Sunday, August 19, 2007

College Basketball's Super Freshman

Last college basketball season, thirteen true freshmen in the BCS conferences averaged more than ten points per game with a minimum of 22 games played.

1.) Kevin Durant, Texas, 25.8
2.) Greg Oden, Ohio State, 15.7
3.) Spencer Hawes, Washington, 14.9
4.) Brandan Wright, North Carolina, 14.7
5.) Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati, 14.5
6.) Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech, 14.4
7.) D.J. Augustin, Texas, 14.4
8.) Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech, 14.4
9.) Wayne Ellington, North Carolina, 11.7
10.) Edgar Sosa, Louisville, 11.4
11.) Mike Conley, Ohio State, 11.3
12.) Ty Lawson, North Carolina, 10.2
13.) Ryan Anderson, Nebraska, 10.1

Of the thirteen players listed above, the top four players plus Crittenton, Young, and Conley all entered the draft this year and were picked in the first round. The other six players will surely be counted on for even more scoring this year for their respective teams.

Here is a look at each of the six current college players who will surely look to be a future NBA first round pick:

Deonta Vaughn, PG/SG
Vaugn ins a 6'1", 200 pound combo-guard from Indianapolis. The Bearcats guard started slow in his first year, but came on quick after that. With big games against Xavier, North Carolina State, South Florida, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, and Seton Hall, Vaughn made a nice impression in the conference in his first season. This season, the Bearcats hope to have a better season, which may mean Vaughn's scoring will go down. Vaughn is an outstanding shooter with strong ballhandling skills. His passing ability at the point guard will be important to develop as he looks towards the NBA. For a guard, Vaughn has excellent strength and has shown great competitiveness and toughness.

D.J. Augustin, PG
Augustin is an undersized point guard standing 5'11" and weighing 175 pounds. Augustin, a New Orleans native, played his best in big games last year against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Kansas. Augustin started every game at point guard for Texas in his first season and was named to the second team All-Big 12 team. Augustin takes care of the ball well and plays at very high speeds. His explosiveness, quick hands, and court awareness allows him to excel at the point gaurd position. As Augustin gets more experience, he will become a better passer and will run his teams offense more effectively. Perimeter shooting is the next big thing that Augustin needs to focus on. Augustin's quickness and explosive first step allows him to beat up on defenders. Playing next to Kevin Durant, Augustin mastered the ability to penetrate into the lane and then pass out to an open teammate.

Wayne Ellington, SG
A natural scorer, Ellington will be relied on to take a bigger role this season with North Carolina. Coach Roy Williams will look for more consistency this season. Ellington had some great games last season (Ohio State, Kentucky, Wake Forest, Maryland, Florida State), but struggled in several critical one's (Gonzaga, Duke, Michigan State, Georgetown). He can score from the perimeter off the dribble, pulling up, or going right to the basket. Ellington has great body control and gets to the foul line at a strong rate. Creating for his teammates to score is another skill Ellington posseses. He doesn't have ideal NBA size, but is talented enough to play in the league. Defense will be an important aspect for Ellington to improve. In order to guard NBA shooting guards, he will need to shore up that aspect of his game. Ellington has good strength and finishes well at the basket in college basketball, but will need to add some for the NBA.

Edgar Sosa, PG/SG
Sosa is a hardworking guard originally from the Dominican Republic and now resides in New York. Sosa stands at 6'1" and 175 pounds and had a strong freshman year finishing second on his team in points per game and assists per game. In Louisville's first six games, Sosa averaged double figures in five of them. Sosa played his best game in his teams tournament game against Texas A&M. In that game, Sosa scored 31 points included fifteen for seventeen from the free throw line. Sosa still has a great deal of work to do to become a first round pick. He needs to become a better distributor and work on his shot selection. Based on his dimensions, Sosa will strictly be a point guard in the NBA. To get to this level, he will need to show that he can lead a team and run an offense.

Ty Lawson, PG
Lawson is an accomplish, undersized point guard who played high school basketball at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Lawson stands at 5'11", 193 pound Maryland native, who played in the McDonald's All-American. Lawson is super quick and has a great ability to change speeds. He penetrates well and finishes effectively around the basket. Lawson has good court vision and keeps his turnovers to a minumum. During last season, Lawson made strides in becoming a strong perimeter shooter. Last season, North Carolina really went as Lawson went, which was shown in key losses (Gonzaga, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Georgetown) and significant wins (Duke, Boston College, Michigan State). This season, Lawson needs to become a better free throw shooter and develop more of a mid-range game. He needs to become more consistent from the perimeter to make up for his small frame.

Ryan Anderson, SG
Anderson is a 6'4", 195 pound shooting guard who comes from Seattle, Washington. Anderson shoots the ball well from the perimeter, but was overlooked by a handful of teams from the northwest. Anderson started the season strong, but was very inconsistent during Big 12 play. In twelve pre-Big 12 season games Anderson played in, he scored double figures in seven of them, including 19 against Creighton, 17 against Rutgers, 15 against Oregon, and 29 against Hawaii. Anderson needs to look to be more of an effective passer in the upcoming season. He shot a very high percentage, especially from the free throw and three point line, which he will need to maintain. Nebraska will look to improve on their 17-14 record from last season, and Anderson will certainly be a big part of this.

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