With the NBA draft set to play out in the coming weeks, some of college basketball’s best players are moving on to the big stage. That means there will be many new faces in college basketball for the 2019-2020 season.
Here are some of the incoming freshman that you need to watch for in this upcoming season.
James Wiseman: University of Memphis
- The best: The No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2019 decided to stay home in Memphis and play for Penny Hardaway. He will lead a loaded recruiting class for the Tigers that ranked No. 1 overall.
- Unstoppable: The 7-foot center led Memphis East High School with 19.2 points per game as well as 8.4 rebounds per game.
- Opens up floor: Not only can the 7-footer dominate in the paint, but he can run the floor as well, while also knocking down threes. Wiseman loves to shoot the ball, making him an ideal stretch five for Hardaway’s offense.
- Defensive stud: He does a great job of protecting the rim. In the McDonald’s All-American practice, Wiseman showed how complete of a player he was on the defensive end.
Cole Anthony: University of North Carolina
- Family Ties: The son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, Cole was lighting it up high school basketball at perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy.
- New weapon: A 6-foot-3 guard from Briarwood, New York, his speed and athleticism led him to the rank of No. 2 overall in the 2019 class. Anthony is an offensive weapon who will be a good replacement for former UNC point guard Coby White.
- High school star: Anthony nearly averaged a triple-double per game with 18 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game. If he can get near replicating that success at UNC, the losses in their backcourt won’t hurt as much.
- Accomplished: He earned the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game due his unselfishness on the offensive end and high basketball IQ. Roy Williams has to be thrilled with Anthony being on the roster.
Isaiah Stewart: University of Washington
- Accomplished: Stewart won the prestigious award, Mr. Basketball USA. This is awarded to the most outstanding high school basketball player in the country.
- Double-double machine: The 6-foot-9 center from Rochester, New York led La Lumiere in points and rebounds during his senior campaign, with 19.5 points and 12 rebounds per game.
- Athleticism: For a center, he runs the floor very well and has the athleticism to defend all positions on the court. Stewart is a great rebounder and finisher in the paint.
- Added depth: Stewart joins forward Noah Dickerson on a Huskies lineup that will be one of the best frontcourts in the Pac 12. He also joins another top recruit in Jaden McDaniels who recently committed to the Huskies on May 17th.
Kahlil Whitney: University of Kentucky
- Kentucky ties: A native of Roselle, NJ, Whitney played his high school ball at Roselle Catholic — where former Kentucky Wildcat Isaiah Briscoe played during high school.
- All-around forward: He has the quickness and athleticism that makes him a great fit for John Calipari’s Wildcats. Not only is he a great offensive player, but he is a solid defensive force as well.
- Great jump shooter: Whitney’s jump shot is very good. During last summer’s EYBL, he shot 48 percent from three in eight games. If Whitney can transition that sort of production to the college level, he could easily be a 2020 lottery pick.
- Great replacement: With guys like Reid Travis and PJ Washington moving on from Kentucky, the 6-foot-7 Whitney will fill in for those guys and can stretch the floor for the Wildcats, something those two could not do consistently.
Vernon Carey Jr: Duke University
- Family Ties: The son of former NFL offensive lineman Vernon Carey Sr., Junior is Coach K’s top recruit in this year’s recruiting class.
- Athleticism: He is a powerful forward at 6-foot-10 and 275 pounds. In comparison to Zion Williamson, Carey Jr. is 10 pounds less and 3 inches taller than him. He may not be as athletic as Zion, but he is still very fast and athletic for his size.
- Efficiency: Carey Jr. averaged 21.7 points on 63 percent shooting as well as 9 rebounds per game. One thing he needs to improve on is his three point shooting where he only shot 24% at University High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
- Added depth: Carey Jr. will likely split time with Duke seniors Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden in the frontcourt.
Nico Mannion: University of Arizona
- Young gun: Mannion first burst onto the scene in eighth grade where he went viral for his crazy handles and ability to finish around the rim.
- Nico buckets: A 6-foot-3 guard from Scottsdale, AZ, Mannion is a real problem for opposing teams when the ball in his hands. Not only did he average 30.2 points per game, he also dished out 6.2 assists.
- Proven winner: Mannion led Pinnacle High School to back-to-back state championships, having 34 points in the past championship game.
- Fresh face: After the Wildcats had a down year last season, Mannion will join Josh Green as a dynamic duo that could lead makes the Wildcats the favorite in the Pac 12.