For those of us who follow the recruiting process, rankings aren’t always an accurate data point when measuring the likelihood of immediate success at the collegiate level. Sometimes, the biggest factor is player retention. Which freshman will be given an opportunity? Sometimes the biggest factor is “fit”. How does this new crop of talented freshman adapt to playing for a new coach in a new system? Sometimes it’s maturity. How do these first year players handle being away from home for the first time? How do they handle balancing their training and school work?
There are many factors which contribute to the immediate success of a particular freshmen class. It’s the reason rankings are more feel than they are science. Most of the 2013 class is now committed and the early entry date to declare for the NBA Draft is behind us. Armed with more information we look at 15 players ready to make an instant impact on College Basketball in the fall.
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15. JOEL EMBIID, Kansas (7-0, C)
There is no doubt Joel Embiid has the tools to one day be a lottery pick. The question is how quickly will he transform from prospect to player? Lately, there’s been enough evidence to suggest it’s going to happen faster than many expected. It feels like the calm before the storm. Embiid has the talent and opportunity to emerge as a one-and-done star for Kansas. Jeff Withey is gone and a vacancy in the middle is ripe for the picking. Embiid can protect the rim, rebound his area, and make shots out to 10 feet. As his feel for the game improves, the sky is the limit for the international big man. His freshman year might be similar to what we saw with Andre Drummond at Uconn. Early in the season he might even look like he’s running wind sprints while there is a high level basketball game going on around him. But eventually the light is going to come on. When it does, he’s going to shoot up this board.