Connor Cagley, Big Sports Radio Basketball Writer
August 25, 2022
Let's continue a look at the top 5 incoming freshmen from my evaluations:
It’s tough to predict which Ohio State freshman will make the most impact, but Bruce Thornton looks to have the easiest path to minutes at the point guard position. Though Thornton is only 6’1”, he’s well-built, very strong, and has a knack for winning. Defensively, he should be able to make more of an impact than his classmates.
He’ll still need to improve as a shooter and scorer, but he should have enough weapons around him that he won’t be relied upon to get Malachi Branham-type numbers. In his freshman year look for him to establish himself as a leader moving forward.
With Caleb Houston going pro after a slightly disappointing season at Michigan, it seems likely the Wolverines will start a freshman – Jett Howard – at Houston's 3 position in 2022/2023 season, as well. Howard looks to be much stronger than Houston in their respective freshman years. With his dad coaching the team, he should have a level of confidence that he won’t be playing tentative out on the court.
At 6’7” and 220 pounds, he should get most of his minutes at the three with the occasional minutes as a small ball four. While he isn’t heralded as one of the best shooters in the 2022 class, for a guy his size, he is one of the best.
Ty Rodgers will likely be Illinois’ Jack-of-all-trades type forward. At 6’6” and 220 pounds, he will be able to guard 1 through 4 comfortably and – depending on the line up – could run 1 through 4 on the offense as well.
While he may have a tougher time starting than some of the other freshmen on this list, Rodgers impact will be consistent regardless. His jump shot still needs work, but to this point it may be his only "weakness". He's a lock-down defender on one end, possesses guard-like ball skills and a true win-at-all-cost attitude, Rodgers will soon be coveted by the NBA.
Jalen Hood-Schifino will likely start at the shooting guard position next to Xavier Johnson in the back court for Indiana. His offensive game is not as polished as Skyy Clark’s, but at 6’5” and 210 pounds, he should be a very good defender immediately.
He’s still developing a three point jump shot which will likely be a need since Indiana doesn’t have the best spacing due to their bigs not demonstrating the ability to hit the 3-pointer. In addition to being a plus passer, his mid-range jump shot and ability to score in the paint will be a nice addition to Indiana’s back court.
Skyy Clark will be replacing long time Illinois starter Trent Frazier and will likely be a day one starter as a freshman. He did not get as much run in the last year due to recovering from an ACL tear, but he should be full strength by the time the season starts. His skillset of strong ball handling and a solid shooting stroke should translate well at the college level.
At 6’3” and 200 pounds, Clark possesses one of the prettiest jump shots in the entire 2022 class, regardless of conference. While he will need to prove it on the defensive end and as a facilitator, the talent around him on Illinois’ roster should be able to cover for him even if he isn’t strong in these areas early on.
Prior to his ACL injury, he was ranked in the top 10. He may not be that level currently, but still slots in #1 in the conference.