Splashes, Dunks & Dimes - The Top 25 Men's Freshmen Basketball Players - 6 to 10

By: Connor Cagley
October 6, 2022

Connor Cagley, Big Sports Radio Basketball Writer

October 6, 2022

It's time to take a look at my national rankings for incoming freshmen. The only "negative" about these rankings for Big Ten fans is there are only 2 of the top 25 players attending Big Ten schools.

Brandon Miller courtesy Alabama basketball.

#10 – Brandon Miller, Alabama - Small Forward, 6’8” 205 pounds

Brandon Miller is a prototypical two way wing that every level of the game covets. At this time, his defensive game is arguably more polished than his offense. That said, he shows good potential on the offensive end of the court as well. At 6’8”, he’ll get most of his minutes at the three but could get minutes as a small ball four when Alabama wants to push pace.

He’s most certainly going to be a one and done, but showing growth as a shooter would likely raise his stock on draft day. Right now he works best as a slasher and offensive rebounding threat.

Julian Phillips (with ball) courtesy Tennessee Athletics

#9 – Julian Phillips, Tennessee - Small Forward/Power Forward, 6’8” 200 pounds

Julian Phillips is another lengthy wing with the ability to score both inside and outside as well as bringing versatility to the defensive end. He has the edge over Brandon Miller due to his willingness to mix it up when necessary along with his high basketball IQ which allows him to find mismatches in the post.

He may not be a high volume scorer like many others on this list, but he’s extremely efficient, is a willing passer and will still most likely push for double digit scoring as a freshman. Similar to Miller, the area of growth most scouts will be looking for will be his three point shooting.

#8 – Amari Bailey, UCLA - Shooting Guard, 6’5” 195 pounds

Amari Bailey courtesy UCLA Athletics

Amari Bailey is one of the strongest guard prospects in recent history. He’s been highly touted since his freshman year in high school. He’s known mostly as a scorer and as a transition finisher, but has shown growth in his overall game. While his three point shooting will need to be more consistent at the next level, he’s gotten better each year.

While he has the athleticism and body type to be successful on the defensive end, he would benefit from engaging at a higher level.  Occasionally he can be caught out of position off the ball. He’s another player who should be a lock for 12-15 points a game. His scoring will be his biggest asset at the college level.

#7 – GG Jackson, South Carolina - Power Forward, 6’9” 215 pounds

GG Jackson courtesy player South Carolina Athletics

Once considered the #1 prospect in 2023, Jackson decided to reclassify as well as choosing South Carolina over North Carolina for this season. There will be a lot of pressure on him as the headliner for the Gamecocks. He should be able to slot in as a lob threat and as an isolation scorer in the post.

Unlike most players on this list, there won’t be a lot of talent around him so he’ll need to make the right reads when the double teams inevitably come his way. Regardless, he should fit in as a plus shooter from mid-range, an excellent rebounder, and a solid shot blocker – even as one of this season’s youngest players.

#6 – Jarace Walker, Houston - Power Forward, 6’8” 240 pounds

Jarace Walker courtesy Houston Athletics

Arguably the best pure athlete in this entire class, Walker is strong as, extremely quick for a big guy, and can elevate to having his head clear above the rim when dunking. To this point, he’s shown development as a playmaker and ball handler despite being a power forward.

Walker’s area of weakness is his jump shot. If that’s something he can develop it would go a long way toward helping him at the NBA level. Even if he doesn’t develop a jumper, he should be able to find his way onto the court as a defensive specialist and a pure rebounder.

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