College and Pro Hoops Top 10 Incoming Freshmen: 2017-18 Season

Deandre Ayton; Credit – Nike

By Ryan Touhey,

1. Deandre Ayton 7’0/220 Center (Arizona): The senior from Hillcrest Academy is miles ahead of the field and a force to be reckoned with. With a physique (7’5 wingspan) and skillset that has been compared to the likes of NBA players such as Kevin Garnett, Ayton has the potential to shake up the Pac-12 for the Wildcats. According to Draftexpress.com, Ayton possesses a tremendous amount of speed, agility and coordination, which includes him being capable of executing a 17-foot jump shot. Ayton is extremely quick up and down the court and in the paint, he is virtually untouchable. His frame easily allows to block shots and protect the rim. He is also a very good free-throw shooter and a rebounding machine. He does have a few weaknesses, which includes too many jump shots, and the fact he can fiddle too much with ball and not use his strength and size to his advantage. He shot 60.2% in the Nike EYBL and was also named to the 2017 McDonald’s All-American West Team.

 

2. Michael Porter Jr. 6’9/220 (Washington): The forward has the unique experience of playing for former Portland Trail Blazer star Brandon Roy at Nathan Hale High School. He was heavily scouted and offered a spot at numerous colleges, including Oklahoma, Indiana, Virginia and Missouri. According to Draftexpress.com and ESPN, Porter’s height is an enormous advantage while on the court. He is nearly flawless when it comes to his jump shot which can easily go beyond the arc, and he also has excellent footwork on 1-2 dribble pull ups. He attained 14 rebounds for every 40 minutes and shot an incredible 86% from the free throw line in 27 Nike EYBL games he played in. While his height comes in handy, he could use some bulking up and gain a bit more muscles in his legs, calves and thighs. He could also improve on moving the ball around a bit more instead of taking off-balanced shots. Porter is also a member of the 2017 McDonald’s All-American West Team.

3. Mohamed Bamba 6’11/210 (Undeclared): Coming in third place is the center from Westtown High in Harlem, New York. According to Draftexpress.com, Bamba has a physique that can be quite intimidating for his opponents in the NCAA. Standing nearly 7’0, and possessing a 7’8 wingspan, Bamba’s ball-handling skills are well-developed and he doesn’t have to rely on his size so much for slam-dunking baskets. His shooting is very accurate, but he could improve a bit on his shots from inside the paint. Bamba is also very intelligent at reading the opponent’s mind while playing on the defensive end. Although he hasn’t committed to any school just yet, he has offers from several prestigious college basketball teams such as Duke, Michigan, Kentucky and Kansas. He was named to the 2017 McDonald’s All-American East Team.

4. Wendell Carter 6’10/246 (Duke): Carter is a center from Pace Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a very agile and athletic player with quick feet and great ball movement. He can shoot with either hand as the guide hand when he is in shooting range, and is capable of executing shots, even when it is crowded in the paint. He does look for an open man at all times and doesn’t fiddle around with the ball so much. Defensively, he is more than capable of blocking shots and was the leader for adidas Nations, as he blocked two per game. He could use some improvement from the free-throw line. He only shot around 60% over the Nike EYBL. Carter also played an integral role, in helping Georgia players attain the Peach Jam title in 2015. He was named the Most Valuable Player. Additionally, he was also named to the 2017 McDonald’s All-American East Team.

5. Trevon Duvall 6’3/183 (Undeclared): The point guard from IMG Academy, has been offered a spot at colleges such as Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Kansas, and Seton Hall. He may not be the tallest basketball player, but his talents and determination are more than enough for him to succeed. According to Nbadraft.net, Duvall has very good mobility. He is able to keep himself under control as he moves around the court with the ball. Duvall is easily able to change his speed at any point during the game, whether he’s running up or down the court. Duvall’s defense is outstanding. He stays low and does an excellent job of setting screens and protecting the rim. He’s always on the lookout for a teammate to be open, and he rebounds well too. He has a tendency though to turn the ball over and sometimes fiddles with it too much. Duval assisted We R1, in winning the Armour Association Finals, where he averaged about 16 points per game with 4.9 assists. Duvall also made history as being among the first athletes from IMG Academy, to be named a McDonald’s All-American.

Michael Porter Jr.; Credit – SI

 

6. Mitchell Robinson 6’11/225 (Western Kentucky): The near 7-footer has made quite the impact during his high school years, and should be a valuable asset for the Hilltoppers. According to ESPN, Robinson’s physique and jump are key tools to his success. Maxpreps.com, has covered two varsity seasons for Robinson. In 31 games last season, Robinson averaged nearly 20 points per game, 7.4 defensive rebounds per game, and 5.2 offensive rebounds per game. This year, he has not slowed down. In 22 games, he has increased his points per game to approximately 26, his defensive rebounds are 6.5, and offensive rebounds are 5.5 per game. Looking closely at these stats, it appears that a weakness Robinson may have, is his tendency to do too much shooting and not enough passing. In his past two high school varsity seasons, Robinson has only managed 0.7 assists per game. Nbadraft.com also stated that Robinson could use confidence boost as well. He has been named the Player of the Game countless times in his high school career, and he was named to the 2017 McDonald’s All-American East Team.

7. Kevin Knox 6’8/205 (Undeclared): The small forward from Tampa Catholic High School, has been offered a spot at Duke, Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina. Scout.com states that Knox is a very athletic basketball player, who has the ability to play at different positions on the court extraordinarily well. He also excels very well on defense, and is always looking for that golden opportunity to grab a rebound. According to Nbadraft.net, Knox has a very strong and accurate shot, that can be virtually taken from anywhere on the basketball court. Knox is also difficult to defend, and he’ll use his size and build to his advantage. If there’s an open lane in the paint and he has the ball, his teammates might as well start running back to the other side of the court and get ready to play defense. Sometimes though, Knox relies too much on his physique and could improve on his ball-handling skills. He was named a 2017 McDonald’s All-American.

8. Brandon McCoy 6’11/244 (Undeclared): Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon, San Diego State, and UNLV are all interested in bring this talented center to their institution. According to ESPN, McCoy’s long arms, high jump, and soft hands, make it nearly impossible for opponents to guard him up. Draftexpress.com stated that he has the ability to run around the court and find different areas to get open. In 40 games for Nike EYBL, Global Challenge and Adidas Nation, McCoy averaged approximately 14 rebounds per 40 minutes. He also scored nearly 22 points for every 40 minutes in those games as well. McCoy does a very well job at protecting the rim while on defense. He averaged 3.1 blocks for every 40 minutes. Although McCoy’s slam dunk is deadly to the opponent, sometimes his regular two-point shots are deadly to himself. He’s under 50%, when he shoots from the two-point range. And even though McCoy’s protecting of the rim comes in handy, he could do a better job at getting prepared at the perimeter. He is a member of the 2017 McDonald’s All-American West Team.

9. Collin Sexton 6’3/175 (Alabama): The shooting guard from Pebblebrook High School is loaded with competitive energy. What’s astonishing about Sexton is that he came into the 2016 Summer League unranked. According to SB Nation, that all changed when he was invited late to try out for America’s U17 Basketball team in Colorado Springs. With a grueling training regimen and determination, Sexton made the team and was the team’s Most Valuable Player. He led the team in points per game at 17, and he made all but one basket against Turkey, when America faced them for a gold medal. Sexton has a variety of important tools that he loves to show off. Draftexpress.com states that he handles the ball with poise, he defends strongly, and is not afraid to get physical. Sexton is incredibly focused and feels that he has something to prove every time he gets ready to play. But sometimes his relentless pursuit of perfection has led him to ignoring his teammates, and making mistakes by trying to show everybody what he is capable of. Sexton is a member of the 2017 McDonald’s All-American East Team.

10. P.J. Washington 6’8/225 (Kentucky): The power forward from Las Vegas was also offered a spot at Arizona, Kansas, and North Carolina. According to Draftexpress.com, Washington is a very versatile basketball player. He is tough to figure out, if you’re defending him. In 58 Nike EYBL and Global Challenge games, Washington scored 23 points for every 40 minutes. He was also close to 60% from two-point shots. Washington also visits the free-throw line quite frequently at 8.9 times for every 40 minutes. He doesn’t do too much shooting and is a very efficient passer. Washington does play from the paint most of the time, and that does affect his three-point shooting drastically. And even though he visits the free-throw line quite a bit, he’s inconsistent with his free-throws, as he’s shot 55.1% from the line. Regardless, his strong frame, athleticism, and determination should be plenty for Kentucky when he arrives next season. Washington is also a member of the 2017 McDonald’s All-American East Team.

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