SEASON PREVIEW 2002-03 | TOP FRESHMEN
Every year, I get excited when the freshmen arrive. When these new kids on the block enter college, some succeed, while others have trouble blending in.
On the high-school level, these kids were all known as The Man -- they had the rock in their hands and took all the big shots while coasting on the defensive end. But the college game is at a quicker pace, and sometimes these players have a difficult time as the third option instead of the first one.
Here are the freshmen who I feel will step in and become diaper dandies as immediate factors right out of high school:
1. Raymond Felton | Guard | North Carolina
|North Carolina will rely on Raymond Felton to point the way this season.|
The Tar Heels need help at the point-guard slot, and coach Matt Doherty couldn't find a better talent than Felton. He will be brilliant, a dominant performer from Day 1. He will make his teammates better.
2. Carmelo Anthony | Forward | Syracuse
Syracuse fans and the coaching staff are excited that Anthony said "no" to the NBA and "yes" to the Orange. He could be the best diaper dandy in the Jim Boeheim era by the end of the season. The staff raves about his talent. Look for a big year from this baseline performer.
3. Jason Fraser | Forward | Villanova
The alums are jumping for joy over the Wildcats' recruiting class. The leader is Fraser, a premier shot-blocker and defensive presence. When he learns how to perform a bit better on the offensive end as a complete player, watch out.
It will be interesting to see Fraser, from Amityville, N.Y., opening in Madison Square Garden against Marquette in the AT&T Wireless Classic (formerly known as the Coaches vs Cancer Classic). Think he'll be excited to play in front of the New Yorkers?
4. Chris Bosh | Forward | Georgia Tech
Coach Paul Hewitt did an excellent job recruiting, and the multitalented Bosh should become a PTPer from day one. As a senior, Bosh was named high school player of the year by Basketball America and was the Mr. Basketball of Texas. He led Lincoln High to a 40-0 record and the Texas state championship last season (Lincoln was also named USA Today's high school national champion).
5. Paul Davis | Center-Forward | Michigan State
The arrival of Davis is one of the reasons I like the Spartans as the favorites in the Big Ten. He's a skilled big man who can perform inside or outside. Coach Tom Izzo has to be thrilled to have Davis in the lineup.