2. Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
Perry Jones would have a major impact anywhere, and he certainly will be the marquee player in Waco. A cross between Kevin Garnett and Jonathan Bender in terms of body type, Jones is the best NBA prospect in the 2010 class. He can shoot it, handle it and even hand out the assist.
Don't be surprised if: Jones is a major force on the defensive end. He's an outstanding shot-blocker who rebounds outside of his area. What's impressive is how he rebounds and runs with the ball leading the break and taking it coast-to-coast.
3. Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
Duke was searching for the elite point guard it has lacked in recent years, and the Blue Devils got him. Irving has the ability to score the ball from different spots on the floor and put up big numbers in any contest. Along with that, he has great peripheral vision and can find an open teammate at a moment's notice.
Don't be surprised if: Irving, better known for his passing, shows off a knack for scoring.
4. Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
A dominant scorer with offensive patience, Waiters has shown improved shot selection. The 6-4 guard is excellent in transition; he's so strong that he can carry defenders on his hip and finish in the lane. He's also a very skilled shooter from distance.
Don't be surprised if: Waiters has the ball in his hands at end-of-game and end-of-shot-clock situations
5. Jereme Richmond, SG, Illinois
An elite, explosive wing prospect, Richmond is at his best with the ball in his hands. He can blow by defenders with his quick first step, post up smaller defenders and knock down open shots from the midrange out to the 3-point line.
Don't be surprised if: Richmond becomes a standout on the defensive end. With his length and great athletic ability, Richmond has the tools to be a lockdown defender.
6. Joe Jackson, PG, Memphis
Josh Pastner is going to give Jackson the chance to play through his mistakes. He'll be the Tigers' leader on the floor. He also can be the catalyst for an offense with major potential; Jackson is an explosive scoring point guard who can also distribute.
Don't be surprised if: Jackson becomes one of the all-time leading scorers in Memphis hoops.
7. Gary Franklin, PG, Cal
With Jerome Randle departing, Gary Franklin will be relied on early in Berkeley. With great range, accuracy and confidence, he is one of top shooters in the country. With much talent around him, Franklin will have a tremendous opportunity at Cal.
Don't be surprised if: Cal's recruiting class, led by Franklin, makes the Bears a tournament mainstay in the coming years.
8. Jacob Thomas, SG, Long Beach State
Thomas is a big-time scoring guard with 3-point range. He's an accurate, confident shooter. In Thomas, the 49ers picked up a player who can put points on the board with his natural ability when the offense breaks down.
Don't be surprised if: Thomas is one of the leading 3-point shooters in the Big West as a freshman.
9. Juwan Staten, PG, Dayton
With the departure of London Warren at the point, Staten will be a key for the Flyers next year. He's extremely quick and changes speeds to get by his opponent. He's excellent at pushing the ball in offensive transition and always looks for the best shot for his team and can score out to 17 feet.
Don't be surprised if: Staten is among the leading candidates for Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.
10. Vander Blue, SG, Marquette
Blue is a great athlete. His quick first step and excellent ballhandling ability allow him to get to the rack, where he can score over and around defenders. He has good court vision and can find the open man off dribble penetration.
Don't be surprised if: He sees some time at point guard during his freshman season in Milwaukee.
Paul Biancardi is a veteran of the coaching ranks with years of college experience. He has recruited on a national level with stops as an assistant coach at Boston University and Boston College, associate head coach at Ohio State and most recently as an assistant at Saint Louis University. Biancardi was head coach at Wright State University from 2003 to 2006. In 2003, he was named Horizon League Coach of the Year. He is a selection committee member for the prestigious McDonald's All-America Game and the Gatorade Player of the Year award.
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