Kentucky Athletics

How did the top five freshmen fare in their first college game?

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There’s a ton of hype surrounding the top five in this year’s freshman class and last year’s Rivals Class of 2013 top five of Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Jabari Parker and Andrew Harrison played last night in their college debuts.

We’ll start with Kentucky, since they had the top class and started four freshman in yesterday’s win over UNC Asheville. Julius Randle led four freshman starters with 23 points and 15 rebounds in only 26 minutes while going 11-of-13 from the free throw line. The Harrison brothers — Andrew at point and Aaron at two — started and Andrew had eight points and five assists and only one turnover and Aaron had 10 points and five rebounds to go along with four steals. James Young has been great in practice according to many, but was 3-for-10 for 11 points. Marcus Lee was a surprise with 17 points in only 15 minutes off the bench and you forget he’s another McDonald’s All-American on the bench at Kentucky,

Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker had 22 points in 23 minutes that included 8-for-10 from the field and 3-for-3 from three-point range. Parker also added six rebounds in a great 111-77 debut win over Davidson.

Andrew Wiggins led Kansas in minutes (34) and points (16) in a balanced 80-63 win over Louisiana-Monroe and also added three rebounds and three steals. Center Joel Embiid played only 11 minutes and was saddled with four fouls, but was 7-of-10 from the free throw line with nine points.

Out west, Arizona freshman forward Aaron Gordon started at the four and had 13 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four blocks in 33 minutes in a 72-63 win over Cal Poly.

Overall, the top five freshman played well and they all started and contributed in wins. Next week comes the real test for many of them as the Champions Classic awaits.

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.