Julius Randle’s freshman debut this Friday was pretty much what we expected: dominant. But where does his performance rank among the other freshman debuts in the Calipari era? With 5 #1 rated recruiting classes, Calipari’s Kentucky teams have always consisted of talented new-comers. Aiming to give some context to Julius’s performance, I’ve looked at some numbers and ranked the top 5 freshman debuts of the Calipari era. I’ve included each player’s stats per 35 minutes, to give an idea of how they might have performed had they played a normal starter’s minutes.
1.) Anthony Davis vs. Marist
23 points 10 rebounds 5 blocks 3 assists in 23 minutes
Per 35 mins: 35 points 15 rebs 5 assists 8 blocks
This stat-line would be a career highlight for most basketball players. Anthony Davis did it in his first official game – while only playing half of it. Davis went on to have the most successful freshman season in the history of college basketball. After revisiting his debut, is it really that surprising?
2.) Julius Randle vs. UNC-Asheville
23 points 15 rebounds 1 assist in 26 minutes
Per 35 mins: 31 points 20 rebs 1 assist
Had he played normal minutes, Julius Randle was on pace for 31-point, 20-rebound game this Friday. The assumed #1 draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, managed 16 points and 3 rebounds in 34 minutes. Look for Randle to change some NBA Executives’ minds come season’s end.
3.) Eric Bledsoe vs Morehead State
24 points 7 rebounds 4 assists in 27 minutes
per 35 mins: 31 points 9 rebs 5 assists
Due to John Wall’s one-game suspension via the NCAA (cue laughter), Eric Bledsoe got the nod at starting Point Guard in his first official game. He made the most of it. Eric was on pace for 31 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists – a stat-line that looks pretty similar to the ones he is currently putting up in Phoenix.
4.) Terrence Jones vs. East Tennessee State
25 points 12 rebounds 2 assists in 35 minutes
Per 35 mins: see above
Jones was an early favorite for Freshman Player of the Year in his first season; his debut had much to do with it. While he struggled as the season progressed, Terrence’s performance remains the highest-scoring debut of a Calipari player at Kentucky.
5.) Doron Lamb vs East Tennessee State
20 points 5 rebounds 3 assists in 28 minutes
Per 35 mins: 25 points 6 rebounds 4 assists
Lamb also had an impressive debut in the East Tennessee State game. Doron played a balanced game, and displayed the scoring prowess that would make him the team’s leading scorer in the national championship game of the next season.
(stats were found on espn.com)