Daily Dribble: Grading the Top 30 Freshmen

December 17th, 2007
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When it comes to ranking prospects, I'm partial to the guys at Rivals.com. Year in and year out, I think they do the best job. With that said, I wanted to see how their Top 30 prospects have fared so far. This is, of course, the year of the freshman so the grades are higher than in the past. But not everybody's lived up to expectations.. and some guys have barely even managed to get on the court.


You'll notice that there's 33 players listed (in order of their Rivals ranking), because one guy (Walker) played last year, and two (Hamga & Pope) haven't suited up yet.. leaving 30 actual freshman performers.


1. Michael Beasley – Kansas State

Stats: 25, 14, 2

Thoughts: Started the season on an all-time clip, but has come down to about 20 and 10 in the past few weeks. Kansas State still lacks a big-time win.

Grade: A


2. Eric Gordon - Indiana

Stats: 24, 3, 2

Thoughts: Has flat out been better than I expected.  Has blown through the 20 point mark in every game he's played in full.

Grade: A+


3. Derrick Rose - Memphis

Stats: 14, 5, 4

Thoughts: Numbers dont compare to other top stars, and have been dipping. Just 9 ppg in last 4 games.  Was shut down by USC in nationally televised game.

Grade: B


4. O.J. Mayo - USC

Stats: 20, 5, 4

Thoughts: Since an opening day loss, USC has been rock solid and appears to be improving.  Mayo's shot selection has been suspect at times and turnovers have been an issue.

Grade: B+


5. Kyle Singler - Duke

Stats: 14, 7, 1

Thoughts: Unlike the top 4 guys, Singler's team is 9-0, but Duke doesn’t rely on him as much. Peak game was Marquette in Maui.

Grade: A-


6. Kevin Love - UCLA

Stats: 17, 10, 2

Thoughts: Scarcity of big men makes Love’s season stand out. At times has been unstoppable, but other times has looked like pedestrian.

Grade: A-


7. Bill Walker

- Played last year


8. DeAndre Jordan – Texas A&M

Stats: 9, 7, 0

Thoughts: Has shown flashes of why he’s a potential lottery pick. He’s also shown for long stretches why he’s more of a project than other guys on this list.

Grade: B-


9. Donte Greene - Syracuse

Stats: 19, 9, 2

Thoughts: Statistically, he’s blown through my personal expectations.  Syracuse has been vulnerable though, and you get the sense he wouldn’t put up the same numbers on a better team.

Grade: B+


10. J.J. Hickson – NC State

Stats: 18, 8, 1

Thoughts: Numbers have been there, but NC State’s success hasn’t. Has looked good, not just against bad teams, but against their best competition. Will vie for ACC Freshman of the Year with Singler.

Grade: A-


11. James Harden – Arizona State

Stats: 16, 6, 2

Thoughts: ASU’s 7-2 record is surprising, and Harden’s a big reason why. He gives the team a feeling of big-time success. In their two losses though, Harden’s disappeared.

Grade: B+


12. Anthony Randolph - LSU

Stats: 15, 8, 2

Thoughts: Doesn’t seem to get as much hype as some of the other top 20 prospects, perhaps because of his team.  Has been relatively consistent, but in big games has struggled with fouls and turnovers

Grade: B+


13. Jerryd Bayless - Arizona

Stats: 20, 3, 5

Thoughts: Has already surpassed Chase Budinger as Arizona’s best player. Personally, he’s one of my favorite players to watch, so maybe I’m biased.

Grade: A


14. Nick Calathes - Florida

Stats: 16, 4, 6

Thoughts: Florid’a schedule has been such a joke that you can’t compare Calathes’ numbers with other big time freshman point guards. He’s been the Gators best and most consistent player though.

Grade: B


15. Austin Freeman - Georgetown

Stats: 9, 2, 1

Thoughts: The highest ranked prospect who isn’t getting a chance to start or play major minutes. His best two games have been the last two, but that’s because he got extended mop up minutes. You get the sense in the limited minutes he plays, that if given the chance, he’d produce.

Grade: B-


16. Kosta Koufos – Ohio State

Stats: 16, 6, 1

Thoughts: Has been dominant at times, but awful against good teams. He went 5 of 26 shooting against Texas A&M and UNC. In terms of expectations, he’s shown more potential than I expected.

Grade: B+


17. Patrick Patterson - Kentucky

Stats: 16, 8, 2

Thoughts: Kentucky’s off to a D- start, but you can’t blame that on Patterson.  You really cant ask for more than the consistent 16 and 8 he gives you every night as part of UK’s 3-man team.

Grade: A-


18. Nayal Koshwal - DePaul

Stats: 11, 9, 1

Thoughts: I expected Koshwal to be better than an 11 ppg player. It does seem like the last few games that the 7-footer has been more comfortable, and big things might be ahead.

Grade: B-


19. Chandler Parsons - Florida

Stats: 11, 4, 2

Thoughts: Numbers don’t look bad, but he’s played against 2nd rate teams and gets more minutes then he would on other top teams.

Grade: C+


20. Craig Brackins – Iowa State

Stats: 12, 6, 1

Thoughts: On such a mediocre team, it seems like Brackins should be better than a 12 ppg guy. He’s had games where the media ended up drooling over his versatile offensive skill set. Other times, people wonder why a 6-10 forward looks so lost.

Grade: C+


21. Jamelle Horne – Arizona

Stats: 6, 3, 0

Thoughts: Hasn’t had a chance to get minutes when it counts. His production has mainly come in mop up minutes for Arizona.  In those minutes, hasn’t looked bad, but its hard to tell.

Grade: C-


22. Jonny Flynn - Syracuse

Stats: 15, 2, 6

Thoughts: Has had some awesome games mixed in with complete duds. Still, in terms of the variety of skills he possesses, there’s not many better PG’s out there.

Grade: B+


23. Blake Griffin - Oklahoma

Stats: 13, 8, 2

Thoughts: Hard to say whether Griffin has lived up to expectations or not. He’s been consistent, and consistently solid, but some expected him to be a true lotter-pick type star (which has not been the case.)

Grade: B


24. Solomon Alabi - FSU

Stats: 4, 3, 0

Thoughts: The 7-1 Nigerian came into school as a project, and that’s what he’s been. Hasn’t really gotten minutes that counted, though he wasn’t bad in 7 minutes against Butler.

Grade: C


25. Austin Daye - Gonzaga

Stats: 12, 5, 1

Thoughts: Considered the best prospect in Gonzaga history, some thought Daye might be a one and done player. This is definitely not the case, as the lanky wing disappears for long stretches. He hasn’t been bad, just that expectations might have been too high.

Grade: C+


26. Beas Hamga - UNLV

- Hasn’t played yet


27. Corey Fisher - Villanova

Stats: 12, 2, 3

Thoughts: With the exception of an absolute dud against LSU on ESPN, Fisher’s been a consistent performer for the Wildcats. On a per minute basis, his numbers are right there with the more heralded Big East PG Flynn.

Grade: B+


28. Corey Stokes - Villanova

Stats: 3, 2, 1

Thoughts: Similar to Austin Freeman above, has been relegated to bench minutes. Unlike Freeman though, Stokes hasn’t shown that he deserves minutes, as shots simply are not falling.

Grade: C-


29. Gani Lawal – Georgia Tech

Stats: 7, 3, 0

Thoughts: This is a rare top prospect who I knew absolutely nothing about heading in to college. By far, his best minutes came against Indiana where he had 17 points and 3 blocks in just 16 minutes.

Grade: C+


30. Cole Aldrich - Kansas

Stats: 4, 3, 0

Thoughts: Once a top player in the class, Aldrich never really deserved to be the 30th best prospect in the class. There’s simply too much talent at Kansas for him to find real playing time now, though he's shown enough to make you think he'll contribute one day.

Grade: C


31. Herb Pope – New Mexico State

- Hasn’t played yet


32. James Anderson – Oklahoma State

Stats: 19, 3, 1

Thoughts: Has already proven to be the best player on a very mediocre team. The recent road loss at Pitt was his first bona fide bad game. Still, this kid is as pure a scorer as they come.

Grade: B+


33. Chris Allen - Michigan State

Stats: 7, 1, 1

Thoughts: Allen is a shooter/scorer, who I personally feel was ranked too high to begin with. He hasn't been bad by any means in limited minutes, but has probably been overshadowed by fellow freshman Kalin Lucas.

Grade: B-