Most of the best freshmen players in the country for the 2005-06 season signed letters of intent in November of last year, and many also committed to their future schools well before then.
And those who follow those schools' basketball programs have eagerly anticipated those players' debuts in their favorite teams' uniforms before the ink on the letters of intent was dry.
The anticipation is almost over.
In a little more than a month, we'll get to see which of those highly touted recruits have been worth the wait.
Here are the freshmen classes that are most likely to have the most immediate impact this season:
Who contributes immediately: This, at
the same stage, is a better freshman class than the one Bill Self recruited at
Who contributes immediately: Roy Williams,
like the guy who replaced him at
Who contributes immediately: Many NBA scouts believed McRoberts was the best high school prospect in the country last season and that he would have been a lottery selection. His presence on the floor will keep defenders from doubling up on Shelden Williams too frequently. Paulus figures to be in a season-long battle with senior Sean Dockery to be Mike Krzyzewski's starting point guard. He was the best floor leader in the McDonald's All-America game last March. Pocius will have some cool deep-shooting contests with J.J. Redick in practice and will provide perimeter firepower off the bench. Boykin and Boateng will challenge for the few minutes in the post positions when Williams or McRoberts are on the bench.
Who contributes immediately: Gordon,
very underrated nationally a year ago at
Who contributes immediately: Dennis Felton very well could have the best all-freshman starting backcourt anywhere this season in Mercer and Humphrey, AAU teammates with the Georgia Stars. Mercer was the most underrated point guard in the Class of 2005 and probably should have been a McDonald's All-America. And Humphrey is about as good a jump shooter as there is in the freshman class. Singleton is slender but should play immediately. Johnson was recently lost for the season because of ankle surgery.
Who contributes immediately: Martell Webster would have been the Huskies' leading scorer, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a potential conference Player of the Year. Well, he's now in a Portland Trail Blazers' uniform but another McDonald's All-America, Brockman, is now the heavy favorite to be the conference's Freshman of the Year. He would have been the Huskies' top low-post scoring threat immediately, even without the shoulder injury that will keep senior Mike Jensen sidelined for a while. Wallace's prospects for immediate playing time increase with the absence of Jensen, Denton will push transfer Ryan Appleby for a starting backcourt spot and Perry could play anywhere on the perimeter for Romar.
Who contributes immediately: Brandon Bass'
decision to decline the opportunity to bag consecutive SEC Player of the
Year trophies and head to the NBA greased Mitchell's path to SEC Freshman of the
Year honors this season. He'll have better numbers than any freshman in the
conference, although at least one player at
Who contributes immediately: Eaton is the best player in this class although Brumbaugh – who put his name in the NBA draft pool but withdrew when he wisely realized there was no interest in him at all on the NBA's part – received more national hype last season. The competition at point guard between Eaton and JC standout Jamaal Brown should be something beyond mildly interesting. Brumbaugh, Flemings and Harris are capable perimeter scorers.
Who contributes immediately: The Cardinals, with Juan Palacios and David Padgett sidelined for a while with foot injuries, could use immediate help in the post positions. But they are likely to get that from a red-shirted freshman, Brian Johnson. Perimeter players Williams, Harvey and McGee are all capable of playing a lot right away for Rick Pitino. Williams could be Pitino's best scorer by his sophomore season.
Who contributes immediately: This is a class that looks considerably different than it did last spring. For one thing, the top November signee, center Andrew Bynum, opted for the NBA and an immediate future of sitting on the Lakers' bench and trying to figure out the Triangle Offense. And then, with the arrest of guards Marcus Williams and A.J. Price for their alleged roles in the on-campus theft of four laptop computers, the Huskies needed immediate help at point guard. That is expected to provided by Garrison, who signed scholarship papers with the program in July. Adrien has the best future in the class but he isn't expected to see as much on-court time right away.
Others whose classes could have easily made
the Top 10:
An April inductee into the USBWA
Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert
and is also a columnist for the