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CBS Sports Ranks Top 30 Freshmen

And no surprise… Nerlens Noel is #1.  The rankings focused less on pure talent, and more on ability to make an impact (with minutes, plays, etc.), so it’s only natural to put the shot-blocking, flat-topped Noel at the top.  The big man tasked with filling Anthony Davis’ shoes certainly has a lot of expectations on him, but CBS thinks he can handle it:

So Noel simply has to come in and replace Anthony Davis, the National Player of the Year last season and the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. No big deal. Noel is up to the task – at least defensively. He’s a dominant shot-blocker and controls the paint at that end of the floor. His offense is still developing, but he made enormous strides over the last year.

This is all stuff that we’ve seen over the last few practices and scrimmages.  Noel will absolutely be a force defensively, but he’ll have to work on his footwork and offensive moves to become the full-court threat that Anthony was.  Not to mention he’s got fewer returning players around him to help him learn, and the burden on Noel’s shoulders is pretty substantial.

But, as with any Calipari team, there’s more than just one dynamite freshman.  Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress also crack the top ten, at #6 and #8, respectively.  And deservedly so.

Archie Goodwin:

Although it was a down class for perimeter players, Goodwin might have been the best scoring guard in the class of 2012. He has tremendous athleticism and knows how to get to the rim on nearly any defender. Goodwin improved his outside shot as his high school career progressed, and he will be ready to make an impact in Lexington.

Alex Poythress:

Poythress is a future lottery pick. He’s an ultra-talented combo forward who continues to work on his game and fine-tune his weaknesses. He started out as a rebounding power forward, and is now an inside-outside matchup nightmare. Poythress has a great motor and is very aggressive at both ends of the floor.

Again, where the metric isn’t simply talent, but an ability to make an impact, it’s not surprising at all that three first-year Wildcats make the top ten.  These guys have more than just talent, they have responsibility, and opportunity.

Notably, the #2 player on the list is NOT Shabazz Muhammed, as you might have thought, but rather Marcus Smart at Oklahoma State.  That’s a little confusing, but he plays for Travis Ford, so I guess it’s okay.  Apparently issues with the shoulder, as well as his eligibility, cloud Muhammed’s potential impact at UCLA.

Also, it’s something of a sham that Willie Cauley-Stein was left of the list, but it only shows that Jeff Borzello didn’t watch the Blue/White game.  Because if he had, WCS would at least be in the top 15, for sure.  Apart from that glaring exception, the Borzello seems to be pretty spot-on with his rankings.

Only a few more weeks until these freshmen get to prove their stuff.

Article written by Corey Nichols

19 Comments for CBS Sports Ranks Top 30 Freshmen



  1. Kingscuba89
    9:08 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Ready to get this season started!!!!



  2. Dear IU and UL, We are National Champs; you are not. The end.
    9:22 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Love the guy, but all Noel needs is squats, lunges, and calf raises at this point.



  3. Media & Fools
    9:24 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    that WCS isn’t in the top 50 . . . this is a great example of how ignorant those in the media generally are. There are some highly intelligent people in the media as well, so don’t start on me, but generally speaking, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to be in the media. This piece represents a lame rehashing of incoming rankings – CBS has been exposed by WCS.

    Go CATS! #crybabydonavan #jkimnoahisfugly



  4. Link
    9:35 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Link?



  5. Dear IU and UL, We are National Champs; you are not. The end.
    9:35 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    And yeah, if WCS keeps improving, he could be a top 5 center in the NCAA this year. Dude’s got game.



  6. Yngvie Maumsteen.
    9:35 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Hard to put any stock in this report since he says Poythrees has a great motor. Cal constantly says that’s Alex’s main weakness. He doesn’t go hard all of the time. Chewed him out at the BW game.



  7. Juan4UK
    9:38 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    You guys need to prepare yourselves for a lot of 2,3,4 and 5 pt games coming out of Noel and be happy with them until around February. Be thrilled with his defense and extremely patient with his offense.
    I would also suggest that fans don’t go off on his offensive game while he is putting it together. The harder our fans are on him, the harder it is going to be for him to get it together, cause then it’s the added mental pressure that is going to be worse with our fans going at him.



  8. rawromgmoo
    9:39 am October 26, 2012 Permalink


  9. Chad
    9:48 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Does anyone know how many episodes the All Access is going to have?



  10. James K
    9:56 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Failure to see how Nerlens will impact us winning and losing is a failure to understand what helps you win basketball games.



  11. emlang08
    10:05 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Big Strength is WCS’ Athleticism, Dude runs the floor like a Guard! A usual twin tower lineup would would hampe r a team and slow them down, forcing to play a lot of 4 on 5. Not with this Pair, Going to be a FUN year!!!



  12. Jpo
    10:08 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    9) I believe there’s three



  13. snoopaloop
    10:10 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    I love what I am seeing out of WCS, but you sound pretty ridiculous for ridiculing Borzello for not including him in the top 30. WCS was not highly regarded whatsoever coming out of high school and the only exposure the media and fans, for that matter, has with him is from BBM and the Blue-White game. So his performance in the Blue-White game warrants him a spot in the top 30? You sound like a total fanboy. Need I remind you that Terrence Jones went off for 50 points in a Blue-White game? So since he went off for 50, he was going to do that during the season?



  14. Dwight Howard's Frame
    10:26 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    WCS = most upside/potential in this class . . . TOP 10 pick next year.



  15. CATS
    10:54 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    As awesome as Willie seems to be doing right now and as much as I hope he does great during the season, I’m already hoping him or Nerlens, not likely, return for next season.



  16. Chicago Cat
    10:56 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Question for those in the know: How do you pronounce Poythress? I finally got to watch the new All-Access last night and Cal seemed to pronounce the “TH” as a hard “T”. Is correct? Poy-tress?

    I was sounding out the TH this whole time. Might be a silly question but I like to pronounce names correctly.



  17. Walter Sobchak
    11:14 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    16) You do sound out the TH, I think you are just hearing Cal’s Pittsburgh inflection. Dick Vitale also says “Poytress”, but people with more neutral accents (like Jay Bilas) say “Poythress”



  18. Miguel
    11:14 am October 26, 2012 Permalink

    @16 Hahha I was wondering the same thing. Been pronouncing it ‘th’ but I doubt Cal has it wrong so I’d guess it’s a hard t



  19. J A Brooks
    12:29 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    I just don’t understand how it took so many so long to realize what a gem WCS was. Even watching just the little amount of film that was available it was easy to see how gifted he was physically. His ranking was a reflection of being a two sport star and not focusing everything on basketball… but the indicators were there.

    People just chalked him up as “Not a top 15 recruit” and assumed he’d never contribute. SMH

    Kind of like a lot of people are already doing with Marcus Lee.