Welcome to part two of the Freshman 15, which again, is just a list, not a ranking. It is always interesting to see how recruiting services rate and rank players coming into college basketball. The AAU scene, private schools, pop up schools, and public schools are all seemingly their own universes it feels like.
On today’s list, you will see a player who was one of the best players in the Charlotte area that was foolishly under-recruited. In part one of this three piece preview, I included incoming Tar Heel Walker Kessler, a seven-foot unicorn that is clearly talented but may need a couple of years in Chapel Hill for some fine tuning and body work. The reason I bring him up is that he is very high touted yet may not see a ton of run due to the stable of bigs ahead of him on the depth chart. His season will be one to monitor for sure.
Without any further delay, here are the second five of the ACCBR Freshman 15.
Jeremy Roach-Point guard-duke
It’s been a tough road for Roach, who suffered a major knee injury in 2018 which caused him to miss his entire junior season after busting out that summer on the AAU circuit. The Fairfax, VA native came back strong however, remaining a top 25 national recruit and being named to the McDonald’s All-American team.
Roach is supremely talented, that much is obvious and thankfully he appears to be fulled healed. Does that tape remind you of any recent guards to play in the college ranks? The first kid I remembered was Charlie Moore who most recently played for DePaul last season. Anyways, it was the first thing that came to mind.
Roach will start at the point for Duke from Day 1 and will no doubt produce at a high level and be the next in a long line of tremendous Blue Devil point men. The biggest challenge for him will be to keep everyone happy on a Duke squad that is absolutely loaded with offensive talent.
P.j. Hall-power forward-clemson
I am a huge fan of Hall’s game. He is a pick and pop forward that will team beautifully with Al-Amir Dawes in the same fashion that Donte’ Grantham and Shelton Mitchell ran the pick and roll a few years ago. Hall can shoot it from outside but also has a well developed frame that has him ready to bang on the block from day 1.
Now that video is a year old, I couldn’t really find another video in which he was featured but you get a good feel for his game. He is a three level scorer though that outside shot has a fairly long trigger pull. However, if he gets some space, hes probably going to make you pay.
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell has quietly put together a heck of a team for the 2020-21 season (assuming we are going to have one) and while it may not be as talented as the 2017-18 team, they are very deep. Hall will be a huge part of their success as he teams up with frontcourt stalwart Aamir Simms as two big men that are very versatile. It will be interesting to see the offense runs with both players having similar skillsets.
Tristian maxwell-combo guard-Georgia tech
Not very often, if ever, will you see me include a player outside the top 300 on this list. You can point to the fact that I am a Georgia Tech fan but the fact is that the kid is really damn good.
Maxwell, the 2020 Mr. Basketball in the state of North Carolina according to the Charlotte Observer. The 6’2 scoring guard averaged 24 points per game and led North Mecklenburg to a 30-1 record and a spot in the 4A title game before it was cancelled due to the Corona Virus pandemic.
Tristan looks like he can work on his body but Dr. Dan Taylor is widely known for turning guys into iron men in Atlanta. Maxwell is also the son of former NBA All-Star Vernon “Mad Max” Maxwell, so the pedigree is there as well. The other positive is that there is no pressure on Maxwell to be a high level scorer from the jump. He will be behind Jose Alvarado, Mike Devoe and Bubba Parham, so his production is basically gravy.
I am not sure how a top 40 recruit could be so under appreciated but JAR certainly seems to be the least talked about big time recruit in the ACC. Another son of an NBA player, Jabri’s father was Cal legend and Vancouver Grizzlies icon Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
Jabri doesn’t have the same type of game as his father but he has serious game. The younger is a pure shooting guard/wing scorer while his father was a old school power forward. Regardless of their preferred location on the floor, the talent certainly didn’t skip a generation.
He looks like he will fill out when he is working with a nutritionist/weight program in college but he already takes contact well and has good court vision. Sometimes in these videos you see kids force the shot where JAR actually finds the open man. He just looks like a Virginia player.
It’s difficult to make this list not look like a Duke and UNC hit parade but what can I say? They are bringing in talent by the truckload this season.
Brakefield is a multiple time West Virginia player of the year and possesses a phenomenal motor. The southpaw can score in the paint, run the floor and rebound the basketball. Jaemyn teaming up with Jalen Johnson at the forward spots for Duke is almost unfair as both are big, strong and tremendously talented.
I have to say, the shot is so ugly, but you can hardly argue with the results. The Blue Devils are bringing a ton of top 50 talent this season but I think Brakefield has the best opportunity to exceed his ranking. Jalen Johnson and DJ Steward will both receive a ton of attention giving the others, most notably Brakefield, many opportunities to attack his defender one on one.