We head into the new week with no undefeated teams left in college basketball. Over the last three seasons, there has been at least one near dominant team: Kentucky last year and three years ago; Ohio State two years ago. It appears that will not be the case this season. That lack of dominance extends to the freshman class. Last year, college basketball was graced by Anthony Davis, the year before Jared Sullinger, and the year before that John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. This year, there are no transcendent freshmen. There are plenty of good ones, including this week's group of seven.
Glenn Robinson III, forward, Michigan Wolverines
Robinson took the first loss of his collegiate career Sunday against Ohio State and saw his double-digit scoring streak end at five games. He hit more than one 3-pointer for just the third time this season and finished with a rather quiet eight points. The son of the Big Dog has made his presence felt with 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds on one of the best teams in the Big Ten (which seems like the best conference). It will be interesting to see how he holds up in conference play, but he should be able to score against anyone with his sweet stroke.
Gary Harris, guard, Michigan State Spartans
Like Robinson, Harris had a rough game on Sunday, but his shooting woes (1-of-11 from the field) were not enough to derail the Spartans against Nebraska. The 6-foot-4 guard missed two games in late November with a shoulder injury, but came back sooner than expected. He has only been held to single digits twice this season and scored nine points in both games. Harris led the Spartans to victory on Jan. 5 with 22 points, including six 3-pointers in the win over Purdue. His shooting, especially from the perimeter, is streaky. Harris has a very nice future and should team with Keith Appling to give Michigan State a solid backcourt for the next year.
A.J. Hammons, center, Purdue Boilermakers
This is a season in transition in West Lafayette. After having veteran crews the past few seasons, the Boilermakers are starting anew with players like the 7-0 Hammons. He did not play much in the first few games, but is now a focus of the Boilermaker offense and is the first true low post player that the school has had in quite a few years. Hammons has scored at least 12 points in five of his last six games and had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks Sunday in the win over Penn State for the best game of his young career.
Willie Cauley-Stein, center, Kentucky Wildcats
Unlike the other members of the Kentucky recruiting class, Cauley-Stein has not been burdened by huge expectations. In fact, the seven-footer has been a bit of a surprise. He started the season on the bench as a replacement for Nerlens Noel, but is now in the starting lineup next to Noel. In his four games as a starter, WCS has provided 7.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. Against Texas A&M on Saturday, Cauley-Stein fouled out after 24 minutes for his worst game as a starter. He is averaging 7.6 point, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks for the season.
Danuel House, forward, Houston Cougars
The 6-7 House had the most buzz for the Cougars coming into the season and has showed off solid scoring skills of late. The thin forward has provided 22 points or more in three of his last six games, including a career-high 28 points on Jan. 9 in a win over SMU. Like most freshman, House is inconsistent and was held to four free throws (0-of-5 from the field) Saturday against Southern Miss. With Joseph Young running the show, House might be a secondary option for the next few years.
Josh Hagins, guard, Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans
The Trojans are relying on a freshman backcourt in Hagins and John Gillon, who is out for the next two weeks after injuring his knee. That means that Hagins will get more playing time and offensive opportunities. Hagins, a 6-1 native of Bossier City, Louisiana, joined the starting lineup four games ago and has provided 12.7 points and 6.0 assists as a starter. Against North Texas last Thursday, Hagins had 11 points, eight assists, and six steals. Sign him up if you need a freshman guard.
Anthony Beane, Jr., guard, Southern Illinois Salukis
When in doubt, go with the coach's son. Beane is the son of an assistant coach for the Salukis and has provided at least 10 points in his last five games. The 6-2 guard has started all but the first two games of the season and has averaged 10.2 points on the season. Sadly, it looks like SIU is playing for the future once again after losing four of their first five conference games, so they will likely give Beane plenty of playing time.
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