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College Basketball: Freshmen Who Can Take The Next Step Part 2

College Basketball: Freshmen who can Take the Next Step Part 2

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:

Tre Jones, Guard, Duke

Jones is an elite on-ball defender who is arguably the best defender in the country. His active hands create turnovers and he stays in front is as good as anyone in the country. Also, he rebounds well for his size and gets out in transition well. He’ll be the leader for Duke and be the anchor of the defense. The biggest improvement needs to be for him to become a consistent shooter who can be reliable from mid-range and deep. He’s good at attacking the basket and finishing with runners and off balanced layups.

2018-19 averages: 9.4 points 3.8 rebounds 5.3 assists 41.4 FG% 26.2 3pt%

Joe Weiskcamp, Guard, Iowa

Weiskcamp is a very good shooter from the perimeter and is able to dribble penetrate for mid-range jumpers. He moves without the ball very well and is always shot ready. He can post up in mismatches and is a solid driver but can improve his finishing ability. He’s a good defender with his size and length as he contests all shots very well.

2018-19 averages: 11.1 points 4.9 rebounds 1.1 assists 48.8 FG% 42.4 3pt%

Ashton Hagans, Guard, Kentucky

Ashton Hagans (Photo by

Hagans needs to improve more as a go-to scorer with the ability to shoot, as well as being more of a distributor getting in drives to pass and attack. He’s a good on-ball defender who has lateral quickness. He can get a little lazy in off-ball defense.

2018-19 averages: 7.7 points 2.6 rebounds 4.3 assists 46.7 FG% 27.5 3pt%


Jalen Smith, Forward, Maryland

Smith is super athletic and is very active on the boards. He must improve his body to become stronger to operate on the interior. Smith is solid around the basket who can clean up misses well but needs to develop a go-to move in the post. He can step away and hit perimeter shots. He will only continue to improve his percentages. As a rim runner, he runs the floor very well. He’s a really good rim protector who alters a lot of shots. He has the ability to continue to improve and be a top 15 pick in the NBA draft in 2020.

2018-19 averages: 11.7 points 6.8 rebounds 0.9 assists 49.2 FG% 26.8 FG%

Andrew Nembhard, Guard, Florida

Nembhard is a good distributor and is solid off of ball screen action. He has very good size and length, which makes him a really good on-ball defender. Nembhard operates well in the middle of the lane, however, needs to be more assertive as a scorer. He rebounds very well for a guard, but can struggle to recover and close out on shooters.

2018-19 averages: 8.0 points 2.9 rebounds 5.4 assists 41.4 FG% 34.7 3pt%

Immanuel Quickley, Guard, Kentucky

He has the ability to hit spot-up threes and relocates effectively. Quickley needs to become a more consistent shooter along with looking to attack the basket more. He’s athletic and is a long defender who moves well laterally. If he becomes a more consistent offensive threat, he, Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey will be one of the best two-way backcourts in the country.

2018-19 averages: 5.2 points 1.8 rebounds 1.2 assists 37.2 FG% 34.5 3pt%

Devon Dotson, Guard, Kansas

Dotson is arguably the fastest player with the ball in the country making him great in transition. His ability to go off of a ball screen going downhill is dynamic and he has finishing ability around the basket. He’s a good distributor, but he can be more consistent and look to create for others more. Dotson is a solid three-point shooter, but could take another step there as well. He is a really good defender and is very active. With his small size, he can get under players. His lateral quickness is top-level and he is good on the boards considering his size.

2018-19 averages: 12.3 points 3.7 rebounds 3.5 assists 48.2 FG% 36.3 3pt%

Ayo Dosunmu, Guard, Illinois

Dosunmu has very good size and is a long defender who can cause major problems for guards. He is an active defender and rebounds well too, allowing him to immediately push in transition. Being a great athlete, he can get to the basket but must improve being smoother with better control. Dosunmu has great energy with the ball and is a good distributor for others. In order for him to take the next step, he needs to be a more confident and consistent perimeter shooter.

2018-19 averages: 13.8 points 4.0 rebounds 3.3 assists 43.5 FG% 35.2 3pt%

Will Richardson, Guard, Oregon

He has the ability to get dribble penetration towards the basket, but needs to be able to finish better on both sides. Richardson is solid with step-in three’s however he needs to be able to shoot more effectively against defensive pressure. He is a tough player who gives great effort on defense and has solid size, but quicker guards can give him trouble.

2018-19 averages: 6.0 points 2.4 rebounds 2.5 assists 46.8 FG% 27.8 3pt%

Courtney Ramey, Guard, Texas

Ramey is primarily a spot-up shooter who helps spread the floor for. He must be able to diversify his game to take that next step. Further, he has to continue to evolve as a driver and increase his ability to push in transition to make plays happen. The ability to distribute for Ramey is there as well. His effort given on defense is great, as he is a savvy defender with his technique and ability to defend at a high level consistently.

2018-19 averages: 8.1 points 3.3 rebounds 3.1 assists 38.5 FG% 38.6 3pt%

Francis Okoro, Forward, Oregon

He has a good jump hook over his left shoulder with his right hand, but must improve his left hand. He has good feet for a big who can help on the perimeter if he gets caught on a switch. Okoro is a very good communicator and his ball screen defense is good with his interior positioning on defense. Okoro is a decent athlete, but not anything special.

2018-19 averages: 3.1 points 3.2 rebounds 0.2 assists 46.9 FG%


Marcus Bingham Jr., Forward, Michigan State

He will have an increased role next season with Kenny Goins graduating and Nick Ward potentially staying in the draft. He fits the mold of a Michigan State big. Bingham has the ability to step away and make perimeter jump shots. He is a very long and athletic player who should improve greatly in the offseason with further skill development and building his body. Bingham is going to be a very good defender in ball screen action and has the ability to alter shots.

2018-19 averages: 1.0 points 1.1 rebounds 0.3 assists 28.6 FG%

Leaky Black, Forward, North Carolina

He rebounds well with the energy he plays with. Black will be very dangerous in transition with his speed. His overall skill development on offense needs to improve so he can be a consistent offensive threat. He has a pretty good perimeter jump shot, however, he must be able to cut and move without the ball better. Black is a very long, athletic player who competes defensively. His size will help him continue to be a good defender who can guard 1-3. The lateral quickness must improve a tad to be a great defender.

2018-19 averages: 2.5 points 2.1 rebounds 1.2 assists 46.9 FG% 41.7 3pt%

Eric Alaya, Guard, Maryland

Alaya is a very good shooter who spreads the floor and moves without the ball well. He’s not a great athlete, but plays with a high IQ. Alaya gives them good consistency who will use head fakes to move defenders to get shots off and attack the basket. He could use a mid-range jumper to compliment his outside shooting ability. He has good hands defensively and uses his smarts with good angles and technique. He’s a solid all-around player who contributes at both ends.

2018-19 averages: 8.6 points 2.9 rebounds 2.1 assists 43.0 FG% 40.6 3pt%


James Akinjo, Guard, Georgetown

He’s a really good distributor setting up his teammates to succeed. Akinjo brings good effort defensively, as he’s quick and plays with active hands. He can cause issues for guards with getting under them to force turnovers. His midrange game is solid being able to finish with runners or distributing to others. His driving ability is there with a quick first step. The production should only continue as he further develops his skills and body hoping to lead Georgetown to the NCAA tournament next season.

2018-19 averages: 13.4 points 2.9 rebounds 5.2 assists 36.5 FG% 39.1 3pt%

Images Courtesy of, Baltimore Sun, Courier-Journal, Duke Chronicle Pinterest, Statesman Journal

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