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Freshman Haze: Separating the Hype

Perry Missner

Perry Missner

Missner covers the NBA, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. A veteran fantasy sports writer, Missner also serves as treasurer for the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

I know that hype leads to eyeballs and clicks, but there has to be some backlash to false hype. This year's freshman class was supposed to be the next group of Olajuwon, Jordan and Barkley. Maybe they still will be, since how many of us remember Olajuwon, Jordan and Barkley as freshmen? However, maybe it is time to dampen the hype a bit. There are still plenty of productive first-year players to profile, so let's take a look at seven players to consider in your fantasy college basketball leagues.

Reggie Cameron, forward, Georgetown Hoyas

The Hoyas have had some personnel issues in their frontcourt. Center Josh Smith has some academic problems that he needs to take care of before he can get back on the court and forward Jabril Trawick is out with a broken jaw. There should be plenty of playing time for the 6-7 Cameron who scored nine points in 32 minutes in the win over Butler on Saturday. His previous high in minutes was 18 and he will need to do better than 1-of-7 on 3-pointers, but he should be a player to keep an eye on.

Andrew Chrabascz, forward, Butler Bulldogs

Staying in the Big East, Chrabascz is a 6-foot-7, 225, forward who has seen increased minutes with the start of conference play. The Bulldogs are undersized along the frontline, so Chrabascz has been playing more and has averaged 11.3 points in his last three games on 9-of-13 from the field. Prior to last week's double-overtime loss to DePaul, he had not played more than 19 minutes, but has now played at least 25 minutes in his last two.

Kennedy Meeks, center, North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels have no shortage of big bodies, but Meeks is the biggest on the roster. The 290-pound center is mainly a space eater. Should he get serious about his conditioning (Roy Hibbert-style), he could be an impact center. Meeks had his best game of the season in the upset win over Louisville with 13 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. The fact that he is averaging 0.8 blocks indicates that his ups are not where they could be, but 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds from a freshman center are decent.

Damian Jones, Vanderbilt Commodores

Staying with big men, Jones has been forced into big minutes because Vanderbilt lost center Josh Henderson suffered a season-ending knee injury. The 6-10 Jones from Baton Rouge has taken over and held his own against SEC competition. With Eric McClelland kicked off the team, he is among the team's top offensive players. Over his last four games (which include two conference games), he has averaged 15.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. In the Jan. 4 win over Northeastern, Jones had 16 points and a season-high six blocks. He is surviving his trial by fire.

Jared Brownridge, guard, Santa Clara Broncs

The 6-2 sniper from Aurora, Ill., is having a fine first season in the WCC, but he is coming off one of his worst games. He fouled out with just seven points in the loss Saturday to Pacific, which snapped a two-game winning streak for the Broncs. Brownridge had scored at least 18 points in his previous four games, including a season-high 29 in the overtime win against Loyola Marymount on Jan. 4. For the season, he is averaging 15.8 points and 2.8 3-pointers on 45.4 percent from downtown.

E.C. Matthews, guard, Rhode Island Rams

Matthews has been playing increasing minutes for the Rams and is looking like he will be a four-year guy in the nation's smallest state. The 6-5 lefty averages 12.1 points and 4.1 rebounds and has played at least 30 minutes in the last nine games. Matthews had back-to-back 21-point games as Rhode Island beat Brown and LSU to open the year. Like Brownridge, Matthews is coming off a bad game with just seven points in the Saturday loss to George Washington.

Brian White, forward, Citadel Bulldogs

It doesn't look like the Citadel is going to be competitive for the third consecutive season, but White gives the Bulldogs a reason for hope. The 6-6 forward is second on the team in scoring (13.8 points) and is grabbing a team-leading 7.1 rebounds. Like many freshmen, he tends to get in foul trouble, but he hasn't fouled out of a game yet. He has three double-doubles and opened the season with 48 points and 21 boards in the first two games. The Bulldogs have been competitive in their last three losses and may focus more on White to help them over the hump.

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