News, thoughts and more from the world of college sports across the nation and Long Island.
The best freshmen class ever?
Aaron Gordon, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins are four names you will hear over and over again.
And the hype won’t end anytime soon.
Some are calling this the best freshman class ever. Most believe all four (assuming they all declare) will be among the top five picks in the draft. Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart might be a top four selection.
If the early returns on the four “Super Freshmen” are a foreshadowing of what is to come, the 2014 NBA draft could indeed rank as one of the best ever.
Former Hofstra coach Mo Cassara, now an ESPN college basketball analyst, is impressed with all four. Here are his top 5 picks in next June’s NBA draft: Parker, Randle, Wiggins, Smart, Gordon.
Not everyone is totally enamored with them, though. Iona’s Sean Armand, who had 14 points against Kansas on Tuesday, thought Wiggins left something to be desired.
“Of course this kid is the headline on ESPN. Overrated,” Armand Tweeted.
Wiggins shot 4-for-9 and finished with 13 points in the Jayhawks 86-66 win.
Wiggins, a 6-8 swing man who had 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting in a 94-83 win at Duke earlier this season, is indeed the real deal, according to just about everyone who covers the sport.
Kansas has a big matchup vs. Florida on Dec. 10, which will feature Wiggins against Gators talented senior forward Casey Prather.
Parker, a 6-8 forward with great range (he’s hit 13 of 20 three-pointers) and the ability to go inside, has scored 21 or more points in every game for Duke this season, including 27 in the Blue Devils loss to Kansas.
Randle has had a double-double in every game for Kentucky this season. His best game was arguably a 27-point, 13-rebound performance in the Wildcats 78-74 loss Michigan State. The 6-9, 250-pound native of Dallas grades out as a prototypical NBA power forward.
Randle will have at least three more high profile games (Baylor, North Carolina, Louisville) to showcase his talents before SEC play begins.
Gordon, because he plays on the west coast, is the least heralded of the four. But he can’t be overlooked. His all-around game will help lead Arizona (5-0) back to national prominence.
Unlike the other three, the 6-9, 225-pound forward hasn’t played against the top competition. He had 12 points in an 87-59 blowout of Richmond on Tuesday.
Gordon’s first big test will come against Michigan on December 14.