NCAA Basketball

Breakdown of the Freshman of the Year race in each Power 6 league

(Photo: Courtesy of Alabama Athletics)

Brandon MillerAlabama: Miller has been phenomenal this season. The 6-foot-9 wing is just wired to score and no one can stop him. When Alabama needs him to go off, he is capable of flirting with 30+ points every single night. Miller is a legitimate candidate for National Player of the Year, and his numbers (19.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 45% from 3) are insanely good.

Anthony BlackArkansas: Black would be a front-runner for freshman of the year in many conferences. But he has some work to do to catch up with Miller. It doesn’t take away from his brilliance in a more difficult than expected role. Arkansas has had to lean heavily on Black, and he has responded in a big way. Black is averaging 12.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Black can get into the field when he wants to, and he has been an impactful defender for Eric Musselman and Co.

Cason WallaceKentucky: No freshman is a better perimeter defender than Wallace. Kentucky’s 6-foot-4 guard is absolutely nasty on the ball, and he also shoots it from 3-point range very well at 39.5%. Kentucky has had a rollercoaster season, but Wallace has been a breath of fresh air thanks to his toughness and great effort on both ends of the floor.

GG JacksonSouth Carolina: Jackson is second among SEC freshmen with 15.9 ppg. match. Jackson also pulls down 6.7 boards per game. game. South Carolina needs him to take a lot of tough shots, and he’s certainly committed, which can be a double-edged sword. Jackson has proven he can be a big-time scorer, and NBA executives will no doubt be buzzing at the chance to draft a prospect like him. But those ineffective shooting nights can be killers against good teams.

Julian PhillipsTennessee: The Vols have a ton of other guys who can score, but Phillips isn’t afraid to do the dirty work. He is an elite offensive rebounder who has proven that he can do really good things when the ball is in his hands. Phillips has come on strong lately and is already one of Tennessee’s top five players. Phillips is averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, but those numbers could rise.

Noah ClowneyAlabama: Clowney has to share the spotlight and the shots with a rotation that can go 10 deep, but when he’s out on the floor, the Alabama freshman is one of the most influential two-way players in the country. Clowney’s rim protection and rebounding have been tremendous, and he’s shown a soft touch around the basket. Clowney is a stud.

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