Freshman 15: New Kids on the Block
All Things Hoops 15 NCAA Basketball Players to Watch
The 2018-19 season will have some of the best freshmen college basketball players in a long time. In the modern one and done era a lot of these impact players will be moving on to the NBA next year so enjoy watching them now. Here are the All Things Hoops 15 best freshmen prospects in the countryside keep an eye on this season:
RJ Barrett. Forward. Duke University.
As much talent as the Blue Devils have, RJ Barrett will still be the leader of that team. He was awarded with Preseason All-ACC First Team honors and finished second in voting for ACC Preseason Player of the Year behind UNC’s Luke Maye. RJ’s motor is second to none and will definitely be a lottery pick come June. He works well when creating his own shot or in transition. He is highly athletic and can guard just about anybody in the country. He’ll be sharing the stage with fellow diaper dandy’s Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish. The Alfa Dog, RJ Barrett plays the game like he’s out for blood. NBA scouts would want to see more consistency with his jumper but if he improves on that he’ll be one of the first names called in next years draft.
Jahvon Quinerly. Point Guard. Villanova University.
The shifty point guard from Hackensack, NJ was just crowned the Big East Freshman of the Year. After a remarkable high school career, he moves on to the next level with a good amount of hype surrounding his name. He is one of the craftiest Guards I’ve had the opportunity to watch up close. He can get by his defender with ease and has the uncanny ability to finish around the rim. The highly touted Quinerly is a leader on the court and will instantly become the captain of the Villanova ship. At 6’1 175 lbs JQ will need to get stronger and commit to improving his outside shooting. With Jalen Brunson gone, the Wildcats will look to Quinerly to lead the charge. He is definitely one of my favorite players to watch and I’ll be closely following Nova is stacked and will look to remain atop the college basketball hierarchy.
Zion Williamson. Forward. Duke University
Zion Williamson is one of the most athletic players to ever step foot on the Duke University campus. The freakish athlete can literally jump out of the gym and has been electrifying crowds everywhere he plays. There are some concerns with respects to his playing weight. He is 6’6 and is listed at 285. Although his game doesn’t suffer because of the extra weight, pundits are skeptical that he will be able to control and manage his weight. His outside shot also seems to be a topic of discussion around basketball circles. If he can get to the rim and dunk on his opponent any time he wants then why would he need a jump shot? In my opinion a jump shot is truly a requirement for guys as they age and can’t jump as high anymore. Obviously Zion is just getting started and will work to improve his shooting. But if he can jump over a defender and score that’s what matters now. Just look at guys like NBA rookie of the year Ben Simmons, who hasn’t shot a 3 pointer all year and admittedly doesn’t shoot well but finds other ways to dominate. Zion will get tested this season when he faces guys who pride themselves on defense at the collegiate level. Even then, Zion will probably jump over them and hammer down a electrifying dunk. Get your popcorn ready!
Cam Reddish. Guard. Duke University.
Another cog in the Duke Blue Devils machine, Cam Reddish is one of the most skilled players in the country. The 6’8 Guard can simply do it all. He can handle like a true point guard, Shoot from long distance, rebound and has an uncanny Basketball IQ. His versatility is what makes him incredibly unique and he will cause havoc for anybody trying to defend him. The only flaw that I see in Reddish is his aggression. At times I see Cam and he’s too nice on the court. He doesn’t have that dog mentality that shows that he wants to completely destroy you on the court. Some players have it and some don’t but that doesn’t take away from how skilled he is. Cam will surely put up numbers and be a vital piece to any success that Duke has this season. He’s actually probably the most skilled player on that team. If he develops that killer mentality he could be easily be the best player in the country. Story developing… we look forward to watching Reddish and friends take no mercy on inferior competition.
Moses Brown. Center. UCLA.
Moses Brown is the second coming of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Well maybe it’s a little too early to make that kind of comparison but at 7’1 tall, the UCLA Bruin has a similar build as the hall of famer. Brown, the former McDonalds All American, is a guy who likes to do things like run the floor in transition, score around the rim and block anything that moves in the paint. He will get good minutes for the Bruins and if he takes advantage of his opportunity can really turn some heads in the tough PAC-12 conference. He will have to improve his offensive efficiency and refine a go-to move with his back to the basketball if he wants to completely dominate his competition. Likely a one and done prospect, Moses needs to get stronger and start imposing his will on smaller opponents. Brown was named to this years Kareem Abdul Jabbar watch list, which is awarded to the best Center in the country. There is fierce competition this year to win the award so we’ll see what happens.
Bol Bol. Forward. Oregon.
At 7’3 Bol Bol is a cheat code of sorts. Son of the late Manute Bol, Bol Bol is one of the best recruits in Oregon Duck history. He is a very unique player and will give a lot of teams nightmares when thinking about how to match up with him. He has shown the ability to play in the post even with his slender physique and can put the ball on the floor. He can blow by slow footed defenders at the Center position very easily with his speed. He has natural shooting ability and a soft touch around the rim. At 220 lbs he will surely have to build strength to succeed at the next level but he has a whole year to dedicate himself to that.
Naz Reid. Forward. LSU.
In my opinion Naz Reid is one of the most skilled big men in college basketball. The former McDonald’s All American from Roselle Catholic HS in NJ has the body of a NFL linebacker with a Gazelle-like quickness and agility. Another member of the JellyFam collective, Reid has both a power and a finesse in his repertoire. He can handle the rock like a point guard and can post up and dunk on you with ease. In my opinion if Reid manages to unlock his full potential he can be a lottery pick in the NBA draft. Teaming up with Emmit Williams and Tremont Waters at LSU will make the Tigers a force in the SEC. Reid has a surprisingly soft shooting touch for a big man and will draw a lot of attention in Baton Rouge. He can even extend out to the three point line with accuracy and knock down the long ball. Stay tuned as LSU makes a good run for the NCAA tournament this year.
Louis King. Forward. Oregon.
Lou King has a smooth game that will translate into a lot of buckets for head coach Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks this season. At 6’8 he is versatile enough to give you a little bit of everything a coach wants to see. King is fundamentally sound and has a pretty solid jump shot. He can finish around the rim well and plays good defense. He’ll just have to work on refining his outside shot to improving his consistency and getting stronger and a bit more physical. After he works on those aspects of his game Sky is the limit for King. King tore his meniscus during his senior season in High School and expected to return to full strength around December 1st. I can see him land on a spot on an NBA team if he lives up to his full potential.
Nassir Little. Forward. University of North Carolina.
Another freakish athlete in the Freshman class, Nasir Little possesses the length and athleticism that NBA scouts drool over. At 6’7 with springs for legs it’s hard to despite that Little would instantly make a strong impact on the North Carolina Tarheel squad. Every school in the country wanted Nasir Little until he ultimately chose UNC because of their rich history and winning tradition. He has the quickness and hunger to lock up on the defensive end and that’s what is going to separate him from his peers. There’s no doubt that Little will have an immediate impact on the team but the only question is will he have a starting spot or a reserve role to start the season. Senior forward Theo Pinson graduates this year and Roy Williams may look to go with the experience over raw talent. As Little’s jump shot develops it will be hard to not start him. Look to Little to have an outstanding year and be amongst those players considering a one and done sprint to the NBA.
Romeo Langford. Shooting Guard. Indiana.
Nowadays it’s rare for players to remain home for college. Langford, an Indiana product did just that, showing that coach Archie Miller is putting in his due diligence with respect to recruiting home grown talent, even if it’s on a one year loaner basis. Keeping Langford in college more than one year will be a challenge for the coaching staff. NBA scouts are salivating at the chance of landing him in the draft in June. He’s a pure scorer and can score 30 in the blink of an eye. He averaged 35.5 points per game in his senior season for New Albany, breaking the school’s single-season scoring record. At 6’6 and 215 lbs Langford is the prototype build for a Shooting Guard. He is an explosive scorer with great vision and passing abilities who seriously raises the Hoosiers’ potential this season. All eyes will be on Langford in Bloomington, Indiana this season.
David Duke. Guard. Providence College.
Along with Jahvon Quinerly, Duke was named the Big East Conference preseason Freshman of the year. A native of Providence, Rhode Island Duke feels comfortable staying home. This gives him added confidence when it’s time to perform. At 6’4 he has great size at the lead guard position. He is a true leader who can get his teammates involved by his playmaking capabilities. He will surely develop into a true star if he can mesh all of his natural talents together. He’s one of those players who just has a great feel for the game with natural basketball instincts that you simply cannot teach. He works well with either hand and has good playmaking ability around the rim or in traffic. He is at his best in transition and is almost unstoppable with a full head of steam. He needs to work on outside shooting at a more consistent basis and just knowing when to shoot. Other than that, look for David Duke to have a strong showing this year for Providence.
Quentin Grimes. Guard. University of Kansas
Another gem for Kansas, Quentin Grimes is the real deal. A 6’5 combo guard who can handle and has a jump shot, what more can you ask for?! He has a laser focused approach to the game of basketball and goes out every night playing with precision. Expect Grimes to come in and contribute immediately. Along with Freshman phenom Devon Dotson, Grimes will shoulder a lot of responsibility this season. While Grimes plays with precision from the outside, he can also attack the basket at a moment’s notice if needed. He can play well both on and off the ball, and is an excellent passer and a high impact player who can tighten up on the defensive end and get stops. Keep your eyes on Grimes as he steps in and will have major attention on him from day 1. Having Grimes really boosts Kansas’ chances of being National Champions at the end of the seasons.
Tyler Herro. Guard. University of Kentucky.
Herro is a pure scorer! After decommitting from Wisconsin Coach Cal and Kentucky fans had to be ecstatic. Herro really opened my eyes during Kentucky’s tournament run in the Bahamas earlier this year. He appeared to be the only Wildcat who could create his own shot. He brings an elite skill to the table, with his ability to shoot. That shot making ability opens up for the floor for his teammates. He is a lights out shooter who finds different ways to contribute other than shooting. He moves well without the ball and understands the game and it’s angles. I’m not sold on him being a sure shot NBA prospect as of yet but he will definitely help Kentucky on their quest for a national championship.
Jalen Carey. Guard. Syracuse University
Carey is one of those special players that coaches love to have on their team. A leader and someone who they can count on to have the best interest of the team in mind. His combination of speed and athleticism makes him a threat on both ends of the floor for Syracuse this year. He will definitely look to use his cat like quickness to blow past defenders and will be looked to to provide leadership, even as a freshman. I don’t know if he will land a starting role out the gate but he will most definitely be a vital piece of what Jim Boeheim puts together this year. He’ll have the ball in his hands a lotCarey’s versatility can give coach Boeheim numerous options when crafting together lineups. I look forward to catching a few Syracuse games this season and watching the maturation and development of Jalen Carey.
Luther Muhammad. Guard. Ohio State.
Luther Muhammad is one of the best two way players in the country. This combo guard from New Jersey is going to give opponents in the Big Ten Conference no room to breath as he clamps down on defense. High School teammate of both Oregon’s Louis King and Villanova’s Jahvon Quinerly, King has what it takes to succeed at the collegiate level. At 6’4 he is a prototype shooting guard but can play all 3 perimeter positions easily. He will crack the Ohio State rotation from day 1 and significantly help them throughout the season. He can hit from long range consistently or blow by defenders and finish around the rim. The Big 10 is known for its tough hard nosed play and Muhammad fits right in. If he doesn’t start immediately we see him locking up a starting role by the end of the season. Either way, look for Luther Muhammad to play a vital role in the team’s success this year.
Darius Garland. Guard. Vanderbilt University.
Garland is an excellent prospect and will be a solid NBA player in the future. The 6’3 Guard is a nifty player who works well with or without the ball. He can use either hand and is more cerebral on the court. He can create opportunities for his teammates both in a half court setting as well as in transition. He has great court vision, which makes him just the floor general that Vanderbilt needs if it wants to return to the postseason in 2018–19. He has a charisma to his game that you can’t teach and Vandy will definitely benefit from it. He is the type of unselfish player who strives to makes his teammates better. He has already made himself a Vanderbilt fan favorite because he is a Nashville, Tennessee native. Once fans get a glimpse of what he is going to what he brings to the table on the collegiate level they will be satisfied. Keep an eye on Garland as he’ll be one of the gems to emerge in college basketball this season.
Make sure to check in with All Things Hoops as we provide analysis and updates on these players during the season! Subscribe to our mailing list to stay in the loop!