It seems like years ago already, but Sunday morning I got up and watched the North Carolina win over Kentucky. Then I wrote about it on the RotoWire blog, RotoSynthesis. Seeing as the Wildcats are fresh in my mind, I figured I'd fill the Freshman Haze with the quintet that were supposed to set fire to the earth. Not to repeat myself, but it appears that none can hit a perimeter jumper (nor do they like passing to one another). To round out the seven players in this week's Haze, I've added a couple more cats who are playing well from Tier 2 schools. Meow!
Julius Randle, forward, Kentucky Wildcats
Randle certainly looked like an unstoppable beat in the early going. He was very impressive particularly in the loss against Michigan State as he nearly single-handedly brought the Wildcats back after a big first half deficit. The problem is what has Randle done for us lately? He has fallen off and was saddled with foul trouble against the Tar Heels. The 6-9, 250, forward still has plenty of potential and should get back to his double-double ways in the near future.
James Young, guard, Kentucky Wildcats
After Randle, things get murkier. Kentucky had five of the top nine recruits (according to ESPN), but no other than Randle is lighting the world on fire. Young is supposed to be the long-range sniper of the group, but he is only hitting 34.2 percent of his 3-pointers. He did have back-to-back games with four triples against Baylor and Boise State. With the team's great need for someone to loosen opposing defenses, Young may be the most important player for the team's future success.
Aaron Harrison, guard, Kentucky Wildcats
Like most basketball-playing twins, the Harrison field different positions. Aaron is the shooting guard of the pair and he has fared best in the dribble-drive Calipari offense. Like Young, Aaron is struggling from the perimeter (just 31.9 percent on 3-pointers). Against the Tar Heels, Harrison drove crazily to the basket to show off his athleticism and his poor decision making. Aaron finished with 20 points on 12 shots, but he needs to set up his teammates sometimes on his forays to the basket.
Andrew Harrison, guard, Kentucky Wildcats
Based on the ratings, Andrew was the higher rated of the twins coming into the season. While the Kentucky offense tends to diminish the stats of point guards (John Wall being the exception), Harrison has been decidedly average thus far. He is averaging just 3.8 assists and making less than 40 percent of his field goals. He took 17 free throws against North Carolina and helped get the Tar Heel bigs in foul trouble, but he only hit 10 of them to lower his percentage to 74.3 percent. Andrew has hit just two of his last 14 3-pointers.
Dakari Johnson, center, Kentucky Wildcats
Johnson is the lone freshman outside of the starting five on the Wildcats. While sophomore Alex Poythress comes off the bench (and continues to be less than impressive), Willie Cauley-Stein starts and has developed into a nice shot blocker. Johnson has been tied to the bench and has not played more than 17 minutes with fewer than 10 minutes four times in his last six games. He has no fantasy value with Cauley-Stein patrolling the paint, but did have 10 points in 10 minutes in the Nov. 27 win over Eastern Michigan. If Cauley-Stein gets hurt, Johnson would be a nice pickup. For now, he's Daniel Orton.
Eric Mika, forward, BYU Cougars
OK, enough Wildcats: Let's talk about a Cougar. Mika is a 6-10 forward who stayed in Utah to play college ball. He does hit work in the paint to make a nice complement for guard Tyler Haws, who is leading the team with 22.3 points. Mika has taken Brandon Davies' spot in the lineup and has averaged 14.1 points and 6.4 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in every game since the opener and had 20 points in the blowout win over Mount St. Mary's on Nov. 15. The Cougar could be a guy who stays in college for multiple years as well.
Milton Doyle, Loyola (IL) Ramblers
Doyle attended Kansas briefly before returning to Chicago to play for the Ramblers. He has shown his high Tier 1 talent by averaging 16.5 points, including a 32-point performance in the win over Campbell on Friday. The 6-4 guard has been playing heavy minutes (33.9 per game), but has been a little inconsistent with a scoreless game on Nov. 22 against SIU-Edwardsville. To his credit, he only took three shots and had seven assists in the game. Doyle could be amazing in Missouri Valley League play (after the Ramblers rambled away from the Horizon League last year).