Well guys its that time of year again, this time last year we brought you our first edition of our “Under-the-radar” list and we’re back at it again. Granted, this year doesn’t have a large load of potential number one picks that could cause a couple players to be lost in the shuffle, but needless to say there are some gems that are going unnoticed. This year features a crop of talent that will add to the overall depth of their respective teams, but over time turn into the role players that can help change the face of their programs.
Lets be honest folks, fans can count off numerous players who were not your average lottery picks, but later on down the line turned into complete studs. So just take this list as a “told you so” moment for when that time comes. That said, take a peek at the future “Diaper Dandies” of tomorrow and start circling some “must-see” games on your calendar.
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10. Ahmed Hill
School: Virginia Tech
The former Marquette commit signed on to follow Buzz Williams down to Tech, and it might have been the best move the young kid could possibly make. First off, Hill is a big difference maker on court. The high-flying Georgia native is known for his out-of-the-building jumping ability, but more importantly his ability to put the ball in the hoop and defend at his position. It’s his durability and aggressiveness on defense that separates him from his peers. With the recent transfer of Maryland point guard Seth Allen to the Hokies, Ahmed Hill has a backcourt mate he can get buckets with, but he’ll also receive a helping of on-court experience at the Division I level.
9. Paul White
To put it simply, Georgetown has a complete stud in Paul White. Although he was overshadowed by his teammate Jahlil Okafor (he’s going to be a problem) this past season at Whitney Young, this lengthy forward will definitely be mentioned among the elites. With his stifling ability on D and his ability to guard people at multiple positions, its safe to say Paul White will be on the radar of opponents.
The combo forward has great abilities on the offensive side and can finish with contact around the rim. He’s a combo forward who can score in multiple ways and will be expected to help anchor this Georgetown team that was clearly the worst defensive team John Thompson III had in some years.
8. Shaqquan Aaron
Thats the perfect word to describe the small forward from Seattle. The 6-7 Kevin Durant-esque forward may be the best wing Rick Pitino “ever” recruited to play for Louisville (his words. not mine). Yes, its apparent he will in fact have to add muscle to his overall frame but he can flat-out play. Adding to the list of players from Seattle to play for Rick Pitino, Shaqquan Aaron is a scorer who can easily find his way to the cup while setting up his teammates to score.
His ability to finish at the rim and create space will be a plus coming into this season. Shaqquan’s arm length will also make it hard for opposing forwards to score, making him a threat on the defensive end. With Louisville’s iconic pressure that seems to engulf opposing squads each year — no matter the personnel– it’s clear Shaqquan will be a vital specimen to the Cardinals this season.
7. Dominic McGhee
This Louisiana native may be the answer to Josh Pastner’s prayers considering the loss of all-conference point guard Joe Jackson. One of the bigger incoming point guards this upcoming season, Dominic stands tall at 6-3 and is a physical guard who can bully slighter opponents with ease. He is a strong guard who is extremely explosive, and if he limits his turnover ratio, can be a very big component for the Tigers this season.
6. Terry Larrier
With the signing of Terry Larrier, this gives the VCU Rams the most touted recruit since 1990 McDonalds All American Kendrick Warren. Larrier is a long athlete and versatile guard wjho can create his own shot. More importantly, in a uptempo system like VCU’s, there’s little doubt he’ll flourish. Terry Larrier is a player who can play the 2-through-4 spots, and with his length he’ll be able to get into the passing lanes and cause all sorts of disruptions for opposing teams.
5. Wade Baldwin IV
Wade Baldwin IV is a very strong combo guard who can get from point A to B in a matter of seconds — a real athlete, like a lot of players on this list. His immense capability to get to the rack and finish at the rim is one of his strong suits and will definitely help Vandy compete this season. He’s a great defender due to his crazy athletic ability, where he’s a menace on the defensive end and can guard on the perimeter as well as rare times when he’s forced to in the paint.
All of these guys are athletes, obviously, but Baldwin IV will have to add some finesse to his game to earn this nod.
4. Dwayne Morgan
His physique and perimeter tools — that’s without mentioning his potential — can be a bit scary. Morgan hails from Baltimore, Md and he’s a complete player who will see sufficient minutes at UNLV this season as a true freshman. Morgan’s already earning comparisons to Rudy Gay, and his relentless work ethic and passion on the defensive end will be a major upgrade for the Runnin’ Rebels this season. With an “attack first” mentality opposing frontcourts will struggle to handle this hybrid player in his first year at the D-1 level.
3. Desi Rodriguez
School: Seton Hall
Most people know his backcourt mate Isaiah Whitehead a bit, but its time you get familiar with Desi Rodriguez. Seton Hall got a major lift with this top-15 recruiting class nominee, and Desi has a lot to do with that. The 6-6 small forward will add some depth to the Pirates this coming season and will be a tough forward to guard. Due to his size and speed, if bigger forwards play off him, he can go right around them. If smaller forwards play him close, he can take them in the post. Being a mobile, athletic forward gives him the ability to guard multiple positions and with his strength he can still play in the post. I look forward to this kid getting some tick on floor this upcoming season.
2. Kaleb Josephs
Last year, we presented you Tyler Ennis the guard who replaced Michael-Carter Williams, and lets just say we had a pretty good pick. This year, we’re taking it back up to Syracuse and going with incoming freshman point guard Kaleb Josephs. Looking to be a successor to Ennis, Kaleb may be playing the same position as his Canadian successor, but he possesses a vastly different playing style. Kaleb will be able to use his freakish athletic ability to break down opponents and finish at the cup. He’s an explosive guard who knows how to use his body against contact and can easily finish above the rim or show off his mid-range. All the stars have aligned for this Nashua guard to help anchor a new ‘Cuse squad.
1. Ja’Quan Newton
Pound for pound the best incoming freshman under the radar goes to the highly touted Ja’Quan Newton. Despite his 180-pound frame, this Philly-bred player is the real deal and he has the hardware to prove it. Coming in as a focal point for the Hurricanes this season, Ja’Quan is a guard who attacks the basket relentlessly. Even at 6-2, he can finish at the rim. He can play both guard spots, and if moved to the point can be a facilitator because he has pretty impressive ball-handling skills. His decision-making is beyond his years and his ability to lock down the best player on the opposing team is a plus. Jim Larranaga is getting a gem in Ja’Quan Newton and with Angel Rodriguez also in the backcourt, Miami has a chance to really turn some heads this season.
What do you think?
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