End of the year 2010 individual player rankins are coming out. As it is with every year there will be top rated players lost in the shuffle on deep, talented teams.
So we’ll take a look at a group of players that will be called upon next fall to make an immediate impact..in no order..
Brandon Knight, Kentucky – Another year, another freshmen point guard for Calipari. Knight will not have the supporting cast that Derrick Rose, John Wall or even Tyreke Evans were placed with. Knight is going to have to live up to his billing for Kentucky to find anywhere near the success they had last season.
Nate Lubick, Georgetown– The big man from Massachusetts could find himself in the starting lineup from Day 1. Greg Monroe leaves a big void to fill and Lubick is the most logical big man to slide in to the starting role. His development is key as Georgetown does return all other 8 scholarship players from last years team. Lubick brings rebounding and an ability to finish at the rim, both assets that the Hoyas have been missing.
Dominique Ferguson, FIU – Isiah Thomas’ first big time recruit. Ferguson has a chance to shine against weaker competition and attempt to start to put FIU on the map. The potential impact that Ferguson could have on FIU and for Thomas’ college coaching and recruiting career is quite large. If he finds success, Isiah might be able to reel in a few more blue chippers.
Fab Melo, Syracuse – Arinze Onauku leaves a gapping hole in the back of the zone that it appears Dashonte Riley is not ready to fill. Melo will be the odds on favorite to win the starting job and hold down the paint. He has a well rounded game and size that most other bigs will not possess on the college level. He can make a large impact that leaves Syracuse again towards the top of the Big East.
Ray McCallum and Trey Zeigler, Detroit and Central Michigan – Both elected to play in small conferences for their fathers. Both will now be expected to be Stephen Curry 2.0. And unfair expectation to carry. I imagine the burden within the household to carry will be as much as on the team. They will have the chance to start from day 1 and lead their teams to conference titles while increasing the profiles of both programs.
Adreian Payne, Michigan State- With Delvon Roe’s constant nagging injuries and Draymond Green’s lack of height, Michigan State is desperate for height and athleticism, Payne brings both to the table. He, when chooses to can be a beast on the glass. It is not Tom Izzo’s job to get it out of him on a nightly basis.
Kyrive Irving, Duke – The best point guard Coach K will have had since Jason Williams. So may say Irving is more advanced at this point in his career. He will be the beneficiary of playing next to Nolan Smith who will act as a secondary ball handler and someone able to play the point guard spot in spot minutes. Duke does lose three starters and starting point guard Jon Scheyer. If Duke wants to attempt to make a run for back to back titles, Irving has to be as advertised.
Josh Smith’s weight, UCLA- Josh Smith can play and at least be a presence if on the floor next year. The issue is his weight, which has ballooned after an injury in the fall. Based on his appearance in HS All Star games he hasn’t done a good job of taking it off. The weight must disappear this summer and early fall for Smith to make a substantial impact. If he does, UCLA will bounce back from a dreadful year, if not, it could be more of the same.
Perry Jones, Baylor – When you watch Perry Jones go up and down the court, he just looks….different. He can run the floor like a gazelle at 6’11 and has a college ready body right now. He likely will have to play in the paint with the absence of Epke Udoh. He and Quincy Acy will form a formidable athletic duo. Jones is going to have to emerge as someone who can go get a basket for Baylor to try to repeat their success of 2010.
The trio of Joe Jackson, Will Barton and Jelan Kendrick, Memphis – Could it be possible the best back court in the country will consist of 3 freshmen? Memphis fans after a down year with Calipari leaving the cupboard bare will be eager to win. And this trio, all McDonald’s All American’s will be expected to return Memphis to CUSA domination.
The trio of Kendall Marshall, Reggie Bullock and Harrison Barnes, UNC- Another trio of McDonald’s All Americans. They will be asked upon to bring scoring and play making to the perimeter for the Tar Heels, which last years squad was lacking severely. Bullock might be the forgotten man here with an early commitment but he and Harrison Barnes should make the biggest impact. Marshall should not be expected to fix the PG woes just yet. The pressure will be on for a bounce back year, in a big way.
Eric Atkins, Notre Dame– Four year starter Tory Jackson finally moves on from the point guard position for Notre Dame. The keys to Mike Brey’s well tuned offense now likely fall into the hands of Atkins, a D.C. product. As with Kyrie Irving, Atkins will benefit from having a secondary ball handler next to him, in that of Ben Hansbrough. Notre Dame does return some talent and it will be up to Atkins to make a return trip to the NCAA’s.
Taran Buie, Penn State– Big brother Talor needs help at State College, lots of it. Taran Buie the younger brother of Talor, should at the very least provide scoring punch. Since his commitment and then re-location to Pennsylvania, Buie has almost become a forgotten prospect. But the 6’3 combo guard should instantly infuse more talent and scoring into the Nittany Lion back court that will help pull out a few more Big 10 wins next season. Given that the brothers will only have one year to play together, the pressure is on.
Daryl Traynham, UMASS– Traynham has seen a large amount of buzz with this past season and an impressive showing at the Derby Classic. Under sized, but lighting quick, Traynham will bring an excitement and an infusion of talent that Derek Kellogg is desperately in need of at Umass. Traynahm will likely be given a lot of freedom from the jump.
Ian Miller, Florida State– Florida State does return a trio of guards in Kitchen, Snaer, and Dulkys but none are true point guards. Ian Miller can be and it’s been a void for Florida State recently. They are desperate for scoring and whether Miller can do that himself or facilitate for others it would be a welcome addition.
Michael Cobbins, Oklahoma State– Oklahoma State and Travis Ford have toughness, quickness and athleticism. They’ve been missing height and length up front. Cobbins is a bouncy, 6’9 forward that should help solve that issue. His ability to run the floor should suit him well in Ford’s system. With Marshall Moses and Matt Pilgrim around he may not be asked for too much off the bat but his size will be needed next season.
Gary Franklin, Cal– Franklin will face the challenge of filling a large pair of shoes left by All American candidate Jerome Randle. Unfortunately for Franklin, also gone are Theo Robertson and Pat Christopher, leaving a very thin roster with limited offensive options.
Cameron Clark, Oklahoma – The Sooners and Jeff Capel need some type of hope, anything. Clark a highly touted recruit can at least bring talent into a dire roster in need of it. He will be asked to put points on the board from the first game to try and avoid a second straight terrible year.
Aaron Craft, Jordan Sibert, Lenzelle Smith, Ohio State– Another year and another mystery at point guard for Thad Matta. This time it is more difficult as there is no Evan Turner still hanging around. Diebler, Lighty and Buford are talented wing players but none capable of moving over to play point guard for extended stretches. The dilemma is which one do you take off the floor? Either way, this trio of freshmen guards can hopefully provide at least one player to be capable of giving 15-20 quality minutes at the point guard position to provide balance and direction. Otherwise OSU is a Top 10 team putting the pressure on this need.