While there isn’t a Zion Williamson in this class, the 2019 recruiting class has tons of upside and talent. These incoming freshman will look to make an immediate impact on their respective squads in the fall. Here are five freshmen to keep an eye on in college hoops next season:
Cole Anthony, North Carolina
The son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony, Cole, is headed to Chapel Hill to play for Roy Williams. Anthony is the number two overall player in the ESPN100 and rated as the best point guard in the country. He has tremendous athleticism and explosiveness, but can still improve on his leadership abilities. He’ll need to, as next year he replaces Coby White at point guard, who declared for the NBA Draft after his freshman season. Anthony also won MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game, putting up 14 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
Nico Mannion, Arizona
The Scottsdale, Arizona product is staying home to play for the Arizona Wildcats. Despite his future program and head coach being under scrutiny for recruiting violations regarding De’Andre Ayton, Nico Mannion will look to make an immediate contribution next season. ESPN ranks him as the eighth overall player and number two point guard behind Cole Anthony. Mannion is an elite ball-handler and is terrific at creating his own shot.
James Wiseman, Memphis
The number one overall recruit in the country will also be playing his freshman season for his hometown team. James Wiseman, who chose Memphis over Kentucky, North Carolina and many others, will be playing for former NBA great Penny Hardaway.
Wiseman is a unique player in that he stands 7-foot tall and is left-handed, so he automatically presents a challenge to the opposition. He has great hands and mobility on his feet for his size, and has a ton of upside.
Samuell Williamson, Louisville
Ranked as the 23rd player in the class, many are comparing Williamson’s game to Jayson Tatum. At 6-foot-7, he has tremendous size for a small forward, allowing him to shoot over his defender. He’s the first player ever out of Texas to commit to the Cardinals, and may find himself starting next season. With Jordan Nwora flirting with the NBA Draft and junior V.J. King transferring, Williamson may see significant playing time as a freshman.
Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky
Big Blue Nation is getting a flashy shooting guard next season in Tyrese Maxey. He has all the tools in the bag, as he can hit the mid-range shot and shots beyond the arc, as well as handle and dish the ball. Maxey is rated the 12th overall player in the 2019 class, and is one of three ESPN100 prospects committed to Kentucky. Look for Tyrese to make an immediate impact in Lexington next season, as most freshmen tend to do under John Calipari.