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Freshman Haze: Frosh for Your Fantasy Radar

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 started writing about fantasy college basketball in 2006. I wrote a weekly column called the "Freshman Haze." Little did I know, six years later, the Haze would be resurrected for a website as established as RotoWire. Yet, here we are. Here is my promise to you: each week, I will profile seven freshmen from around the country who should be on your fantasy radar. If you don't know about Kentucky's Nerlens Noel or UCLA's Shabazz Muhammed, you will be introduced to them in later columns. You may also want to reassess your interest in college basketball since Noel and Muhammed (if and when he becomes eligible) are the next big things.

Kyle Anderson, F, UCLA Bruins

Whenever anyone says, "point forward," my ears perk up. Maybe it was watching Paul Pressey as an impressionable youth in Wisconsin, but I have always loved big guys who can pass, especially for fantasy purposes. Now that he has been deemed eligible by the NCAA, the 6-foot-9 Anderson should get plenty of playing time for the Bruins. While the team is set to go with Larry Drew II at point guard, Anderson should share the offensive facilitation duties. Drew may not last as the team's point, so Anderson's role could grow during the season. If Muhammed is out for any length, the team will lean on Anderson even more.

Ben McLemore, G, Kansas Jayhawks

The 6-5 wing has Jayhawks fans salivating after normally reserved coach Bill Self praised McLemore's defense during a preseason trip to Italy. McLemore had to sit out last year to get his academic house in order and steps into a team that already has Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford in the backcourt. McLemore is more athletic than either upperclassman and should contribute in points, rebounds and steals. If the Jayhawks are to win their eighth consecutive Big 12 title, McLemore will have to bring the goods.

Jahii Carson, G, Arizona State Sun Devils

Like McLemore, Carson is a redshirt freshman who had to sit out a year to qualify academically. Carson was allowed to practice with the Sun Devils last year, and the 5-10 freshman should lead the team in multiple categories in his first year. Carson is extremely speedy with the ball, and his quickness should allow ASU to get into transition for some easy buckets. He will share the backcourt with Chris Colvin, but the relative lack of depth on the Sun Devils roster should lead to plenty of scoring opportunities for the freshman.

Adam Woodbury, C, Iowa Hawkeyes

I didn't know much about Woodbury this summer. After he was selected in my Big Ten draft, I decided I'd better learn about the 7-1 native Iowan. The Hawkeyes have not been relevant in the Big Ten for a few years, but coach Fran McCaffery seems to have the squad headed in the right direction. Woodbury is a skilled big man who at the very least will provide rebounding and shot blocking. His size should allow him to get some easy baskets as well, and he could quietly vie for Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Josh Scott, F/C, Colorado Buffaloes

Since moving to the Pac-12 two years ago, the Buffaloes have been competitive. With the top of the conference in flux, this may be their year to win the league. The team has a star in wing Andre Roberson. Scott, a 6-10 forward/center, may give Colorado one of the best frontcourts in the conference. In the team's summer trip to Europe, Scott made his presence felt by averaging 17.4 points. Many of the upperclassmen did not play much in the trip, so that number should be seen through a prism of caution. Nevertheless, Scott may help the squad make back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances for the first time since 1962-1963.

Sam Dekker, F, Wisconsin Badgers

Things are lining up nicely for Dekker to be the first productive Badgers freshman in quite some time. The 6-8 Wisconsin native will not have to contend with Mike Bruesewitz for the first month of the season, while the redhead sits out with a leg laceration. Point guard Josh Gasser also will miss the season with a torn ACL. These injuries may allow Dekker, who averaged 32.5 points as a high school senior, more playing time. Coach Bo Ryan generally leans on his juniors and seniors, but he may not have a choice to put Dekker out there and see what he can do.

Robert Upshaw, C, Fresno State Bulldogs

Usually, I'll hit a handful of freshmen outside of Tier 1 (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac 12, SEC). For this week, I'll shine the Haze's spotlight on a big from the Mountain West. Fresno State escaped the sinking WAC to join the MWC this season and will have the services of the 7-0 Upshaw. Productive freshman centers are gold in fantasy leagues, and Upshaw may be a player worth time in prospecting. The Bulldogs have plenty of available minutes in the frontcourt, and Upshaw is a presence around the rim on both sides of the court. Big players generally take longer to acclimate to the college level, but if fantasy players are patient, they may get a gem in Upshaw.

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