By Mychal Hunter
Many of you who follow me on Twitter know that last night I was a little agitated after reviewing Jason McIntyre’s top 50 players in the nation article from earlier this week. Over the past few weeks I’ve been watching a little bit a film on the incoming freshmen for the ACC and compiling a list of my favorite 15 freshman coming into 2018-19 season. I thought today would be a great day to reveal that list.
- RJ Barrett-Duke: After watching Barrett last year in under 19 games in Egypt playing for team Canada and leading them to the championship, I immediately fell in love with his game. He’s not physically dominating he’s just a really good basketball player. Is also clear the other players are going to want to play with because he makes them better. The number one player in the 2018 high school class should transition seamlessly into the ACC. It’s also clear that other players are going to want to play with because he makes everyone better. Th
- Nassir Little-UNC: Little is a player who I’ve been very high on for a few years now. Going from a top 150 player to a consensus top three player in the class, he will be the face of North Carolina basketball by the end of the season. Potentially the number one pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Little brings a myriad of skills to the basketball court. Scoring, rebounding, assists and rim protection are all skill sets he possesses. His jumper has really developed over the past year and finishing at the rim has never been a problem.
- Tre Jones-Duke: I feel like Jones is being lost in the shuffle when people talk about this Duke class. This guy is the one that’s going to run the show in Cameron this year and he has the skills to be a star. All Duke fans remember his brother Tyus. I think Tre will be even better. After a year with Duval, Duke fans once again have a point guard who can make teams pay from the outside, something they desperately covet.
- Coby White-UNC: People are forgetting about White. This kid could potentially be one of the top scorers in the league given the type of offense Coach Roy Williams likes to run. White will flourish in the open floor and while he is a score first point guard, expect his assist numbers to be top half of the league given the finishers around him.
- Jaylen Hoard-Wake Forest: With the departure of Bryant Crawford and Doral Moore, Hoard becomes the man in Winston-Salem. A five-star recruit for yet another very talented class for Danny Manning, Hoard will have to be the leader of this very young team early on. On the court Hoard can score from anywhere on the court and finish at the rim with thunderous authority.
- Cam Reddish-Duke: No. 6 may seem a little low to some. I just couldn’t put him among the top-five freshman in the conference over the others chosen. However, his potential is unlimited and of all the freshman in the conference in the 2018 class he may have the highest upside. His motor leaves a little bit to be desired, but if he ever harnesses all of his talent and learns to go full-go all of the time, he will be one of the stars of the ACC and the NBA one day.
- Zion Williamson-Duke: Some will again say that number seven is too low, I say it may still be too high for Williamson. I think he’s going to be a tremendous force on the glass for Duke and a marvel in the open court, But I still worry about his jumper, especially beyond the arc. I think getting him shots in the mid range is the way to go for the Blue Devils.
- Jalen Carey-Syracuse: The first player on the list not to play within the confines of the state of North Carolina is Syracuse point guard Jalen Carey. He will get the ball from day one (maybe day 2) and has tremendous perimeter weapons surrounding him. Historically a scoring point guard, Carey will have the opportunity to put up huge numbers for the Orange.
- Mike Devoe-Georgia Tech: DeVoe arrives in Atlanta filling a need that the Yellow Jackets have had going on a few years now, elite outside shooting. Described as one of the best perimeter shooters in the 2018 class, DeVoe should start from day one and be a star, as well as fan favorite, in Atlanta.
- Landers Nolley-Virginia Tech: Nolley Becomes the latest big wing to play in Blacksburg. At 6’7, he is an elite shooter who should be able to exploit the corners that Coach Buzz Williams’s offense so often opens up. I do have some concerns for him off the court, but on the court he is money.
- Nate Laszewski-Notre Dame: Laszewski, A towering 6’10 stretch four, will more than likely be the next big thing for Notre Dame basketball. A pure shooter, he has the size and ability to get his shot over almost anyone in the league. Word on the street is he had a very productive trip to the Bahamas.
- Hunter Tyson-Clemson: For whatever reason this kid has received no publicity whatsoever during the off-season. Tyson is a silky smooth 6’7” wing forward who likes to get into the lane and can finish with either hand at multiple angles. His handle is a little sloppy at times, but that can be worked on and corrected. This is maybe the biggest sleeper in the freshman class in the conference.
- Jairus Hamilton-BC: Coach Jim Christian’s latest recruiting success out of the state of North Carolina lands him a talented wing forward in Hamilton. Hamilton should step in and start at the three spot from day one and prosper under the tutelage of the many upperclassman surrounding him.
- Trey McGowans-Pitt: Given the departure of Marcus Carr, McGowans becomes the man in Pittsburgh. The first recruit of the Jeff Capel era will get the ball from day one and have every opportunity to flourish under the new Pittsburgh regime.
- Prentiss Hubb-Notre Dame: Hubb is one of my favorite underrated players in the 2018 class. A player who lost his senior high school season to a knee injury, Hubb will look to take over point guard duties in South Bend so junior Temple Gibbs can move to his more natural position of shooting guard.