Eric Mika

Season Preview 2013-14: The other impact freshmen

Eric Mika (left) and Rysheed Jordan (AP photos)

All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of our preview lists, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here..

Each season, a number of freshmen make an impact on college basketball. The term “one-and-done” is used as a term by basketball fans regularly now. This year’s freshmen group is no exception and while potential superstars like Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Jabari Parker sit at the top, those guys and other All-Americans are almost expected to make an immediate impact now. So this year, we made a list of 10 non-McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-Americans that will make an impact in college basketball this season.

1. Derrick Walton, Jr., Michigan: The point guard is college-ready and will need to get up-to-speed quickly if Michigan is to match last year’s Championship Game run. It’ll be impossible to replace the departed Trey Burke, but Walton could fill-in admirably as the pieces around him continue to grow.

2. Eric Mika, BYU: The in-state prospect should make an instant impact in the post, where can score using multiple moves with good touch and also rebounds his area at 6-foot-9. With the loss of Branden Davis, Mika will need to be productive right away for BYU to compete in the WCC and for a NCAA bid.

(MORE: Click here to read see our Top 15 incoming freshmen)

3. Rysheed Jordan, St. John’s: The Big East’s preseason Rookie of the Year will get big minutes at guard and Steve Lavin needs him to make plays immediately. A backcourt of Rysheed Jordan and D’Angelo Harrison could be dangerous.

4. Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina: The two-guard is Frank Martin’s highest-rated recruit at South Carolina and the 6-foot-5 athlete should play early.

5. Austin Nichols, Memphis: Hometown forward is skilled enough to space the floor for their dangerous guards and can rebound his area a bit as well.

6. Wes Clark, Missouri: The Tigers need to replace the loss of Phil Pressey and have the Detroit-based Clark to do so. Clark has won a state title and the late-blooming true point guard could run the offense right away.

7. Ike Iroegbu, Washington State: With the loss of JuCo Danny Lawhorn before he ever played a game, the Cougars have Iroegbu as a true point guard and he could see plenty of early minutes.

8. Matt Thomas, Iowa State: The 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Wisconsin can fill it up from the perimeter and was probably the top outside shooter in the 2013 class.

9. Billy Garrett Jr., DePaul: The son of DePaul assistant Billy Garrett was an Illinois state and city championship point guard at Morgan Park and could play on-the-ball immediately.

10. Zach LaVine, UCLA: Combo guard can really play and could do damage behind Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams.


  • 1. Zena Edosomwan, Harvard
  • 2. Martez Harrison, UMKC
  • 3. Alec Peters, Valparaiso
  • 4. Jon Severe, Fordham
  • 5. Scoochie Smith, Dayton

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
AP Photo
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.