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Freshman Tracker, Jan. 29

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 3:42pm
By: Mark Owens
Mark Owens provides his version of power rankings for the ACC's freshmen.

We're three weeks into the series, but nobody's perfect. If you disagree with any thoughts here, just leave us a comment below!
No. 1 - Jabari Parker. Parker was in danger of losing the top spot in our poll, and not just due to some of his less-than-spectacular play during the young conference season, but because Tyler Ennis was (and is) continuing to stake a strong claim on No. 1.

In the first two weeks of the poll, we've given Jabari poll position (a hat-tip to racing fans...industry buzz-phraseologists call that "cross pollination", btw). And after the week he's had, it'd be a tough sell to move Parker down. After all, it was a week culminated with Freshman of the Week honors given him by the ACC. He's still not setting the world afire shooting, but in the last three games, he's collected a total of 40 rebounds . That's ... strong. 

Last Week: 1

No. 2 - Tyler Ennis. Ho-hum. Another week, another two wins for undefeated Syracuse. And another solid two games by the country's best freshman point guard. Ennis continues to lead one of the best teams in the nation, and he's doing it with tough, smart, and efficient play. Any time you have a first-year player who can lead a team as talented as the Orange, and do so remarkably consistently (he's gone for 14, 16, 12, 10 and 13 points in his last five games, all while sporting a better than 2-to-1 assist/turnover ratio) ... well, that's special.
And not in a condescending, Church Lady kind of way. 
Last Week: 2

No. 3 - Anthony “Cat" Barber. Just when you think they're dead, they pull you back in. And by "they", I mean Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack. A big key to the Pack's two-game ressurgance has been the play of Barber. In the "oh, yes! ... oh, NOO!!! ... oh, YESSSSS!!!" OT win over Georgia Tech, Barber didn't shoot it very well (3-9 total from the field, and 0-2 behind the arc), but he managed the game, for the most part, very solidly (as evidenced by his 5 dimes and ZERO turnovers). 

Last Week: 3

No. 4 -Devin Wilson - Wilson was available for James Johnson the past two games (both of which were pastings of Virginia Tech), but don't look at Devin for blame. While he didn't shoot it well versus the 'Hoos (who did? Sorry ... terrible pun alert), he did get to the FT line 11 times, making 8. But against Wake Forest in the game previous, he really went off, netting a pretty 26 points on 10 shots (and getting to the line 14 more times). The Hokies may not have much. But they do have two nice looking freshman. And Wilson, in particular, is really showing lately.

Last Week: 5

No. 5 - Kennedy MeeksMan-mountain Meeks just makes buckets, friends. And he was at it again this week, which highlighted yet another Jekyll-and-Hyde pair of performances by his Tar Heels. Combined in the two games (versus Clemson and UVa), Meeks went 12-of-19 (63.2%) from the field and collected 17 boards. That'll work. Unfortunately, he's still not as big a part of what Carolina's doing as he likely will be, with more time, experience, and yes, conditioning. 
Last Week: 6
No. 6 - Ben Emelogu - Emelogu didn't exactly have a banner week. Last week's No. 4 player didn't play in last Wednesday's game against Wake Forest (he sat with an injury in a 83-77 loss), he was back in time for his Hokies' to suffer a 20-point beat-down in Charlottesville against cross-state rival Virginia. And he wasn't exactly superlative in that outing, either, going for just 6 points on 2-6 shooting (ALL of them from deep). I'll be honest, his cumulative previous performance this season is what's kept him this high in the poll for this week. Not a great look. 
Last Week: 4

No. 7 - London Perrantes. Virginia's young PG didn't go nuts this week, but has been ... here's that word again ... solid. Most importantly, he's out front on the seemingly reborn Cavaliers' four-game winning streak, posting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 22/4. That's fantastic. The shooting? Welllll ... not so much (5-15 FGs in that same stretch). 

Last Week: 7

No. 8 - Demetrius Jackson. Freshmen ... you take the good with the bad. And both were on display this week. Against Wake Forest, Jackson looked lost and even a bit out of place, going for 1 inconsequential point (with zero FG attempts), 2 fouls ... and nothing else of note in 22 empty minutes played. Against UVa, however, he acquitted himself nicely, netting 10 points on just 5 shots. He was a bit sloppy even in that one (4 turnovers), but hey ... freshmen. 
Last Week: 8

No. 9 - Michael Young. During his freshman campaign, Young's not a player who's likely to make you double-take a box score. But I love his toughness and tenacity, and both were on display against Duke (7 boards in a compass-resetting loss) and Maryland (5 more boards in a win). He isn't a good shooter, but doesn't hoist enough shots to hurt you most nights. I'd like to see him use his toughness tools to get to the charity stripe more often (only 2 attempts in his last 3 games combined). 

Last Week: 9

No. 10 - Kyle Washington (C, N.C. State) - I'm now officially going on-record with this: I LOVE Washington's passion. He can come off as "that guy" to opponents from time to time, but he's a kid you LOVE having on your team. More importantly, he's been doing work on the hardwood. He had 8 crucial points in the GT win, and had 10 boards to go with a couple of assists against the Terps (with a chorus of "A..C..C..!" echoing from the rafters). Welcome to the Top Ten, Kyle. And...

Last Week: Honorable Mention
Roddy Peters. Peters' stay in the Top 10 may have been short-lived, but I still very much like his potential. Facts are facts, however, and they're not kind to Roddy this week. In two losses (to N.C. State and Pitt, respectively), he didn't score a point, had a total of 2 assists ... and really, barely played (5 minutes versus Pitt, 10 against the Wolfpack).
Last Week: 10

Beejay Anya (C, N.C. State) - You see flashes that make you want to move the guy into the rarified air of the Top 10 ... but Anya's not quite there yet. His limited (11) minutes against Georgia Tech were key to the OT victory for the Pack, in that he had 4 boards and a steal in that brief time. But as with Meeks above, more experience and conditioning will go a long way here. 
Jamel Artis (F, Pitt) - Artis was a factor in both games this past week for the Panthers. His deep stroke was pure (2-3) against the Blue Devils, but Jamie Dixon's bunch just didn't have enough to hang with Doke. Still, Jamel contributed in multiple ways in the victory against Maryland, going for 8 points and 6 boards. 
Jaron Blossomgame (F, Clemson) - The potential is there, as evidenced by his being named Freshman of the Week a couple of weeks back. But it appears the adjustment to more games and a longer season may be catching up with Blossomgame, who continues to struggle to find ways to contribute meaningfully. Clemson could sure use the help, too, as they took two in the shorts this past week, losing by a combined 52 points in two games. Ouch. 
Nate Britt (G, UNC) - The up-and-down-and-up-and-down-and-where's-the-dramamine? Tar Heels' season continues to careen along, and Britt's sort of a microcosm of that. Not horrific, but not overly helpful, either. He has real potential ... as do the Heels. But the time to show it is here, if that's to happen this year.
Lennard Freeman (F, N.C. State) - Freeman had three big buckets in State's life-affirming (or soul-crushing, depending on your school allegiance and perspective) OT win against Georgia Tech, but was more or less a non-factor in the Wolfpack's previous game (also a win) over Maryland. 
Quinton Stephens (F, Georgia Tech) - Mr. Stephens, you have my attention. One of the positive things to come out of the heart-rending defeat in Raleigh was the play of Quinton. After playing only 9 minutes in GT's win against Boston College, Stephens found himself seeing substantial clock at PNC Arena (31 of a possible 45 minutes, counting overtime). And he did not disappoint: 13 points (on 5-7 shooting, including 1-3 from three) and 4 boards. I'll be keeping my eye on you, Quinton. 
Jabari ParkerDuke18.
Tyler EnnisSyracuse123.
Ben EmeloguVT11.13.421.60.60.340.27525.7
Cat BarberNCSU11.
Devin WilsonVT9.
Manu LecomteMiami7.
Kennedy MeeksUNC7.560.
Demetrius JacksonNotre Dame6.62.51.810.40.14376.924.5
Roddy PetersMaryland5.
Mike YoungPitt5.
Jamel ArtisPitt4.
Jaron BlossomgameClemson4.
London PerrantesUVA4.
Lennard FreemanNCSU4.
Beejay AnyaNCSU2.
Isaiah HicksUNC1.