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College Basketball: Freshmen who can Take the Next Step Part 1

Freshman to Take Next Step Part 1

These freshmen are looking to take the next step in their games. They will go from being good players to top-level players. The following is a breakdown on each player’s skill set and the areas they need to make improvements on to take their game to that next level.

Here are some freshman looking to take that next step:

Kihei Clark, Guard, Virginia

Clark is an elite on-ball defender and a very scrappy player. He sets the tone defensively for Virginia and will be the primary guard in the backcourt with the departures of Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome. He is a high IQ player, a good distributor and gets to the basket well. The area he must improve upon most is becoming a more reliable shooter.

2018-2019 averages: 4.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 35 FG%

Nate Hinton, Guard, Houston

College Basketball: Freshmen Looking to take the next step
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Hinton is a very athletic player who can push the ball in transition very well. Primarily, he is a mid-range shooter who can hit threes, but must become a more efficient shooter. He can really get to the basket when he wants to. Hinton has the length and athleticism to guard the guards and wings. He will replace Corey Davis and Galen Robinson and will be joined by Dejon Jarreau and Armoni Brooks in the backcourt.

2018-2019 averages: 7.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 31.9 FG%.

Kira Lewis Jr., Guard, Alabama

Lewis can really get to the basket and finish with runners. He’s a good shooter, but not great. Lewis has good length and quickness to keep up defensively, however, he lacks an urgency which causes him to get beat in situations he shouldn’t. He becomes vulnerable in ball screen action and needs to have more of a motor on the defensive end.

2018-2019 averages: 13.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 43.3 FG%

Trevion Williams, Forward, Purdue

Williams has a good jump hook to his right-hand and a solid drop step to his right. He is active in getting post position and is a good screener. Williams is also a solid rebounder, but needs to develop a left hand and become a better decision maker. He does a decent job of helping and recovering in ball screen action. He doesn’t have the best foot speed and can get attacked by quicker bigs. Williams communicates well and gives good effort on defense. This freshman is looking to take that next step in his game and become a dominant force.

2018-2019 averages 5.2 points 4.0 rebounds 0.5 assists 54.2 FG%

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Saddiq Bey, 6-foot-8, Forward, Villanova

Can hit perimeter jumpers rebounds very well. Spaces the floor well needs to be able to attack the basket at a higher rate. Very capable of taking the next step offensively as there is a need for more offense with the loss of Eric Paschall and Phil Booth. Brings versatility defensively has good size and length matched with speed and athleticism. Can guard 1-4 can become a very good defender plays with great energy and continued development. This freshman is looking to take that next step in his game.

Averaged 8.2 points 5.1 rebounds 1.3 assists 45.8 FG%

Aaron Henry, 6-foot-6, Forward, Michigan State

Henry is solid offensively and takes high percentage shots. He is capable of hitting threes and mid-range jumpers. His rebounding ability allows him to get second chance opportunities. Henry is sneaky athletic, as well as a very well rounded player, who could take the next step filling in for Matt McQuaid next to Joshua Langford. He can get to the basket in full control and finish strong. Plays with good size and length defensively and is always in good position. The one improvement he can make is to have something in his game stand out and be great at something, because he is already very solid across all areas.

2018-2019 averages: 6.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 49.5 FG%


EJ Montgomery, Forward, Kentucky

This freshman is looking to take that next step in his game and will have to fill in next to Nate Sestina. The void must be filled from the losses of P.J. Washington and Reid Travis. Montgomery brings very good energy, athleticism and length. He needs to become stronger to be a force in the post. Montgomery can finish around the basket with a good mid-range jumper, but needs to develop as a more consistent threat. Montgomery has the body and tools to take the next step, but the key is for his skill development and body to improve for him to take off.

2018-2019 averages: 3.8 points, 4.1 rebounds,  0.4 assists, 48.0 FG%

Aaron Wiggins, Guard, Maryland

College Basketball: Freshmen Looking to take the next step
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Wiggins is a very good shooter, who moves without the ball well. He Creates spacing and is always shot ready with the ability to stop on a dime for a mid-range jumper. He has the athleticism and ability to become a more dynamic offensive threat by going downhill for more attacks to the basket. He doesn’t have the best feet on defense and has trouble staying in front. Wiggins lacks great length, but has good size and needs to be more consistent on that end.

2018-2019 averages: 8.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 38.5 FG%, 41.3 3pt%


Taseshon Cherry, Forward, Arizona State

His ability to use his size to shoot over the top for a mid-range jumper is good. He is used in pick and roll action a lot and is dangerous in that set. He can push the ball in transition and is a threat on the perimeter as well as around the basket. He has good size, but lacks foot speed and good defensive positioning so he really struggled on defense. Cherry needs to become a more capable defender.

2018-2019 averages: 5.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 39.1 FG%

Kyler Edwards, Guard, Texas Tech

Edwards can really shoot the ball and displays confidence doing so. He can shoot very well off the dribble and attack as well. Furthermore, he will be a volume shooter and scorer with the losses of Matt Mooney and Jarrett Culver. Edwards has really good energy and positioning on defense with the length and anticipation abilities. He’s a candidate to be a breakout player in the Big 12 and the country.

2018-2019 averages: 5.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 41.3 FG%, 44.9 3pt%


Daniel Oturu, Center, Minnesota

Oturu is a very good second chance rebounder and solid finisher around the basket. He can extend to mid-range and the three-point line occasionally but still must improve his shot. Oturu is active on offense and can use the pick and roll with slips effectively. He has good athleticism, but can get beat physically in the post when given up positioning. He will help and recover well, however, must improve his interior defense.

2018-2019 averages: 10.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 55 FG%

Aaron Nesmith, Guard, Vanderbilt

Nesmith has all the physical tools to be a very good player moving forward and a first-round pick in the NBA draft. he is good in pick and roll and moves without the ball very well. Nesmith needs to become a more consistent shooter. He’s very good on off ball screens. Nesmith has the size to be a good defender, but needs to be more engaged on defense to take that next step.

2018-2019 averages: 11.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 39.2 FG%


Keyonte Johnson, Forward, Florida

Johnson is an offensive threat who can extend the defense with the ability to shoot. He can get to the basket effectively and is a very good cutter, who loves attacking with his left hand. If he can get stronger. he will be able to get to the basket at will and be able to defend at a higher level. Johnson needs better positioning on defense, and with his lack of lateral movement, hurts his ability to help and recover.

2018-2019 averages: 8.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 47.0 FG%

Derek Culver, Forward, West Virginia

College Basketball: Freshmen looking to take the Next step
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Culver has the physical tools to become a well-rounded player. He faces up and attacks at a strong level. He is active in moving into position to get the ball. Culver is a high energy player who rebounds extremely well. Furthermore, he needs more skill development to become a matchup problem and an all-Big 12 performer. Culver is a solid rim protector because of his motor and ability to help.

2018-2019 averages: 11.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 45.6 FG%


Trey McGowens, 6-foot-3 Guard, Pittsburgh

He can attack gaps in the lane to create good shots. McGowens can shoot it and is a well-rounded offensive player. He must have more control and be composed at times to be more effective. Also, if he can increase his ability to create for others his game will take that next step. McGowens gives good energy on defense  and has the length to make plays in the passing lanes. This freshman is looking to take that next step in his game in order to get Pittsburgh to the next level.

2018-2019 averages: 11.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 41.7 FG%


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