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I've Got Five On It: Top-ranked sophomores still in college basketball

Highly-ranked college freshmen get the lion’s share of the intrigue when discussing once-touted high school prospects that could impact a college basketball season, but what about the lingering sophomores that once graced the top of the Rivals150?

Today in I've Got Five On It, Rob Cassidy gives veterans a bit of love with a look at the five highest ranked members of the class of 2022 that didn't go the one-and-done route and will still be kicking around the sport when the season tips in November.



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2024 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

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Ranking: No. 4

Mitchell’s lofty ranking was always about potential. He was the top defender and most dazzling athlete in high school basketball during his senior season at Montverde Academy. There was always a question about how long it would take the 6-foot-7 wing to come into his own as an offensive threat at the college level, however. As it turns out, the answer to that question was “more than one season.” As a freshman at Texas, Mitchell started all 38 games and averaged just 4.3 points per contest. So while he remains an elite defensive prospect, he’ll need to see his scoring numbers jump if he hopes to reignite the level of buzz he created with NBA scouts as a high schooler. His defense and elite-level athleticism obviously remain tantalizing, but Mitchell, who didn’t attempt a single 3-pointer a season ago, will need to become at least a somewhat serviceable shooter in the years ahead if he’s to raise his stock. He’ll be a massive part of a 2023-24 Texas team that will, as always, have a lot of eyes on it.



Ranking: No. 5

One of the top freshmen in college basketball last season, Filipowski is the reigning ACC Rookie of the Year and will reprise his role as a key member of Duke’s roster as a sophomore. Offseason hip surgery helped hold him out of last year's draft and also provides the biggest question mark that surrounds him going forward. The 7-foot forward feels like a lock to be selected in the first round of next year’s draft, but which slot he ends up in will hinge largely on how he bounces back from surgery. If Filipowski’s defense takes a step forward and his explosiveness remains at the mid-level, he’ll be just fine. The highly touted sophomore is in for a big season for a Duke team that needs to become more consistent as a whole in year two under Jon Schyer.



Ranking: No. 7

One of two prospects on this list hoping a change of scenery does him well, Ware was a bit of a late bloomer on the high school circuit and saw his ranking shoot up during his senior season. The positive trajectory he carried into college abruptly ended when he arrived at Oregon, however, as the lanky center found himself in a reserve role and averaged just 6.6 points in 15.4 minutes per contest. He did manage to show glimpses of elite potential, however, including a 18-point, nine-rebound outing against eventual national champion UConn in November. Now at Indiana, Ware figures to be a key piece of Mike Woodson’s squad , he’ll look to answer questions about his motor and ability to play hard for an entire game. Ware will provide the Hoosiers with a potentially elite rim protector and if he’s able to become more consistent as a shooter and floor-spacer, the sky is the limit on his long-term potential.



Ranking: No. 15

Like Ware, Morris hit the portal following a freshman season that saw him struggle to crack the starting line up. He ditched Texas for Big 12 rival Kansas and looks to be a major part of Bill Self’s plan for the upcoming season. Morris seems to be at least in the mix for a starting job, as he filled such a role in one game during KU’s recent foreign tour. Morris is both motivated and advanced from a defensive perspective, which is likely to earn him big minutes from Self, allowing the former five-star to insert himself on the radars of NBA scouts, many of whom have not lost faith in his long-term potential. NBA Lottery potential still exists if he becomes a more prolific and efficient scorer from long range during his time in Lawrence. The 33 percent he shot on 37 three-point attempts as a freshman at Texas is less than ideal for a player with the reputation of a three-level scorer, after all.



Ranking: No. 16

Iwuchukwu is a bit of a unique case because his college career started with a medical issue that caused him to collapse during a team workout in July. The 7 footer returned to the court six months later, playing a short burst of minutes in a January game against Colorado. He played in 14 total games for USC last season, starting five and racking up a season-high 26 minutes in a contest against Oregon State. The situation makes Iwuchukwu one of the most intriguing and mysterious sophomores in the country. His unique skill set and elite length are well known. What sort of role he’ll play for the Trojans as a sophomore is not.