In the early chapters of this college basketball season, the talk across the college basketball world has swiftly shifted to the freshmen taking center stage in the NCAA. Sure, it's too early to carve out their legacies, but the way these young guns are making an impact and carrying themselves on the court is sparking conversations that'll echo for seasons to come. The great debate on classes may have to wait another 20 years, but it does raise eyebrows.
Without hesitation, we acknowledge that there have been some outstanding classes in years past. One of the standout classes in recent memory is the 2020 class. Highlighted by prominent names like Caitlin Clark (Iowa), Paige Bueckers (UConn), Cameron Brink (Stanford), and Angel Reese (LSU). These players have already made a significant impact in their NCAA careers, further solidifying the reputation of the 2020 class in collegiate basketball history.
Who are the newcomers?
Freshmen are stealing the show. The season has kicked off with dazzling performances from the top two high school recruits. USC's Juju Watkins and LSU's Mikaylah Williams, both living up to their pre-season rankings.
Watkins (Ranked 1 by Hoopgurlz) has set the court ablaze with an impressive five 30-point games, securing her position as the second-highest scorer in the NCAA, averaging 27.3 points per game. Meanwhile, Williams (Ranked 2 Hoopgurlz) left a corner stone early in the season with a remarkable 42-point game. Her seamless transition to college court has started with an average 18.2 points per game contributing to an already deep LSU team.
The athleticism and poise of this young group does not stop there. Another standout is Milaysia Fulwiley (Ranked 13 by HoopGurlz) from South Carolina. Fulwiley's on-court artistry has captured the attention of fans nationwide, with a particular play on opening night in Paris that left basketball legends like Kevin Durant and Magic Johnson in awe.
On the other side of the court in Paris was Hannah Hildago (Ranked 13th by Hoopgurlz) of Notre Dame University. She has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. Over eight games, she has showcased an impressive offensive game, averaging 23.6 points. Her defensive side has been the most impressive, leading the country with an average of 6.1 steals per game, according to NCAA.com
More Freshman Mentions
- Taliah Scott (Ranked 11 by Hoopgurlz) of the University of Arkansas earned her fourth consecutive SEC Freshman of the Week honors. The conference announced on Tuesday. She is averaging 23.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.
- Zoe Brooks (Ranked 9 by HoopGurlz) of North Carolina State University recorded a triple-double on Sunday, December 10th the second in school history, in a win.
- Audi Crooks (Ranked 57 by HoopGurlz) of Iowa State is leading her team in scoring with 16.1 points per game.
- Kailey Woolston (Not Ranked by HoopGurlz) of BYU is currently second on the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game, and she’s shooting 54.24% from 3-point range, which currently ranks in the NCAA (per NCAA.com).
- Madison Booker (Ranked 12th by HoopGurlz) of Texas, Booker proved a pivotal role in the upset win over UConn on December 3rd. Where she contributed 20 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds.
Recognizing that not every freshman is taking the statistical lead for their teams is important. It will be a game of growth and patience things take time. Ranked or un-ranked these women are creating more moments and journeys for fans to follow. The list of these freshman could go on and on. The potential impact of these emerging talents in the game will continue to arise.
As the season progresses, it will likely uncover more names, including ones we have not even mentioned. While the debate for Freshman of the Year conversation is on going. Witness the brilliance of the hoops played so far and the unfolding suspense in the rest of the season.