With Andrew Wiggins matching up against Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle going against Michigan State, all the of the media focus has been on just a small handful of freshmen. Wiggins, Parker, Randle, the rest of the Kentucky kids, and Arizona's Aaron Gordon have been getting the majority of coverage. But there are plenty of other freshmen who have been fantastic in the early going.
Here are five to catch my eye through the first week of the season.
Stevie Clark, Oklahoma State
It's hard to generate much attention on the Cowboys when you play alongside Marcus Smart. And with good reason. Clark joked about his earliest practices when he couldn't even get the ball past half court. The speedy, 5-11 guard, hasn't had much problem in games that count, however. Through two games he's using a remarkable 27% of Oklahoma State's possessions, and he's averaging 12 points, 7 assists, and just 1.5 turnovers. Known as a scorer with exceptional range, he's teased the OSU fans by making 4-7 (57%) of his 3-point attempts.
Noah Vonleh, Indiana
The last Hoosier freshman to record consecutive double doubles was Christian Watford four years ago. But that's how Vonleh has begun his college career. He went for 11 points and 14 boards on opening night, and had 17 points and 11 rebounds in game No. 2. There are three players in the Big Ten who have a better DR% so far, and all three are upperclassmen.
Ramone Snowden, Niagara
Snowden originally signed with Old Dominion, and though he was eligible to play under NCAA standards, he wasn't admitted to ODU because of his SAT score. So he went to Niagara instead, and ODU fans can't be too happy about his start. The 6-5 wing had 15 rebounds in his first college game (vs Seton Hall), and then followed that up with a 15 points and 8 rebounds four days later. He's already been to the line 18 times, and is likely a pretty big fan of college basketball's new foul rules.
Jabari Bird, California
I don't know if it's possible to be under-the-radar as a McDonald's All American, but if so, Bird fits that profile. He played high school in the Bay Area and then stayed local with Cal. Everyone out west knows about him, and if he keeps up his play everyone on the other coast will know his name as well. He came off the bench in his first college game and promptly dropped 14 points, 7 boards, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and zero turnovers. He was quieter in game two, but is still averaging 11 points, 5 boards, 2.5 assists and hasn't turned the ball over. He's also committed less than a foul per 40 minutes.
Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina
Thornwell got a lot of attention when he nearly led South Carolina to an upset of Baylor. His desperate shots at the end culminated with a teammate grabbing a rebound and getting fouled, only to have it ruled that the foul came after the buzzer in a two point game. So far this season he's averaging 17 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. He's also been to the line 17 times and made 13 (77%).
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