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Bossi's Best: 10 freshmen who could outplay their ranking

Anton Watson
Anton Watson

The 2019-20 season is nearly here and looking at 2019's final rankings, national analyst Eric Bossi is already starting to have some rankings worries. In this week's edition of Bossi's Best he takes a look at 10 freshmen who he thinks he'll end up wishing he'd have ranked higher - or at all - in the 2019 Rivals150. Players are listed in order of final ranking.

MORE: 3-Point Play on UNC's 2020 class, more

2020 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

*****

Recruitment: A native of Spokane, there wasn’t ever any suspense with Watson’s recruitment and he committed to the hometown Zags prior to his junior year.

Why he could outplay ranking: Don’t get me wrong, we have Watson ranked pretty highly and I don’t think we lowballed him. However, in obsessing over things we’ll end up wishing he had been ranked higher. He’ll be around multiple years, Mark Few and his staff develop players and I know I won’t be surprised if he’s an All-American three or four years down the road, thanks to his inside/out game.

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Recruitment: A late-blooming prospect, the Chicago native’s recruitment was all over the place for some time. He committed to DePaul, decommitted a week later and looked to be leaning toward Florida State, Illinois and Louisville at various times before picking Texas Tech in the spring.

Why he could outplay ranking: By today’s standards, Shannon is still a relative newcomer to the game, and he wasn’t 100 percent healthy and focused on hoops until his prep school year at IMG. He’s a big-time athlete, has a huge ceiling for improvement and all the tools. Chris Beard’s record speaks for itself at Tech, and if Shannon buys in he could be a real problem a few years down the road.

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Recruitment: What a wild September of 2018 it was for Gordon. He nearly committed to both SMU and Ole Miss after official visits, but Kansas State was able to hold them off and secured his commitment during an unofficial visit at the end of the month.

Why he could outplay ranking: We already gave Gordon a big boost in June after watching him play at the USA Basketball team tryouts. I’m worried it wasn’t enough. He’s athletic, he plays very hard and he should be a high-level defender from the get-go. His ball-handling and shooting are both coming along, I’ve heard nothing but good things out of Manhattan, and I won’t be surprised if he ends up in the NBA at some point in his career.

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*****

Recruitment: In the fall of 2018, Baugh’s recruitment looked to be coming down to Auburn and TCU. But, he chose to hold off until the spring and Penny Hardaway and his staff used that time to win him over.

Why he could outplay ranking: Baugh was the subject of much dispute during our rankings discussions, and I was always higher on him than the rest of the staff. Questions about his shooting were legitimate, but I loved his size, speed and ability to defend. I’m of the belief that I’ll end up wishing I had argued more on his behalf and he’s another who has already been turning the heads of some NBA scouts.

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Recruitment: Hyland went through injuries and hardship before and during his senior season and ended up playing during the spring of his senior year. Rather than head to prep school, he chose to reward one of the schools who stuck with him through it all: VCU.

Why he could outplay ranking: I really wish I had more time to see Hyland and that I could have seen him more against the class of 2019. He lacks strength, but is such a natural scorer off the dribble and from deep that I can see him turning into a conference player of the year candidate at VCU. It’s going to be all about adding strength and continuing to shake off the rust, but he’s one that has huge upside.

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Recruitment: Anderson had a final five that also included Florida, LSU, TCU and Texas Tech, but Oklahoma State was the presumed leader for some time and landed his commitment.

Why he could outplay ranking: I always loved Anderson’s playmaking ability, length and quickness. But, I was (and still am) worried about his lack of strength and his tendency to swing for the fences in hopes of the big play instead of making the basic play. I ran into Cowboys coach Mike Boynton recently and he raved about Anderson’s improved decision making and added strength. There’s some experience in Stillwater, which means he won’t be relied upon too heavily early, and that bodes well for his future.

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Recruitment: A native of Georgia who prepped in South Carolina for a year, McCreary visited USF and DePaul and had others involved even though there were some who worried about his academics. South Carolina came in during the season, got him on campus in the spring and he committed shortly after.

Why he could outplay ranking: Sometimes it is just as much about fit as it is ability, and looking at McCreary and Frank Martin, we could see a perfect fit. McCreary is high energy, plays with a chip on his shoulder and is the exact type of fighter who usually thrives under Martin. I’ve got a feeling that Gamecock fans are going to end up loving this guy and that he has four good years in Columbia.

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*****

Recruitment: Franklin never looked like he was going to get far from home and he ended up choosing Indiana over Purdue and Xavier near the start of his senior year.

Why he could outplay ranking: Tough shooting guards like Franklin have been crushing it on the college level. He’s ready physically for the Big Ten, which is always a big help and there is opportunity to make an early contribution, which is also beneficial. The Hoosiers coaches were expecting him to be a solid player, but the early word is that he’s surpassing expectations.

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Recruitment: A native of Cameroon who made his way to the States, Koloko picked Arizona during September of his senior year when the Wildcats were far and away the most high-profile program to get involved.

Why he could outplay ranking: For a while, I was pretty adamant that Koloko was a major reach for Arizona. As time has gone by, I’m accepting that I may have been wrong. No, Koloko didn’t put up big numbers as a high schooler and he still has to get much stronger, but he holds significant promise as a rim protector. Some of our competitors were much higher on Koloko and if early word out of Tucson is correct, they may have beaten us on this one.

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Recruitment: A native of Indiana, Thompson committed during January of his junior year. Considering his older brother played at Purdue, it was no surprise when he committed early.

Why he could outplay ranking: It seems that Purdue always has somebody who outplays their ranking and Thompson seems like as good a pick as anybody else to be the next for Matt Painter and his staff to develop. He’s got some toughness, is familiar with the program he’s playing for and the early word is that he has been better than expected. Something tells me he’ll be a long-time producer.

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