Impact Freshmen: Part Two

    
August 24th, 2007
With a loaded incoming freshmen class, and with the success of one-and-done stars in the 2006 class like Kevin Durant, Greg Oden and Brandan Wright, the pressure is on for some of the biggest names in recent high school basketball history.   This is the Second part of our series breaking down the situations that some of the country's top freshmen will be entering, and whether that could hurt or help their success.

Eric Gordon G Indiana
Gordon should immediately provide a scoring boost for a team that is losing over 22 points per game with the departure of guards Roderick Wilmont and Earl Calloway. He'll likely be given the green light to shoot, but he won't have to carry the load, with experience returning in the backcourt in the form of Armon Basset and A.J. Ratliff. With D.J. White back to bang up front, the Hoosiers should have a nice inside-outside combo as they look to build on last year's 21 wins. Gordon is a dynamic athlete who will have no trouble getting his shot at this level. His quickness, strength and limitless range ensure that he will give opposing coaches fits in trying to stop him. However, he will also need to bring that same effort consistently on the defensive end for Coach Kelvin Sampson, who will push the star youngster to reach his full potential. With Gordon in the fold, at least for one season, the Hoosiers should remain near the top of the Big Ten all season.

DeAndre Jordan C Texas A&M
Jordan is a legit 7-footer who should team with Joseph Jones to form one of the better front lines in the country. Jordan is a good athlete with great defensive ability, and he is another likely one-and-done candidate because of his size and athleticism. Dominique Kirk, Donald Sloan and Josh Carter return on the perimeter for the Aggies,meaning Jordan won't be asked to do much offensively. However, with Jones' occasional concentration lapses, Jordan's defense and rebounding should provide an immediate boost for a team looking to build on last year's success, despite the loss of Coach Billy Gillispie and do-everything guard Acie Law. He should start from the first day, and could challenge for all-conference honors, even though his stats likely won't jump off the page. A&M will probably take a step back after losing the clutch play and leadership of Law, but they still have enough talent to contend for a conference title and another NCAA berth under new Coach Mark Turgeon.

Kyle Singler F Duke
Singler has already drawn the Adam Morrison comparisons, being a skinny, shaggy-haired shooter from the northwest. However, Singler won't be asked to carry Duke offensively as Morrison had to with Gonzaga. Singler joins a team loaded with perimeter talent, including Greg Paulus, Gerald Henderson, DeMarcus Nelson and Jon Scheyer. The Devils are thin up front, with the departure of Josh McRoberts, so Singler may have to play down low more than he would prefer, but his multi-faceted game should fit nicely in the Duke offense. Singler has a great basketball IQ, and his versatility will create match-up problems for many teams. Singler should be able to make a smooth transition to the college game, as the Devils will likely rely heavily on the experience of the returning guards, especially early in the season. Singler also is one of the few players on this list who may spend more than one year on campus.

Donte Green F Syracuse
Green, a lanky forward with terrific athleticism, conjures up memories of former Orange forward Hakim Warrick. However, Green is much more skilled than Warrick at this stage, possessing good ball-handling skills and a nice touch. Like many of these players, he'll be a starter from the first day he steps on campus. Syracuse returns guards Eric Devendorf, Andy Rautins and Paul Harris, but among returning big men, sophomore Devin Brennen-McBride has the most experience...and he averaged less than four minutes per game last year. Green's length will make him a perfect fit for Coach Jim Boeheim's vaunted 2-3 defense, and his athleticism will allow him to run and put up points in bunches. Syracuse has the talent to compete in the Big East, although the league is loaded, with Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, UConn and Pitt. Green should get a chance to show his versatility in the Orange offense, and if the Orange can return to the NCAA Tournament as expected, his stock should remain high.

Other impact freshmen: J.J. Hickson (N.C. State), Patrick Patterson (UK), Anthony Randolph (LSU), Kosta Koufos (Ohio State), Nick Calathes (Florida).
 

Return to Part One: OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, and Michael Beasley