The Five Most Exciting Freshmen to Watch in the 2021-22 CBB Season
The college basketball season is less than 100 days away and there is a deep pool of talent this year. An extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19, allowed veteran stars like Marcus Carr, Tre Mitchell, and Remy Martin – along with so many others – to transfer schools. Still, the freshmen pipeline is running strong and college basketball fans should expect for the next batch of recruits to shine, with these five being the most exciting freshmen to watch this CBB season.
CBB Five Freshmen to Watch: Paolo Banchero, Duke
Listed at 6-10, Banchero is a true offensive talent. Despite his height and frame (250 pounds), the Seattle native can move in transition like a guard. In the half-court, his ability to score at all three levels is immediately apparent, with a smooth stroke from deep and a confident mid-range jumper. His face up game is impressive and he can certainly put it on the floor and beat any opponent in a 1v1 match-up. His playmaking will be on full display at Duke, with Mike Krzyzewski likely still trying to figure out the point guard spot and Banchero is a suitable option. He’s an exciting offensive talent that is the most pro-ready freshman in this class.
CBB Five Freshmen to Watch: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
The No. 1 player in the 2021 class, Holmgren is looking to take Gonzaga to the promised land. Talent wise, he is a unicorn. Listed at 7-feet tall, Holmgren has the build and skillset of a guard. He is a two-way player that will be able to impose his will on the offensive end and then protect the rim defensively. The Minnesota native played with Jalen Suggs in high school, but Holmgren could very well be better. He can shoot, attack the rim and initiate an offense if he wanted to. His frame is somewhat of a question mark, but his talent speaks for itself.
CBB Five Freshmen to Watch: Emoni Bates, Uncommitted
When Bates reclassified into the 2021 class, he had to be included in this list. While he remains uncommitted, he does have three collegiate offers on the table from Memphis, Oregon and Michigan State – the G League also gave the 17-year-old an offer. Despite his reclassification, he will not be eligible for the 2022 NBA draft, so how much the two-year timespan affects his decision remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the offensive repertoire Bates has at his disposable demands he makes this list. Simply put, he can score at will; he can get a bucket whenever he wants. His ability to score at all three levels at this age is similar to a young Kevin Durant. Now I know I have your attention. Whether he ends up at those three aforementioned schools or in the G League is up in the air. Regardless, you should make time to watch him play. For a sample of what he can do, enjoy this video:
CBB Five Freshmen to Watch: J.D. Davison, Alabama
Davison is an absolutely electric scoring guard. His athleticism is off the charts and he can score off the bounce or in catch-and-shoot situations. He will be playing for Nate Oats in Tuscaloosa this season and the run-and-gun offense the Crimson Tide play will suit Davison wonderfully. Playing alongside returners Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford means that the freshman guard won’t have to consistently create his own shot, but can when he needs to. Don’t be surprised if this guy challenges for SEC Player of the Year, let alone Freshman of the Year.
CBB Five Freshmen to Watch: TyTy Washington, Kentucky
Washington shot up the Top 100 leaderboards during his senior season, finishing at 14th on ESPN’s list. The 6-3 point guard can really shoot it. If you take a look at any number of his mixtapes on YouTube, you can see that he has no problems stepping into a shot from deep or beating someone off the bounce and elevating into a pull-up three or mid-range jumper. His floater is an essential aspect of his game, because, inevitably, when defenders over help or extend on the perimeter to contest his jumper, he can blow by and finish above bigger defenders. There’s a subtle smoothness to his attack too. He never gets ahead of himself, and certainly doesn’t appear rushed, which makes watching him all the more enjoyable. Put him in a pick-and-roll with any of Kentucky’s bigs and he will be lethal. Big Blue Nation will like this one.
There you have it: five freshmen to watch this CBB season. All five of these guys will have you glued to your screen and you will likely see them transition to the NBA game in a year’s time. Enjoy them while you can, because these five freshmen will be putting on a show all winter.
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