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Freshman Haze: Big-Man Dominance

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.

You can't teach size. At least that's what they say when they don't have much else to note. This week's group of seven freshmen has size aplenty. We start with Jabari Parker who has plenty of skill to go with his size, then profile a number of bigs who could develop through their collegiate careers. If you are looking for the players who could dominate in the next few years, then you are in the right place. Just to provide the proper amount of balance, a few guards have been sprinkled in. We wouldn't want to be accused of size-ism.

Jabari Parker, forward, Duke Blue Devils

The problem with the non-conference slate is that it tells us just about as much as high school stats. A player as talented as Parker can beat up on the little guys, and that is just what he did. With Kansas in the mix, the 6-foot-8 Chicago native scored at least 21 points in his first seven games and no fewer than 15 in his first 12. He has struggled from the field in ACC play (34.1 percent), but has corralled 29 boards in his last two games. Parker has the highest offensive upside of any player heading toward the 2014 draft.

Devin Wilson, guard, Virginia Tech Hokies

Wilson's season has been nearly the opposite of Parker's. He had a few big games in the non-conference schedule (11 assists on Nov. 26 against Furman), but has put his best scoring games against conference foes. He played all 40 minutes on Jan. 22 against Wake Forest and finished with a career-high 26 points. The 6-4 guard also had 20 points against Notre Dame. Unfortunately, Wilson's burgeoning play has not helped the Hokies break into the win column in the ACC.

Devin Williams, forward, West Virginia Mountaineers

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to joke that players with similar names could be related. It may be unlikely that Wilson and Williams are related, but it makes me laugh. Williams is a power player for coach Bob Huggins who is averaging 9.3 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds. He has 12 points and 13 boards in the Jan. 11 loss to Oklahoma State and scored a career-high 20 on Dec. 22 against Purdue. Fouls have limited Williams' playing time, and he has fouled out twice.

Josh Hart, guard, Villanova Wildcats

While the Devins have been putting up numbers for losing programs, Hart has added to the legions of wings on the Wildcats. The 6-5 guard has hit 42 percent of his three-points and provides 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. Before a two-game slump in which the former Sidwell Friend scored a combined four points against Creighton and Marquette, Hart had scored in double digits in eight straight games with a career-high 19 in the Dec. 21 win over Rider.

Ryan Taylor, forward, Marshall Thundering Herd

At 6-5, Taylor is undersized for Tier 1 play, but he is a good match for Conference USA. The rebounder from Indianapolis has been putting up big numbers against conference opponents. In the Herd's six conference games, Taylor has averaged 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, which are slight upticks from his season averages of 13.9 points and 7.5 boards. Marshall has lost five of those six games and Taylor has fouled out three times. He has room to improve.

John Egbunu, center, South Florida Bulls

The Bulls have been known as a tough-defending team and that has continued with their freshman pair of bigs: Chris Perry (who was profiled earlier in the season) and the 6-10 Egbunu. The native Floridian had his best game against Memphis with 20 points and 14 boards. He has quieted down recently with four points or fewer in three of his last four games, but his 7.1 rebound per game average makes him a legitimate fantasy target.

Reggie Lynch, center, Illinois State Redbirds

We close with another center, this time from the Missouri Valley. Lynch is a 6-10, 230, center who has seen his playing time increase throughout the season. He is foul prone and has fouled out of six games, but that hasn't stopped him from scoring in double digits nine times and averaging 7.4 points. Lynch plays with a great deal energy and if that busyness can focuses away from whistles, the Redbirds could pose a real problem for MVC opponents.

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