We know all about the ranked guys. Anyone can scroll down our list and loosely project which freshmen will make the most significant impressions in college basketball next season.
Off the beaten path, then, name one player somewhat under the radar who signed and has the look of a future NCAA Tournament assassin.
Brian Snow: One kid I really think made a good decision in terms of level and that could really thrive in Prentiss Nixon. Nixon is headed to Colorado State and should be someone who makes an impact in the Mountain West. He is a bit undersized as a shooting guard and that is why he was never really a serious high-major prospect, but he is a very good athlete, can get really hot shooting the ball from deep, and has the ability to score in bunches. He is definitely one that I feel could be a surprise to some and help lead an NCAA Tournament upset.
Also I look to Levan Alston (pictured above). He isn't so much under the radar, but he is someone outside of the top 125 or so who could have one of those games or one of those weeks that thrusts him on the national radar. Alston is long and has a multi dimensional game, and going to Temple he will be coached very well. I just think with some time in the weight room and with good coaching, he has a chance to definitely surprise some people and make an impact on a big stage when the lights are bright.
Evan Daniels: The name that immediately came to mind was VCU commit Kenny Williams. Through 19 games in the Nike EYBL, Williams shot 43.7 percent from behind the three-point stripe and is regarded as the No. 33 shooting guard.
|Williams chose VCU over several major conference options|
With Shaka Smart at the helm, I expect to VCU to be in the hunt for the NCAA Tournament every year. His roster continues to get better and Williams is certainly on that can help their perimeter attack.
Josh Gershon: I'm going to cheat and name several players from the West Coast who landed under the level where they could have been serious contributors, and who have the chance to be very successful on automatic berth NCAA Tournament teams in smaller conferences.
Napa (Calif.) Prolific Prep point guard Kyle Leufroy is an absolute steal for Lehigh and should be one of the top players in the Patriot League early into his career. Rosville (Calif.) Woodcreek point guard Noah Blackwell had Pac-12 offers and chose Long Beach State, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade point guard Michael Oguine picked Montana and should be terrific in the Big Sky, Corona (Calif.) Centennial shooting guard Khalil Ahmad committed to Cal State Fullerton, and he likely would have gone Pac-12 if he’d signed next spring.
U.C. Irvine stole took a few good ones in Los Angeles Loyola point guard Max Hazzard, Las Vegas Centennial shooting guard Darrian Traylor and Santa Ana (Calif.) Godinez small forward Brandon Smith. Additionally, Lake Balboa (Calif.) Birmingham wing Serigne Athj is a steal for Cal Poly.
Rob Harrington: One guy I view as a future giant killer is Lamarr Kimble, headed to Saint Joseph’s. Kimble is a very tough and strong point guard with a giant killing attitude, and he won’t ever shy away from a physical o mental challenge.
I’m envisioning a scenario in which the Hawks would enter the tournament as a No. 8 or a No. 9 seed, and Kimble would be the floor leader who defied the odds and led St. Joe’s past a top-seeded club. That’s his competitive makeup, and I think he’ll be an extremely valuable addition to Phil Martelli’s program.
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report