One-on-One: Who is the best freshman in NCAA basketball?

Julius Randle

 Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world there is nothing that is certain except death and taxes.” I feel you can probably add a third certainty to that: a Kentucky Wildcat will go early in the NBA draft.  In John Calipari’s five seasons at UK, a Wildcat has gone in the top six every season.  This time, that player is Julius Randle, who I believe is the best freshmen in college basketball.

Andrew Wiggins has been too inconsistent this season. He managed only six points on 2-9 shooting against UTEP.  This after only 10 points in a loss to Villanova.  As for Jabari Parker, his stats are higher, but he’s played more than 35 minutes every game. Randle hasn’t.

One of the biggest tests for any athlete is how they perform on the biggest stage. For UK, that was a game against Michigan State.  The Wildcats lost by four, but you can’t blame Randle: he shot 64 percent, scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

He doesn’t get a lot of hype probably because people are tired of talking about Kentucky. But his stats and his role on a young Kentucky team prove that he belongs in the conversation with Wiggins and Parker.

 -Garth Shanklin

 

Jabari Parker

 Through the first quarter of the 2013-2014 NCAA basketball season, the focus and hype has not been on the best teams in the nation, or the very heated competition between those teams, but, rather, the amazing talented freshman class of this year.

The one that stands atop the mountain of freshman talent is Duke forward Jabari Parker.

Through the first quarter of the season, the Chicago product has shown why he belongs at the top of the college game. Through eight games, he has averaged 23 points, eight rebounds and is shooting 55 percent from the floor, all while fellow freshman Andrew Wiggins has been garnering all the attention.

The 6-foot-8-inch, 235-pound Parker plays the power forward position for Duke, but passes the ball and attacks the basket very well for his size. Parker also has a natural shot that may be the best among all freshmen.

The only negative to Parker’s game is that he isn’t very fast moving laterally across the court, which he makes up for on defense with his astounding 7-foot wingspan.

In a year where freshman talent rules the NCAA, Kentucky may take the title, but Jabari Parker is by far the best player.

-Chris Kwiecinski