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NCAA Freshman Rankings

NCAA Freshman Rankings
Jan 14, 2007, 01:19 am
DraftExpress.com NCAA Freshman Rankings

Every now and then, real life tops fiction. It just so happens that the first high school graduating class forced to attend college by the NBA’s new age limit happens to be the best we’ve seen in a very, very long time. In a normal year, we might still be wishing for the days when players like the Big Dog, Jason Kidd, and the Fab Five brought the nation to a standstill wearing NCAA uniforms. But thanks to players such as Kevin Durant, Brandan Wright and Greg Oden, we are living them all over again. Not only is there an a near-unprecedented amount of talent at the top, but the overall depth is quite impressive. Ranking this many players at this early stage is a near-impossible task, but if any group ever deserved such respect, it would be the 06-07 freshman class.

Big Men, Big Men, and More Big Men

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Obviously, the most important freshman story is the group of elite-level big men at the top of the rankings. Greg Oden(#1)remains atop the rankings, and outings like this afternoon’s are only going to solidify his grip on the number one spot. But if there is one player who has provided a “Carmelo”-type impact, it would be Texas’ Kevin Durant (#2). Durant is considered a wing by many, but limiting the 6’10 phenom to a single position would be selling him short.

In many years, Brandan Wright would be locked atop the mock draft right now. And while he is a longshot to pass up Oden or Durant, the freakishly long, freakishly athletic power forward is certainly a special prospect in his own right. For now, he gets the nod as the third best freshman in the country, with truly special low post scorer Spencer Hawes (#4), skilled Jayhawk Darrell Arthur(#7), and Georgia Tech forward Thaddeus Young (#6) all within striking distance.

A trio of seven footers also deserves special mention. 7’3 Connecticut phenom Hasheem Thabeet (#8) is very much a work in progress, but the flashes of potential are coming more and more regularly. Brook (#10) and Robin (#15) Lopez, the freshman twin towers patrolling the paint at Stanford, often get lost in the shuffle behind the other big names in this class. But their talent and physical superiority is undeniable – it is hard to see either one lasting too long at the college level.

Elite Floor Generals

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While this class has long been known for its post players, there are several point guards that must be noted as well.

While there is no obvious top dog here, it appears that three players are in the running. Each plays a different style, and there is plenty of debate amongst the DX staff about which one is the top prospect. If you like your point guard to be fast and capable of making decisions on the fly, Tywon Lawson (#11) is your man. He sports a near-3/1 Ast/TO ratio and appears to get a little bit better every time out. 6’5 Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Javaris Crittenton (#14) offers the size, athleticism and physical superiority that NBA decision makers dream of. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s Mike Conley (#17) continues to dazzle with his near-flawless decision making and steady all-around court sense. All three have a chance to be lottery picks someday.

Outside the top three, several other intriguing point guard prospects exist. Gonzaga’s Matt Bouldin (#19) has cooled off a bit after a blazing start, but should emerge as an elite-level modern NBA combo guard prospect. DJ Augustin (#34) has put up big numbers for Texas, and while it has taken Kentucky’s Derrick Jasper (#22) and Sherron Collins (#29) of Kansas a bit longer to get going, both are starting to play at a high level.

Top Wings

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Arizona’s Chase Budinger (#5) is the clear-cut number one at the wing. The Wildcat offense is perfect for the former volleyball player’s development, and the lack of big time upperclassman wing prospects should hasten his path to the league.

Several players can make a case behind Buddinger, with Ohio State’s Daquan Cook (#13) perhaps the most likely to end up one-and-done, while Wayne Ellington’s (#16) ability to put the ball in the basket is truly unique, and his Tar Heel career is likely to end with a spot in the lottery. Paul Harris (#15) and Gerald Henderson (#20) are taking a bit longer to adjust, but both have come up with their share of moments. Washington’s Quincy Pondexter is a headline-grabbing athlete and prospect, with Connecticut high-flyer Stanley Robinson (#21) really starting to emerge and ready to join this top group.

Potential or Production?

This is the biggest issue that must be tackled in putting together a list of freshmen, and there are plenty of individual dilemma’s to struggle with when it comes to this group.

On one hand, we have producers such as USC’s Taj Gibson (#23), California’s Ryan Anderson (#24), Connecticut’s Jerome Dyson (#38) and NC State’s Brandon Costner (#49). These freshmen already rank amongst the top players in their respective conferences, and are already making their mark on the national college basketball landscape.

But about some of the higher-upside prospects that, for whatever reason, haven’t put up the big numbers yet? Some, such as, Vernon Macklin (#26) at Georgetown and Florida’s Mareese Speights (#27), play for good teams and will earn larger roles with time. Others, like 6’10 Louisville wing Earl Clark (#25) and imposing Rutgers big man Hamady N’Diaye (#54) are not yet capable of producing at a high level but must be kept in mind because of the upside they possess.

There is no correct way to deal with the potential vs production issue, except that it must be balanced on a consistent basis. Everybody is comfortable with a different level of each, so we encourage you to let us know what you think about a freshman class that should continue to inspire all sorts of discussion and debate over the next four years.

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  • Jason Kidd nba mock draft
    Jason Kidd nba mock draft
    Age: 44.3
    Height: 6'4"
    Wingspan: -
    Weight: 215
    4.3 Points
    3.3 Rebounds
    3.3 Assists
    8.9 PER
  • Kevin Durant nba mock draft
    Kevin Durant nba mock draft
    Age: 28.7
    Height: 6'10"
    Wingspan: 7'4"
    Weight: 215
    25.8 Points
    8.2 Rebounds
    4.7 Assists
    27.5 PER
  • Brandan Wright nba mock draft
    Brandan Wright nba mock draft
    Age: 29.7
    Height: 6'10"
    Wingspan: 7'4 ½"
    Weight: 200
    6.4 Points
    2.6 Rebounds
    0.5 Assists
    18.3 PER
  • Greg Oden nba mock draft
    Greg Oden nba mock draft
    Age: 29.4
    Height: 7'0"
    Wingspan: 7'4 ¼"
    Weight: 257
    12.8 Points
    12.3 Rebounds
    0.5 Assists
    23.2 PER
  • Spencer Hawes nba mock draft
    Spencer Hawes nba mock draft
    Age: 29.2
    Height: 7'1"
    Wingspan: 7'1"
    Weight: 244
    7.3 Points
    4.2 Rebounds
    1.8 Assists
    14.9 PER
  • Darrell Arthur nba mock draft
    Darrell Arthur nba mock draft
    Age: 29.6
    Height: 6'8"
    Wingspan: 6'10 ¾"
    Weight: 216
    6.4 Points
    2.7 Rebounds
    1.0 Assists
    12.9 PER
  • Thaddeus Young nba mock draft
    Thaddeus Young nba mock draft
    Age: 29.0
    Height: 6'7"
    Wingspan: 7'0 ¾"
    Weight: 210
    11.1 Points
    6.2 Rebounds
    1.7 Assists
    15.0 PER
  • Hasheem Thabeet nba mock draft
    Hasheem Thabeet nba mock draft
    Grand Rapids
    Hasheem Thabeet C
    Age: 30.4
    Height: 7'2"
    Wingspan: 7'6"
    Weight: 275
    0.0 Points
    0.0 Rebounds
    0.0 Assists
    -9.0 PER
  • Javaris Crittenton nba mock draft
    Javaris Crittenton nba mock draft
    Age: 29.5
    Height: 6'5"
    Wingspan: 6'5 ½"
    Weight: 194
    3.3 Points
    1.5 Rebounds
    1.8 Assists
    4.5 PER
  • Matt Bouldin nba mock draft
    Matt Bouldin nba mock draft
    Age: 29.5
    Height: 6'5"
    Wingspan: 6'5"
    Weight: 224
    5.8 Points
    0.9 Rebounds
    1.2 Assists
    16.1 PER
  • Derrick Jasper nba mock draft
    Derrick Jasper nba mock draft
    Age: 29.2
    Height: 6'6"
    Wingspan: -
    Weight: 213
    5.6 Points
    4.3 Rebounds
    1.9 Assists
    12.0 PER
  • Sherron Collins nba mock draft
    Sherron Collins nba mock draft
    Age: 30.3
    Height: 6'0"
    Wingspan: 6'0"
    Weight: 217
    2.5 Points
    0.0 Rebounds
    0.5 Assists
    -9.5 PER
  • Chase Budinger nba mock draft
    Chase Budinger nba mock draft
    Age: 29.5
    Height: 6'7"
    Wingspan: 6'7"
    Weight: 206
    7.5 Points
    4.9 Rebounds
    1.0 Assists
    14.9 PER
  • Wayne Ellington nba mock draft
    Wayne Ellington nba mock draft
    Age: 29.7
    Height: 6'5"
    Wingspan: 6'7 ½"
    Weight: 202
    10.5 Points
    2.1 Rebounds
    1.1 Assists
    12.8 PER
  • Paul Harris nba mock draft
    Paul Harris nba mock draft
    Age: 30.7
    Height: 6'4"
    Wingspan: 7'0"
    Weight: 220
    9.0 Points
    5.9 Rebounds
    0.7 Assists
    14.2 PER
  • Quincy Pondexter nba mock draft
    Quincy Pondexter nba mock draft
    Age: 29.3
    Height: 6'6"
    Wingspan: -
    Weight: 220
    0.0 Points
    0.0 Rebounds
    0.0 Assists
    0.0 PER
  • Stanley Robinson nba mock draft
    Stanley Robinson nba mock draft
    Age: 28.9
    Height: 6'8"
    Wingspan: 7'0"
    Weight: 213
    10.7 Points
    6.3 Rebounds
    1.3 Assists
    13.1 PER
  • Taj Gibson nba mock draft
    Taj Gibson nba mock draft
    Age: 32.0
    Height: 6'10"
    Wingspan: 7'4"
    Weight: 214
    9.1 Points
    4.4 Rebounds
    0.6 Assists
    13.2 PER
  • Ryan Anderson nba mock draft
    Ryan Anderson nba mock draft
    Age: 29.1
    Height: 6'10"
    Wingspan: -
    Weight: 240
    13.1 Points
    4.6 Rebounds
    0.9 Assists
    12.9 PER
  • Jerome Dyson nba mock draft
    Jerome Dyson nba mock draft
    Hapoel Jerusalem
    Jerome Dyson PG/SG
    Age: 30.1
    Height: 6'3"
    Wingspan: -
    Weight: 180
    11.6 Points
    2.4 Rebounds
    2.6 Assists
    15.4 PER
  • Brandon Costner nba mock draft
    Brandon Costner nba mock draft
    Age: 29.9
    Height: 6'9"
    Wingspan: -
    Weight: 230
    18.4 Points
    6.2 Rebounds
    3.2 Assists
    18.5 PER
  • Vernon Macklin nba mock draft
    Vernon Macklin nba mock draft
    Age: 30.7
    Height: 6'10"
    Wingspan: 7'4"
    Weight: 243
    5.0 Points
    5.5 Rebounds
    0.5 Assists
    7.9 PER
  • Earl Clark nba mock draft
    Earl Clark nba mock draft
    Age: 29.4
    Height: 6'10"
    Wingspan: 7'2 ½"
    Weight: 228
    13.4 Points
    5.9 Rebounds
    0.9 Assists
    16.0 PER

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