Yags’ Point Forward - Class of 2017 Done with Year 1
As we promised at the time of our first class of 2017 check-in, which came right before most D1 programs were set to begin their conference schedule, here’s a more in-depth look at how last year’s class of New England prospects fared at the college level.
It’s important to stay updated on the performance of past prospects for a number of different reasons. It could act as a barometer or a reality check for players who are entering their freshman year next fall. And it’s a great way to hold ourselves accountable as coaches or scouts.
As a player, honestly comparing yourself to a player with a similar skillset from last year’s class can help you set some realistic goals heading into your freshman season, as long as you’ll be facing the same level of competition as your predecessor.
Future D1 players should also be very aware of some of the highly-regarded prospects in last year’s class who struggled as college freshman. As much as we’ve all tried to prepare you for the college level, adjustments are simply inevitable. How you deal with these adjustments, and the amount of work you put in to improve your weaknesses, will ultimately determine the amount of success you have at the college level.
These updates also give coaches an opportunity to recognize which skills are being utilized and valued at the next level. They are equally important to scouts, as we have to recognize the type of skillsets, work ethic and physical traits that are helping players succeed at the next level. The game is always evolving, which means we all must do the same.
CLASS OF 2017 AS FRESHMEN
1. Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky – Averaged 24.8 minutes, 10 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists while shooting 42.8% FG, 33.8% 3pt and 61.6% FT…After a hot start, Diallo cooled down considerably and struggled to find his role within the offense at times. John Calipari never removed him from the lineup and constantly demanded the best out of Diallo. It paid off during the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, where the 6’6” wing averaged 15pts/5.5reb/2.5blk while shooting 75% (12-16 FG) from the field…Diallo recently made the decision to declare for the NBA Draft after an up-and-down campaign. While he has nothing more to prove athletically, having already established the 2nd highest max vertical in the history of the NBA Draft Combine, Diallo can really improve his stock by spending the next 8 months working on his handle and jump shot.
2. Tremont Waters, LSU – 33mins, 15.9pts, 3.4reb, 6ast, 2stl while shooting 41.7% FG/36.1% 3pt/80.1% FT and leading LSU to an 18-15 record in Will Wade’s first year on the job…Waters was absolutely electric at times, backing up an early-season 39-point effort vs Notre Dame with 28-points games against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State in SEC play. Waters got comfortable by the end of his freshman campaign, averaging 22.3pts/6ast/3reb and shooting 46.4% FG/42.5% 3pt over the final six games of the season. When Waters returns to Baton Rouge this summer, he’ll have a talented new cast of characters to lead. Wade put together a recruiting class that is unanimously considered one of the top-5 in the nation and features 6’7” Emmitt Williams (recent Jordan Brand MVP), 6’10” Naz Reid, 6’5” wing Javonte Smart and 6’7” wing Darius Days. Waters was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team at season’s end.
3. Makai Ashton-Langford, Providence – 13.1mins, 4.2pts, 1.7reb, 1.7ast while shooting 37.9% FG/12% 3pt/52.4% FT for a Friars team that went 21-14 and made the NCAA Tourney…Ashton-Langford saw his minutes drop in Big East play as a strong group of veterans held down the point guard and wing positions for Providence. Ashton-Langford gained invaluable experience throughout the season and made a huge impact in a win over Xavier in the Big East Tournament semis, racking up 4pts/3reb/1ast in just 10 minutes when Ed Cooley needed him most. Ashton-Langford will be joined by Mass Rivals teammates David Duke and AJ Reeves next season and should be prepared to carve out a bigger role for the next 3 seasons.
4. Jermaine Samuels, Villanova – Success at ‘Nova is defined by winning, not personal production. Hard work is expected. Playing time is earned. Patience is rewarded. Players who remain loyal to Jay Wright’s process have been rewarded with National Championships recently. When you consider the amount of high-level professional talent that is also produced by the program, it’s impossible to argue with the recipe…Samuels saw action in 26 games and averaged 6.1 mins, 1.1 pts, 1.1reb…But he still had the dream ending to his freshman season and that can never be taken away from him. Samuels is now poised to take on a larger role next season as Nova tries to repeat. He’ll be joined by fellow New England-products Omari Spellman, Cole Swider and Eric Paschall as a sophomore.
5. Jordan Nwora, Louisville – 12mins, 5.7pts, 2.2reb while shooting 46.4% FG/43.9% 3pt/75.8% FT…After an NCAA investigation led to Rick Pitino getting fired, Nwora battled admirably for interim coach David Padgett only to see him replaced by Chris Mack after the season…With the coaching situation now stabilized, Nwora can focus on his future. In the 9 games in which he played more than 16 minutes, Nwora averaged 12.2pts and 4rebs while shooting 56.2% FG/44.7% 3pt/70% FT. Considering he still only averaged 19.5 minutes per game in those contests, Nwora could be one of the ACC’s breakout candidates heading into the ’18-’19 season if he’s able to earn starter’s minutes.
6. Kimani Lawrence, Arizona St – 9.8mins, 3.1pts, 1.7reb while shooting 45.8% FG/20% FG/84.6% FT in 19 games played after returning from foot surgery in January…Lawrence’s individual season was similar to ASU’s as a whole. There were moments of success, periods of adversity that made them stronger and a lot of good stuff to build on. After returning to health, Lawrence earned reserve minutes on an NCAA Tourney team that finished with a 21-12 record…In a 7-game stretch at the end of the PAC-12 schedule, Lawrence averaged 6pts/3reb while shooting over 50% (15-29 FG) in 14.5mins. He’ll will be asked to improve those numbers next season, when Bobby Hurley loses his top-3 scorers who combined for over 47 points per game this season.
7. Wabissa Bede, Virginia Tech – 8.3mins, 2.5pts, 1reb, 0.8ast while shooting 49% FG/52.9% 3pt/61.1% FT in 28 games for VT’s 21-12 NCAA Tourney team…Bede’s minutes declined once VT got into the heart of their ACC schedule but his work ethic, preparation and determination stayed true. As a result, Buzz Williams called his number at the season’s most pivotal point. With VT’s stable of veteran guards facing foul trouble in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tourney vs Alabama, Bede was asked to run the Hokies offense and defend all-everything freshman Collin Sexton. The 6’ point guard rose to the occasion, scoring 9 points (4-5 FG/1-1 3pt) and dishing out 2 assists in 10 minutes of action. VT’s season would end with an 86-83 loss that night but Bede proved that his future in Blacksburg was bright. Bede is part of a talented core of returning players with high hopes for the ’18-’19 season.
8. Hasahn French, Saint Louis – 30.2mins, 9.3pts, 7.1reb, 1.8blk, 1.5ast while shooting 53.5% FG/35.5% FT for an SLU squad that went 17-16 on the year…French, along with fellow frosh Jordan Goodwin, proved that they were the type of players that Travis Ford could build his program around. French got better as the season wore on and he was asked to play a larger role. Over SLU’s last 11 games, French averaged 12pts/8reb/2ast/1.8blk/1.1stl while shooting 60.4% (55-91) from the field. His season-highs of 20 points (vs Dayton), 16 rebounds, 4stls, 4ast (vs St. Bonaventure) and 6 blocks (vs LaSalle) came against A-10 opponents within the last 8 games of his campaign…Foul shooting must improve in order for French to reach his potential but the rest was prominently on display…French was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Freshman Team at the end of the year.
9. Thomas Allen, Nebraska – 10mins, 3.2pts, 1reb while shooting 39.5% FG/35.4% 3pt/80% FT for a very good Cornhuskers squad that went 13-5 in the Big Ten and 22-11 overall…Allen’s role as an off-the-bench marksman was slightly diminished in Big Ten play but he still received valuable minutes all year…Allen’s 13 points (5-7 FG/3-4 3pt) in a 73-72 loss to Kansas and an 8-point effort in 15 minutes in a 63-59 win over Wisconsin were a few of his personal highlights.
10. Kellan Grady, Davidson – 35.2mins, 18pts, 3.3reb, 1.9ast while shooting 50% FG/37.6% 3pt/80.4% FT for the Atlantic 10 Tournament Champions, who went 16-5 after January 1st and finished with a 21-12 mark overall…Grady was fantastic from the jump (23pts/4ast/3reb in 18 mins in his college debut) but caught the entire nation’s attention with a string of clutch late-season performances. In Davidson’s last 8 games of the season, Grady averaged 23.5pts while shooting 51.2% FG/86.4% FT (51-59 FT)…Scored a season-high 39 points in a 117-113 3OT loss to St. Bonaventure. Scored 14+ points in 26 games during his freshman year, to go along with 20+ points in 11 games and 30+ points in 3 games…Grady was named the Atlantic-10 Freshman of the Year, while earning spots on the A-10 All-Freshman Team and the All-Atlantic-10 2nd Team.
11 Christian David, Butler – 5.5mins, 1.1pts while shooting 34.5% FG/18.8% 3pt/55.6% FT and playing in 25 games as a freshman for an NCAA Tourney team that finished 21-14 on the year…David will enter the pivotal second year post-ACL surgery as a sophomore in ’18-’19 where he’ll look to expand his role with the Bulldogs.
12 Sidney Wilson, UConn – Sat out due to NCAA transfer rules after taking summer classes at St. John’s.
13. Geo Baker, Rutgers – 31.6mins, 10.8pts, 2.2reb, 2.6ast while shooting 38% FG/36.1% 3pt/78.5% FT for a team that finished 15-19 in Steve Pikiell’s second season…Baker assumed a sizable role as soon as he arrived on campus and never shied away from the pressure. He played in 33 out of 34 games, starting 29 contests. Baker’s season-high of 29 points (vs. Bryant) came early on but he also finished off his first season with a 25-point performance against Purdue…Rank among Big Ten freshmen: 1st in Minutes, 3rd in Assists, 4th in 3pt% and 5th in Scoring…Baker will assume an even larger role next season, as a natural leader and cornerstone for the program’s future.
14. Anthony Gaines, Northwestern – 18.6mins, 4pts, 2.5reb, 1ast while shooting 37.5% FG/24.2% 3pt/78.7% FT for the Wildcats, who finished with a 15-17 record…Strong 6’4” athlete played a much larger role down the stretch for Chris Collins. Averaged 7.2pts, 3reb and 3ast while shooting 44.7% FG/41.6% 3pt in 32.5 minutes in his last six games…Gaines’ skillset and role within the program should expand over the next three seasons as a jack-of-all-trades wing.
15. Curtis Haywood, Georgia Tech – 24.3mins, 5.3pts, 2.9reb, 2.3ast while shooting 38.7% FG/37% 3pt/83.3% FT for first-year head coach Josh Pastner’s 13-19 squad…Haywood’s season got off to a hot start but was abruptly ended by a right leg injury. He is an integral part of GT’s future and has the ability to be a core piece moving forward.
16. Michael Okauru, Florida – 11.1mins, 3.8pts, 1reb while shooting 46.5% FG/40.4% 3pt/56.7% FT for a Gators squad that reached the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tourney and finished 21-13 overall…Okauru was one of six Gators to play in every game in ’17-’18. Earned a reserve role early on and gave HC Mike White quality minutes throughout the season…Okauru had a 3-game stretch in the middle of SEC play where he averaged 10.3pts in just 15 minutes per game, finishing with 14 points in 14 minutes vs Georgia. White’s system demands depth and fits Okauru’s skillset well.
18. Alexis Yetna, South Florida – After needing just three years to graduate from high school in his native France, Yetna headed to America and enrolled in prep school for ’15-’16. Realizing it wasn’t a good fit, he returned to France where he played with the National Team. Yetna then enrolled at Putnam for ’16-’17 as a full qualifier and was under the impression that it would be treated as his prep season by the NCAA, since he used only 3 years in France. The NCAA ruled Yetna ineligible for the entire ’17-’18 season, since he was technically two years removed from his graduating HS class in France. Like Wilson, my money is on Yetna becoming exponentially more successful in his life than those at the NCAA who were allowed to judge him.
19. Malik Ondigo, Texas Tech – Played in just 14 games for a Texas Tech squad that was nationally ranked throughout the ’17-’18 season and reached the Elite Eight in March before losing to Villanova, the eventual-champ, in the regional final. Not clear whether Ondigo will be able to apply for a redshirt but the smooth 6’10” athlete remains in Chris Beard’s plans for the future.
20. Chris Duarte, NW Florida State – 23.3mins, 12.1pts, 6.7reb, 2stl, 1.2ast while shooting 54.6% FG/36.7% 3pt/70% FT for Steve DeMeo’s 31-3 D1 Juco squad…Duarte really applied himself on the boards this season, racking up four double-digit rebound games from the wing…Could become one of the more highly-recruited prospects in the Juco ranks next season as a sophomore.
21. Andrew Platek, North Carolina – 7.5mins, 2pts, 1.1reb while shooting 49% FG/37% 3pt/70% FT for one of the nation’s blue bloods who finished with a 26-11 record after reaching the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tourney…Platek will continue to carve out a role for himself at UNC as long as the 3-point shot remains in play. And that line isn’t going anywhere soon!
26. Walter Whyte, Boston University – 24.6mins, 9.3pts, 5reb, 1.1ast while shooting 45% FG/37% 3pt/67.4% FT for the Terriors, who finished with a 15-16 record…After playing in 27 games as a stabilizing force in BU’s lineup, Whyte was voted onto the Patriot League All-Rookie Team.
34. Mike McGuirl, Kansas State – 12.5mins, 3.3pts, 1.5reb, 1ast while shooting 33% FG/23.8% 3pt/75% FT and appearing in just 12 games for the Wildcats…McGuirl was another huge story in the NCAA Tourney, coming out of nowhere to score 17 points in a 1st Round win over Creighton…The 6’4” wing may have only appeared in 12 games but an astounding 11 of those games came against Top-25 teams in the regular season or in NCAA Tournament games at year’s end. His Kansas State squad would reach the Elite Eight before falling to Loyola-Chicago.
35. Jordan Burns, Colgate – 27.3mins, 11.9pts, 2.6reb, 3ast while shooting 43.1% FG/36.5% 3pt/76.3% FT for a team that finished 19-14 overall…Ran the point from beginning to end and was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie Team for his efforts.
40. Bobby Planutis, Mount St. Mary’s – 23.7mins, 5.6pts, 3.9reb while shooting 47.4% FG/49.3% 3pt/90% FT for an 18-14 squad…Planutis’ shooting slashes were outstanding and suggest that he’ll be in for a major jump statistically over the next few years…Averaged 10.2pts/6.2reb/1ast/1blk on 76.2% FG (16-21 FG) and 83.3% 3pt (10-12 3pt) over the last 5 games of his freshman campaign.
45. Jerome Desrosiers, Princeton – 15.4mins, 6.2pts, 2.7reb, 1ast while shooting 44.4% FG/41.6% 3pt/76% FT for a 13-16 Tigers squad…Led the nation in 3pt% midway through the season before cooling off a bit.
53. Jaheam Cornwall, Gardner-Webb – 22.2mins, 7.7pts, 2.4reb, 2.4ast while shooting 44.7% FG/43.9% 3pt/80% FT for the Bulldogs, who finished 14-18 overall…Had season-highs of 18 points (vs Florida), 6 assists (3 times) and 6 rebounds (twice)…Named to the Big South All-Freshman Team.
59. Rich Kelly, Quinnipiac – 34.2mins, 11.1pts, 2.3reb, 4.7ast while shooting 39% FG/31.7% 3pt/77.4% FT for the Bobcats, who finished 12-21 overall…Kelly dropped 40 points on 13-22 FG/7-12 3pt/7-9 FT in a 2OT loss to Fairfield in early February…He was named to the MAAC All-Freshman Team.
60. Jaylyn Hinton, Jacksonville – 23.6mins, 9pts, 5.3reb, 1.1blk while shooting 66.1% FG/56.2% FT and never attempting a 3pt FG for the 15-18 Dolphins…Really put it together down the stretch, averaging 15.5pts/5.5rebs/2.3blk in the final four games of the season…Named to the Atlantic Sun All-Rookie Team at season’s end.
80. Carl Pierre, UMass – 31.2mins, 12.4pts, 2.2reb, 1.1ast while shooting 44.3% FG/47.2% 3pt/81.8% FT for first-year coach Matt McCall’s squad that finished 13-20 overall…Whether he was in the starting lineup or coming off the bench, Pierre played major minutes all season and finished as the team’s 2nd leading scorer. Pierre had season-highs of 25 points (twice), 6 rebounds (vs LaSalle) and 4 assists (twice) while knocking down 4+ 3pt FGs in eleven contests and drilled 3-or-more 3pt FGs in 21 games. Pierre knocked down 47.2% (92-195) of his shots from beyond the arch, leading the A-10 in 3pt% as a freshman.
95. Jesus Cruz, Fairfield – 27.1mins, 9.1pts, 4.4reb, 1.6stl, 1.4ast while shooting 43.1% FG/28.1% 3pt/55.6% FT for the Stags, who finished with a 16-15 record…While the FT% has to improve, Cruz set the foundation for a solid college career and could become one of the more pleasant surprises from the Class of 2017.