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Bossi's Best: Sooners' Trae Young still leading freshman tracker

Oklahoma’s Trae Young continues to hold on to the top spot in our freshman tracker. But, there has been some movement behind him and there are newcomers – including a surprising one. In this week’s Bossi’s Best, National Basketball Analyst Eric Bossi checks in with his next-to-last freshman tracker of the 2017-18 season.

MORE BOSSI'S BEST: 10 high school seniors who have impressed this season

CLASS OF '18 RANKINGS: Rivals150 | Team | Point guards

1. Trae Young 

Trae Young
Trae Young (AP Images)

Previous: 1

How he got here: A homegrown product from Norman, Young toyed with the idea of leaving for a blueblood like Kansas or Kentucky. However, the chance for total freedom and to be the man from Day One helped the Sooners win his services.

This season: 30.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 9.5 assists per game.

Analysis: Young continues to lead the nation in both scoring and assists. The heavy favorite for National Player of the Year honors at this point, Young is truly putting together a season for the ages and just when you think he's done it all, he goes out and gets 44 (31 in the 2nd half) and nine in a Tuesday night win over Baylor. There was never any question he would be an NBA prospect, but now he’s emerging as a potential top five pick after one season, and Oklahoma is scrambling to find a replacement. Among those they’ve reached out to are five-star Jahvon Quinerly and top 50 Courtney Ramey.

2. Marvin Bagley III

Marvin Bagley III
Marvin Bagley III (AP Images)

Previous: 2

How he got here: Originally a member of the class of 2018, Bagley announced at the end of the summer of 2017 that he would enroll in school a year early. Duke beat out Arizona, Kansas, UCLA and USC.

This season: 21.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

Analysis: In any normal year, Bagley III would have the national media going crazy over his performance. But, Trae Young has been Trae Young and Duke is loaded with talented freshmen. Bagley is among those in serious contention to be taken No. 1 in the 2018 NBA Draft. Duke has helped to prepare for that by landing 2018’s No. 3 player Zion Williamson, and now the Blue Devils may have their eyes on five-star power forward E.J. Montgomery.

3. DeAndre Ayton 

DeAndre Ayton
DeAndre Ayton (AP Images)

Previous: 3

How he got here: For much of Ayton’s recruitment, Kansas was considered the leader. However, shortly before the start of his senior season the tide began to switch for the native of the Bahamas, and he picked Arizona.

This season: 19.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

Analysis: A monster athlete and physical specimen who can dominate around the rim, Ayton continues to impress with his combination of skill and power. What’s been most impressive is that he’s not settled for jump shots - even though he has range to the three-point line - and he’s been very good at the free throw line. As the season has gone on, Ayton has also become more of a factor as a rim protector.

4. Kevin Knox 

Kevin Knox
Kevin Knox (AP Images)

Previous: 7

How he got here: One of the last big-time players in the class of 2017 to make his choice, Knox pulled off a mild surprise when he chose the Wildcats over Duke, Florida State and North Carolina.

This season: 15.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

Analysis: Knox has been trending up over the last month culminating with a big-time outing in Saturday night's comeback win at West Virginia. In Tuesday night's comeback win over Vanderbilt, Knox shook off a tough shooting night to make a pair of huge shots in overtime to help the Wildcats win a wild one.

5. Collin Sexton 

Collin Sexton
Collin Sexton (AP Images)

Previous: 4

How he got here: A late bloomer by today’s standards, Sexton took the country by storm between his junior and senior years of high school. He picked Alabama over Kansas and NC State, among others.

This season: 18.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Analysis: After battling some injuries and perhaps hitting a bit of a wall, Sexton looked like he was getting his mojo back during Bama’s win over Oklahoma over the weekend. If the Crimson Tide is going to continue to push for a bid in the NCAA Tournament, he’s going to need to continue to be great, while fellow freshman standouts John Petty and Herb Jones continue to raise their level of play. Incoming Rivals150 point guard Jared Butler is going to have to replace a lot next season, because there’s pretty much no chance Sexton will be back for a second year.

6. Mohamed Bamba 

Mohamed Bamba
Mohamed Bamba (AP Images)

Previous: Not ranked.

How he got here: A top five player in the class of 2017, Bamba took his time in making a choice. He finally committed to Texas in mid May of his senior year, choosing the Longhorns over Duke and Kentucky.

This season: 13.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game.

Analysis: After dipping some in December, Bamba has turned things on late in December and he’s been on a tear during Big 12 play, where he’s averaging almost 15 points and 12 rebounds per game. There’s just not anybody else in the country like him because of his size, agility and freakish length. He’s perhaps settling for a few too many jumpers, but he’s inserted himself into the conversation as a potential No. 1 NBA Draft pick.

7. Brandon McCoy 

Brandon McCoy (right)
Brandon McCoy (right) (AP Images)

Previous: 5

How he got here: A native of San Diego who played on the same summer team as DeAndre Ayton, McCoy waited until late April of his senior year to choose UNLV over Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon and hometown San Diego State.

This season: 17.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

Analysis: It would have been pretty tough for McCoy to finish the season on the 20 and 10 pace he was on for most of the first half of the year. He’s looked a little tired during January. His 21 and seven in a needed win against San Diego State is hopefully a sign that he’s getting his legs back under him. He’s yet another top-performing freshman who looks likely to jump to the NBA after the season ends.


8. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (AP Images)

Previous: Not ranked.

How he got here: A native of Canada, Gilgeous-Alexander initially committed to Florida during his junior season. He backed off that pledge during the fall of his senior year, visited Kentucky and committed shortly thereafter.

This season: 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

Analysis: Some others on this list have had better numbers for the year, but anybody watching Kentucky can see that Gilgeous-Alexander is coming on strong and has earned his place on this list. At times, he's been UK's best player, thanks to his ability to probe and make plays off the dribble. He had a career-high 30 points in the Wildcats' comeback win in overtime over Vanderbilt on Tuesday night.

9. Wendell Carter 

Wendell Carter
Wendell Carter (AP Images)

Previous: Not ranked.

How he got here: Thought to be a heavy lean to Duke throughout much of his recruitment, Carter also considered local programs like Georgia Tech and Georgia. However, there wasn’t ever much drama about what he would do.

This season: 14.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Analysis: Because he’s playing alongside Marvin Bagley III, Carter’s excellence has gone a bit overlooked. That should be changing soon, as Carter has really turned things up as of late. He and Bagley have solidified their position as the best frontcourt duo in the country. If there were any questions about his status as a potential lottery pick after one season in Durham, they are gone.

10. R.J. Cole 

R.J. Cole
R.J. Cole (Howard athletics)

Previous: Not ranked.

How he got here: A three-star prospect who played at one of the nation’s most storied high school programs, Cole was a bit under-recruited out of high school. He was a steal for Howard when he selected them over Monmouth and Boston University, and he would have been a steal for either of those programs.

This season: 23.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game

Analysis: Here’s the deal: Howard is just 6-17 and Cole doesn’t shoot the highest of percentages from the field. However, there’s no denying the numbers that he’s put up - he’s scored 27 or more 10 times - and if we are talking about individual performances it’s pretty tough to not include him among the nation’s top 10 first-year performers.


Fell Out: Romello White, Hamidou Diallo, Tremont Waters, Lindell Wigginton.

Also keep an eye on: Oshae Brissett (Syracuse), Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech), Trent Frazier (Illinois) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky), Jaren Jackson (Michigan State), Jhivvan Jackson (UTSA), Jaylen Nowell (Washington), Gary Trent (Duke), Lonnie Walker (Miami), Kris Wilkes (UCLA), McKinley Wright (Colorado).