Mark Owens provides his version of power rankings for the ACC's freshmen.
This is our first stab at putting together these rankings this season, so if you feel we've overlooked someone who should be on the list, just leave us a comment below.
No. 1 - Jabari Parker. Statistically speaking, this is a slam-dunk (pardon the pun). The Duke frosh has dominated sheets in ways virtually no other player in the conference has, regardless of class. He’s currently the ONLY ACC freshman in the top 20 in the following categories:
FG % 6th
Defensive Rebounds 7th
Now, it’s true that Parker has struggled in the young conference season, so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not Duke’s best player can hang on to the top spot. Mostly because of…
No. 2 - Tyler Ennis. Syracuse’s floor general has propelled the Orange to an undefeated start of the season, while doing so in tremendously efficient fashion. In fact, a few notable national media types (ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, for one) actually have Ennis as the No. 1 freshman…in the entire nation. It's undeniable that he's doing what no one else on this list is: leading his undefeated team. And that should count for a whole lotta something. He's got a real test looming this weekend, as his Orange face off with Pitt. And not to get too far ahead of ourselves, an ACC "new classic" showdown against Duke in the Carrier Dome on February 1.
In other words, there's still a lot to see and a lot for Ennis to prove. But from what we've seen so far, the kid has got the goods.
No. 3 - Anthony “Cat" Barber, the former McDonald’s All-America player, has been charged with spearheading N.C. State's offense. Team results are mixed thus far, and Barber’s performances have been reflective of that. His on-again, off-again pattern has really been part of his story for the entirety of this season, seen vividly in the past two games, the first of which was a win against Notre Dame (in which he went for 16 points, though only going 4-12 from the floor) to a blowout loss versus Virginia (where he scored only 3 points with 1 assist and 2 turnovers).
Still, his innate ability is obvious, and he looks to improve with experience. Concerning, however, is his decline in assists…important, given his role as distributor on this team. In the past two games, he’s logged a total of 2 assists, after going for 27 in the 4 games previous.
No. 4 - Ben Emelogu - Right from the start - when he was named a team captain before he'd ever played a game - Emelogu has been asked to carry a very heavy load for Virginia Tech. The 6-4 guard has responded pretty darn well, averaging 11.5 points per game, reaching double figures in eight of the 13 games he's played.
No. 5 - Devin Wilson - At the very least Virginia Tech fans can enjoy watching their backcourt grow up together. Like Emlogu, Wilson's been given a ton of responsiblity by Hokie coach James Johnson. Wilson's had his struggles but he's compiled a decent 5/3 assist/turnover ratio going so far, and is shooting a healthy .475 from the field while scoring 7.2 ppg. There’s not a lot to like on James Johnson’s squad … but Emologu and Wilson are certainly exceptions.
On Wednesday, Wilson was the brightest spot (he went for 14 pts) in a fairly charcoal-stained picture, as the Hokies took another one on the chin, this time at home to Clemson (56-49)
No. 6 - Kennedy Meeks. The UNC center (rated by Rivals as the No. 57 player in the ’13 class) has been a solid contributor, averaging 6.7 ppg in just over 15 minutes of playing time per game. His high-water mark was a 15-point outing in the Tar Heels’ impressive road win at Michigan State, and the big (6-9, 290 lbs) freshman is still developing.
UNC needs guys putting the ball in the bucket, and as demonstrated by his .532 FG %, Meeks is capable of contributing more.
No. 7 - Demetrius Jackson. The Notre Dame freshman point guard may have seen his scoring taper off a bit since the start of conference play, but he’s still solidly contributing to Mike Brey’s team…and that’s more important than ever, after the academic suspension of Jerian Grant. He’s shooting a competent 42.5% from the field overall, while nailing 41.7 % of his triples. With the meat of the ACC schedule looming, the Irish will need more from Jackson.
No. 8 - London Perrantes. Rated by ESPN as the No. 96 player in the 2013 class, Perrantes has been a solid contributor for Tony Bennett’s Virginia Cavaliers. Averaging better than a 3-to-1 assist/turnover ratio, he’s getting plenty of minutes. And since the Tennessee debacle (let’s don’t go there, shall we?), he’s lead the Wahoos in assists 4 times, and dropped 14 points against FSU in Virigina’s recent win against FSU in Tallahassee. His strong performance since ACC play has started (6.8 ppg, 4.0 apg) is why Perrantes is ranked higher than what his overall numbers might indicate.
No. 9 - Roddy Peters. When fellow Maryland guard Seth Allen went down to a foot injury in the preseason, plans to work Peters into Mark Turgeon’s rotation had to be accelerated, quickly. For the most part, Peters has responded positively, averaging 6.5 ppg while doing an admirable job distributing the ball to his teammates. The player Rivals graded out as the No. 48 player in the country has had up and down moments, as is the case with nearly all freshmen, but his trajectory is a positive one.
No. 10 - Michael Young. The Pitt forward (no relation to our Jim Young, by the way) was rated as the No. 92 player in the country by Scout.com in the class of ’13. Young has done solid work on the glass in his first season in the ACC (4.8/game), while being tremendously consistent doing so. In his 17-game Pitt career, he has at least 6 boards in 9 games.
And with Durand Johnson going down for the year, Jamie Dixon will almost certainly be asking Young to pick up even more slack.
Beejay Anya (C, N.C. State) - Anya's offensive game is still raw, but he's been a force as a shot-blocker.
Jamel Artis (F, Pitt) - Artis has been steady but unspectacular so far for Pitt. His role may expand with the recent season-ending injury to Durand Johnson.
Jaron Blossomgame (F, Clemson) - Blossomgame had his coming-out party in the Tigers' upset of Duke, scoring 14 points. If he can build off that performance, he'll crack the top 10.
Nate Britt (G, UNC) - Britt would probably be No. 11 on this list right now. He's struggled a bit since ACC play started (4 assists, 8 turnovers in 3 games).
Lennard Freeman (F, N.C. State) - His blue-collar approach and knack for grabbing rebounds evokes evoke memories of Richard Howell.
Quinton Stephens (F, Georgia Tech) - The smooth-shooting Stephens has been getting more minutes since Robert Carter Jr. went down. Stephens is averaging six points in 18 minutes per contest over the past five games.
Kyle Washington (C, N.C. State) - Washington another freshman on State's front line, has earned a start in the Wolfpack's last three games.
|Player||School||PPG||RPG||APG||TO||SPG||BLK||FG %||FT %||MPG|
|Ben Emlogu||Virginia Tech||11.5||3.6||2.1||1.7||0.6||0.3||40.5||75.0||26.2|
|Demetrius Jackson||Notre Dame||6.8||2.8||1.9||1.2||0.4||0.1||42.9||78.0||24.3|
|Quinton Stephens||Georgia Tech||3.9||2.4||0.8||0.5||0.3||0.4||40.0||75.0||11.3|