Louisville freshmen: early look

Rick Pitino's No. 8 class ranking is misleading insofar it landed there based on high school prospects, because a juco signee clearly made a significant impact.

Continuing with our series examining the initial returns for top Class of 2013 signing hauls, the title for this column actually is a misnomer. For Louisville, the best newcomer is no freshman at all.

Chris Jones, a strong scoring guard, has started every game thus far and is notching 13 points per night and ranks third on the team in minutes played. The Cardinals have blasted their first few opponents, but even in those more casual competitions, Jones has stood out.

Always a noted scorer, he's also tied for the team lead — with Russ Smith — in assists. The fact that Jones has melded into a more complete player speaks both to his maturation and the role Pitino has carved out for him in short order.

Jones aside, the freshman crop should pay dividends as well. Point guard Terry Rozier scintillated last year at Hargrave Military Academy, establishing himself as a vastly underrated recruit and ultimately earning a No. 15 national ranking.

Rozier is behind older, talented players this season and likely won't get to fully demonstrate his talents, but already he's playing 15 minutes per contest in a backup role. Look for him to make a big leap as a sophomore.

Yet another backcourt recruit signed on the bottom line. (Incidentally, that the Cards were able to ink Quentin Snider from the 2014 class was no small feat, given their existing talent and depth.) Anton Gill is a deceptively athletic southpaw shooter who's learning this year just as Rozier will do, and not surprisingly he's struggling in limited minutes.

A three star recruit, Akoy Agau was the lone big man to join the program this season. He's at least one year away physically and in terms of skills, but he does possess solid potential as a defensive presence.

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