Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Freshmen, not seniors, will rule the roost in 2016-17

November 7, 2016 Columns No Comments

Every season of college basketball has its own themes and patterns. Some seasons have similar ones to prior seasons, though it’s rare for two seasons in a row to be the same. 2015-16 was the Year of the Senior, a season in which seniors featured as prominently in the college game as they have in a long time. This year, we should have no expectation of a repeat. If you like seniors in college basketball, hopefully you enjoyed last season while it was here.

2016-17 should see freshmen return to the center of attention. And it probably won’t even be close.

The incoming class of freshmen is much better this time around than a year ago. It is more talented, but also deeper, with more who are ready to make an impact and, if you ask NBA scouts, more who are likely to only be on campus for a season. Two early mock drafts – naturally, without regard to who will select in each draft slot since we have no way of knowing that now – have incoming freshmen comprising the first five overall selections in the 2017 NBA Draft and the first seven American college players selected (with an international player mixed in).

Look at many of the teams projected to contend for a national title this year, and most of them are full of talented freshmen. To be sure, veteran players will play a key role on many teams, but in all they are dwarfed by the freshmen in terms of numbers and expectations.

Let’s just go down a list to start:

  • Duke is expected to contend largely on account of what we expect the freshman quartet of Harry Giles (if healthy), Jayson Tatum, Frank Jackson and Marques Bolden.
  • Kentucky should rule the SEC once again and be a national title contender largely on account of what Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones will give them.
  • Kansas is expected to win another Big 12 title behind the likes of super freshman Josh Jackson, with a lot of help from big man Udoka Azubuike.
  • Michigan State should be more talented, though younger, spearheaded by freshmen Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston and Josh Langford.

But you don’t have to look only to teams who could play during the final weekend to see the impact that is expected. They will be difference-makers elsewhere, too.

  • Auburn welcomes a heralded class led by Mustapha Heron, and that will have the Tigers attempting to surge toward the top half of an SEC.
  • Alterique Gilbert will immediately be a key part of a very talented backcourt at UConn.
  • Zach Collins is expected to add nicely to Gonzaga’s already-big front line.
  • Miami’s rebuilding will get plenty of help from freshmen Dewan Huell, their first McDonald’s All-American since Darius Rice, and Bruce Brown, who won many games in high school and closed out with a prep school title.
  • Ben Howland continues to rebuild Mississippi State behind a class led by Mario Kegler and Eli Wright.
  • Dennis Smith is technically a redshirt freshman since he enrolled for the second semester last year at NC State, but he is a freshman all the same (and graduated high school early) and will make a big impact for the Wolfpack.
  • Jaylen Fisher should be a key piece right away as Jamie Dixon tries to rebuild TCU.
  • Jarrett Allen will give Texas a big boost in Shaka Smart’s second season.
  • Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf lead a cast that hopes to help UCLA move back up in the Pac-12 standings after a disappointing finish last year.
  • Markelle Fultz should make a big impact right away for Washington, who could get in the top half of the Pac-12 if the supporting cast gets better.

That doesn’t cover it all, but it gives you the idea. Freshmen will be at the center of so much of what happens this season.

Many other freshmen will play important but reduced roles alongside veterans, essentially waiting their turn. That happens often, including last year. This time around, though, we should see more freshmen being the driving force of their teams, and that includes leading some of the best teams. While this also makes each team a bit high-risk, we know they can also be high-reward teams as well, as recent national champion teams from Kentucky and Duke that were driven by freshmen showed us.

If you like veteran players and especially seniors, hopefully you enjoyed last season. This season is going to be a little different.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about several big pieces of news away from game play, one of which puts a lot in perspective. We also talk about the lack of dominant teams and how this has shown up in the results, especially this past weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 4, 2018

January 4, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with a big game in the Big East, then move on to the sudden lack of undefeated teams, a big injury in the ACC, and a powerhouse that looks vulnerable in a stacked conference they have long ruled.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a bizarre finish to an early-season tournament game, the Pac-12’s early struggles, Florida teams going in different directions and two northeast teams trending less relevant even as they excite fans at a famous arena.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 by

In our pre-Thanksgiving podcast, we look at a key injury that is likely to be devastating for his team and an under-the-radar 4-0 week, then move on to some early SEC impressions and a couple of teams that just continue to win.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.