The 2021-22 college basketball season tipped off earlier this week with dozens of games taking place around the country. Notably, a handful of the sport’s newcomers showed out in their debuts, leading Jay Bilas to assess which freshman are must-watch players this year.
The ESPN analyst shared his list of the Top 10 freshman in the country this week prior to Tuesday’s opening games. The rankings contained a handful of the highest-rated recruits from the class of 2021, but also some other intriguing names to learn.
Here’s a closer look a Bilas’ list:
- Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)
- Paolo Banchero (Duke)
- Emoni Bates (Memphis)
- Caleb Houstan (Michigan)
- Trevor Keels (Duke)
- Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee)
- Jalen Duran (Memphis)
- Jabari Smith (Auburn)
- JD Davison (Alabama)
- Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee)
Heading into the season: my top 10 freshmen pic.twitter.com/gOqvL68tWC
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) November 11, 2021
Already, a handful of the freshman that Bilas named have been in action and proved that they’re ready for the college game.
Banchero and Keels, both freshman at Duke, contributed in a major way to the No. 9 Blue Devils win over No. 10 Kentucky during the Champion’s Classic on Tuesday. The pair combined for 47 of Duke’s 79 points in the victory, showing that they’ll be focal points for the Blue Devils moving forward.
Bates and Duran, the other freshman duo in action already at Memphis, also looked strong in their debuts. They scored 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Tigers 89-65 rout of Tennessee Tech.
Holmgren, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2021, put on a show in his debut with No. 1 Gonzaga. In addition to pouring in 14 points, the 7-foot freshman grabbed 13 rebounds, dished out six assists and blocked seven shots in the Bulldogs opener.
All of Bilas’ Top 10 freshman should be able to make an impact over the next few months as the college basketball season gets into full swing.
Time will tell what other talented first-year players emerge as well.
The post Look: Jay Bilas Ranks His 10 Best College Basketball Freshmen appeared first on The Spun.