College Basketball Betting: Know Your Impact Freshmen
Two weeks into the college basketball season every college basketball fan is aware of Duke freshman Zion Williamson’s immense talent. In fact, Duke is loaded with talented freshmen with the possibility of all three being lottery picks. But I want to discuss some freshmen who have burst onto the scene in a somewhat under-the-radar manner. These players are key pieces to their team’s fortune’s going forward.
In the absence of so many key players from last year, Talen Horton-Tucker has thrived for Iowa State. Playing 30 mpg and scoring 15 ppg, he has been the second option behind Virginia transfer Marial Shayok. Speaking of the injured players, the Cyclones are missing four players who combined for 114 mpg and 44 ppg last year. With the emergence of the new players and the veterans coming back into the lineup eventually, Steve Prohm’s team is one to watch. I’ll be keeping an eye on the returning players to see when they start coming back into the lineup. This could be a really good team by January, and Talen Horton-Tucker will be a big part of that. Let’s don’t forget he’s only 17 years old. (After I finished this I was looking at box scores and Horton-Tucker vs Illinois in Maui had 26 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks)
UCLA is a veteran group of four experienced and talented players surrounding their 7-2 freshman center Moses Brown. Averaging a double-double currently, this is a high-energy big man. He plays 30 mpg and never takes a play off. As usual with UCLA, defense is the biggest question mark and Brown provides rim protection with 3.3 blocks a game. Brown struggled some in UCLA’s Thanksgiving loss to Michigan State, scoring only five points in 21 minutes. He did however manage to grab 10 rebounds and block three shots which speaks to his potential as a paint protector.
Saint Louis returns a veteran team with lots of experience. The Bilikens have multiple guards with a defensive mindset. Undersized Hasahn French and offensively limited DJ Foreman manned the post last year along with the graduated Rashad Anthony. Travis Ford needed to find another big man for his rotation. Enter freshman Cart’Are Gordon. Gordon is averaging 24 mpg, 8 ppg and 3 rpg. He is non-stop energy and plays great post defense. His footwork and patience stand out for a freshman. The perfect compliment to what Saint Louis needed to take the next step, he is one reason the Bilikens are favored in the Atlantic-10.
Last year, Duquesne signed longtime Akron coach Keith Dambrot to a seven year contract for a reported $87 million. Dambrot was in a fortunate position to be the head coach at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, where LeBron James happened to attend high school. LeBron loves Dambrot and has always supported him whether he was at Akron (23.5 wins per year in 13 years at the school) or at Duquesne. Earlier in the year, due to a scheduling conflict, Dambrot moved a game with Radford to LeBron James Arena at St. Vincent-St. Mary. Proceeds benefited LeBron’s I Promise School. Duquesne is a team that should be monitored closely. Dambrot, with the help of James, is accumulating talent in Pittsburgh. The Dukes got a steal this year in freshman point guard Sincere Carry. Carry plays nearly 33 mpg, averaging 14 ppg and a whopping 7.3 assists. This team continues to stockpile high level recruits that can compete with anyone in the Atlantic-10. LeBron is funneling players and money Dambrot’s way. Duquesne has a stable four-year leader to build on in Sincere Carry. Keep an eye on the Dukes this year, and in the years to come.