The Freshman Top 10. You know ’em. You love ’em. You’ll continue to hear about ’em…but not here. “0 to 100” is an exercise in honoring the oft-forgotten diaper dandies that find themselves outside of the ESPN headlines. The freshman that will take a path less traveled by becoming sophomores rather than millionaires. These 90’s babies that take the lack of hype as a slight agains them and use it as motivation to take it to their opponent night in and night out. Like our modern oracle Drake insisted, these guys know themselves, know their worth…their actions been louder than their words, man. Here’s to them.
You know you’ve entered the Midwest/B1G when you hear basketball players saying things like:
“My role is just playing hard and trying to help my team win. Whatever I can bring to the team to help to help the team win, whether it’s getting rebounds, or making open shots or making an extra pass, I just want to win-that’s it. All the coaches, they all believe in me. I just want to play hard and help us win.”
Team. Team. Team. Win. Us. Playing hard. Getting rebounds. Making open shots. Making extra passes. Play hard. Us. Win.
In two wins against IUPUI and Samford, Edwards has scored 39 points (16-23 from the field, 4-8 from three), grabbed 16 rebounds, blocked three shots and added two assists and one steal just for good measure.
Not bad for a newcomer against a couple cupcakes and the conference concurred as the Big Ten named Edwards as their Freshman of the Week.
But it was his performance against IUPUI that had Boilermaker fans jumping up and down more than House of Pain. Edwards was the first freshman in PURDUE BASKETBALL history to post a 26/8/3 state line.
Let me rephrase that. 26/8/3. First time in Purdue history that was done by a player in his first year on campus.
Boiler up young buck.
Edwards was the No. 2 ranked recruit out of the state of Ohio but was somewhat overlooked as only a three start prospect. That ranking means nothing now. Edwards might be the first legit scoring threat the Boilermakers have had since Robbie Hummel. He can score in a variety of ways, but he’s at his best knocking down shots from the perimeter, keeping the floor spread for his teammates to crash and cut to the hoop.
Or as its known in West Lafayette, the reverse of the Johnson brothers.
I know, I know this is supposed to be for the freshman that aren’t getting any love. But that’s the thing, I’m not sure Justise Winslow is getting enough of it. Coming into 2014-15, I felt ike Winslow was the forgotten Dukie recruit. The third pea in the Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor pod. The ugly (but oh so beautiful) freshman step child. The vegetable medley to Coach K’s steak and potatoes.
Yes, he’s a top-15 recruit, but he was overshadowed by No. 1 and No. 4.
Against Michigan State in the Champions Classic, Winslow showed his worth. There were bursts when Winslow looked as if he was the best player on the floor, let alone freshman. His lack of position was giving Tom Izzo and his Spartan defense fits. And while most box score lookers will see that Okafor, Jones and Quinn Cook had better scoring performances, it was Winslow that had me on the edge of my seat. That was mainly due to the pick and roll. Coach K not only had the ball in Winslow’s hands on multiple P&R occasions, he also used his 6’6″ positional monster as the screener.
While it wasn’t the most efficient performance (15 points on 4-11 shooting), it was the Winslow’s ability to get into the paint and drawing fouls. Winslow shot nine free throws in the game, or one less than Michigan State shot as a team.
Winslow is like the Dark Knight of Durham. He’ll be whatever Durham needs him to be. Rebounder. Shot blocker. Scorer. Assist man. Defender. Energy guy. Hero.
Going into the Gildan Charleston Classic against Akron, Jordan McLaughlin was averaging 17 points, 6.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks a game. He’s the high power motor to the USC offense and it’s already clear that USC goes as McLaughlin goes.
Talk about 0-100.
But with the crazy good, comes the atrociously bad. You see, McLaughlin is also averaging 4.5 turnovers per game (seven of the teams 23 total turnovers came at the hand of the freshman point guard in the Trojan’s season opening loss to Portland State).
McLaughlin was ESPN’s No. 41 ranked recruit for 2014 and coach Andy Enfield landed the local point guard by having him envision being the new leader of Dunk City 2: Keeping up with the Kardashians. He’s a player that is as eccentric as his hair style (McLaughlin even had a red streak in his hair for the opener) and the 18 year old has showed early on that his moves are quick… but are they too quick?
The Trojan floor general is going to be an exciting player to follow this season. While USC (who is the youngest team in the Pac-12 with 11 underclassmen, three juniors and no seniors) has been widely predicted to finish near or at the bottom of the conference, Enfield finally seems to have the crew that can run his style of offense, which will get them into some exciting games come conference play.
But it all begins (or ends) with the Red Flash.