In the one-shot era of college basketball, freshmen are taking on more and more roles, not just as spark plugs but often as contenders' stars or co-stars. Zion Williamson. John Wall. Chetholm Glenn. Rookies aged 18 and 19 can now step in regularly and make an immediate impact by winning at the sport's highest level.
This trend should continue into the 2022-23 season, when there will be a full freshman class with many linebackers and tight ends with pro potential. But who will be in this year's class? Where is the best young talent in the game this season? What kind of roles can we expect them to play?
We set out to answer these questions and more in our annual ranking of the top 10 college basketball freshmen. Let's go there and see this year's roster.
The top freshman in college basketball lives in Waco, USA. George is my pick for Big 12 Player of the Year, and my crystal ball shows him about a 52.375 percent chance of being the most efficient rookie in the game. He's a shooter with an intoxicating aesthetic to his game. George is a micro-scorer who will be a favorite for Baylor's linebacker-friendly offense. Under coach Scott Drew, he has held the keys to the car from day one and we've seen him perform at a high level.
— Eric Kelly (@EricKellyTV)July 5, 2022
That didn't lead to a win, but what a debut for Keyonte George.See AlsoCollege Basketball Transfer Portal: Expanded Top 75 Rankings for 20232022 college basketball top 25 rankings too early - Knup Sports2022 College Basketball Attendance RankingsTop 100 and 1 Best College Basketball Players Ranking Entering the 2021-2022 Season
The five-star recruit made it easy against Italy, scoring 32 points in just 28 minutes.pic.twitter.com/pxkuZNqznT
2. Nick Smith |Arkansas|Shenguang
Arkansas State lost 87 percent of its points, 78 percent of its assists and 84 percent of its recoveries to a team that advanced 28-9 to the Elite Eight last season. Reigns could go immediately to superstar recruit Nick Smith, an Arkansas product who ended up being the No. 1 recruit in the class. He's a smooth, jack-of-all-trades guy who averaged 15 points and two assists on a top-10 Arkansas team to start the season.
3. Carson Wallace |Kentucky| PG
Kentucky was my No. 1 preseason team, and Wallace is a big reason why. He's a dynamic defender, and his impact is palpable at this point. But his offensive prowess and scoring comfort have also improved a lot over the past year. Kentucky desperately needs a combo guard who can defend, shoot and be a creator, and Wallace ticks all the boxes for Calipari to coach a team that needed to leap from last season.
4.cam whitmore|villanova|SF Express
Whitmore recently underwent surgery following a thumb injury and could miss some of Villanova's early season. But say it to me now: buy it. That. dip. Whitmore was a stallion. He's been a very good offseason producer on the FIBA Tour, producing a top-10 pick in 2023. If he's right, he'll be a force for freshman coach Kyle Neptune, something we've rarely seen among Nova freshmen.
UCLA brought in a five-star recruit, Peyton Watson, a year ago, and it wasn't a big deal -- he didn't start, wasn't in the rotation, and averaged just over 3 points per game. Fight -- but don't let that cloud your opinion of his latest five-star signing. Bailey is a smart combo guard with a fluid left-handed jumper who can touch down and create the ball while making his own shots with ease. His swing is reminiscent of a young D'Angelo Russell, and his two-way talent will be useful for a UCLA team without Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard.
6. Darrick Whitehead |duke|Shenguang
His foot injury in August may have set Whitehead back a bit -- Duke seemed noncommittal about the timetable for his return, saying only that he plans to play in the fall -- but he's sure to be a different maker, if and when He regained his full strength. Whitehead is a really strong athlete who can go downhill and has a good and comfortable shooting form.
Top-five recruit Dariq Whitehead had 31 points on high-level shooting against IMG. Two-time national champion Whitehead, who will play at Duke next year, is a coach's dream playing defense, passing and doing all the little things that affect winning.pic.twitter.com/K5772MMJxX— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress)January 10, 2022
7.Derek Lively II| Hertog | C
Lively II, No. 1 in the 2022 cycle's 247Sports Composite, enters Duke's frontcourt for the 2022-23 season, replacing No. 1 Paul Banchero and No. 15 Mark Williams in the enviable spot. At 7-foot-1, Lively has the size a team dreams of and should be a plug-and-play for starter Jon Scheyer.
All week in Portland for Nike Hoop Summit practice and training. USA Basketball brings together a group of outstanding talents. Here's Duke commit Dereck Lively showing off his explosiveness in practice.pic.twitter.com/2XnCmgS3Iw— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress)April 6, 2022
8.anthony black| Arkansas | PG
The amount of talent Eric Musselman has amassed at Arkansas this season has been astounding. With the arrival of Nick Smith, Black may not be the focal point of the Wild Boars this season, but he will certainly be a factor. Eric Bossi of 247Sports compared his game to that of Cade Cunningham, the linebacker in the Arkansas system that has been successful in producing big men in recent years because of his tall, wide frame and ball-handling ability. Blake and Smith have plenty of room to be top-10 freshmen this season.
9.sky clark|Illinois| PG
With more than a year to go until a partial ACL tear, Clark should be 100 percent behind Illinois and have what it takes to take Illinois to the top of the Big Ten. Former Kentucky commitment could be an instant starterAndrea Corbello, Trent Frazier and Alfonso Plummer are gone. Brad Underwood hasn't faced such a talented and versatile guard since Ayo Dosunmu.
10. GG Jackson |south carolina| PF
A former top recruit in the Class of 2023 (and a former UNC promise), Jackson was reclassified for 2022 and signed with his school in his hometown of South Carolina. The Gamecocks are in for a major rebuild, but Jackson will be a monster producer whose energy and rebounding will make him one of the best rookies in the game.
just missed a connecting flight:Kyle Ware(Oregon),Dillon Mitchell(Texas),Jerry Walker(houston),brandon miller(Alabama), Adam Boehner (UCLA)