College basketball season is right around the corner, and a new year means new players to keep an eye on. Today, we examine my top five freshmen in the Atlantic 10 to watch this season.
Jordan Goodwin, Saint Louis
Goodwin is the Atlantic 10’s flashiest name out of the conference’s freshman class. Ranked No. 53 on ESPN’s 2017 Top 100 list, Travis Ford landed a gem in Goodwin. The four star recruit put up a total of 2,324 points during his four seasons at Althoff Catholic High School and earned a number of offers from big time programs including Butler, Creighton, and Michigan State. Goodwin is physical, 6’3, 215 lbs guard and will likely be the Billikens best playmaker this season. The Billikens are coming off a disappointing 2016-17 campaign, but Goodwin’s addition will make a major impact this year. Travis Ford has quite a bit of spunk on the recruiting trail.
Hasahn French, Saint Louis
Travis Ford was able to land another member of ESPN’s Top 100 list in No. 90 Hasahn French. French, 6’7, earned a total of 29 scholarship offers and chose Saint Louis over Marquette, UNLV and St. Johns, to name a few. French’s classic style of play dominates the paint, and he is most likely the best rebounding freshman in the Atlantic 10 this season. Saint Louis has a young nucleus in Goodwin and French, and the future of that program is bright, especially with Carte’Are Gordon joining the squad in 2018.
Kostas Antetokounmpo, Dayton
The most intriguing freshman, in my opinion. After being ruled ineligible and redshirting last season, the 6’10 small forward is finally ready to make his debut for the Flyers. We know that the lengthy Antetokounmpo will be a force on the defensive side of the ball, and on top of that he has shown flashes of athleticism that resemble his brother Giannis. The redshirt year gave him time to mature and bulk up, which will make him an even bigger problem to deal with for the rest of the conference. Offensively, he has showed that he can hit outside shots, and can use his crazy athleticism to drive down low and finish.
Kellan Grady, Davidson
Goodbye Jack Gibbs, hello Kellan Grady. Grady is a 6’4 guard with a silky shooting ability. ESPN ranked Grady as the No. 5 player in Massachusetts and the No. 30 point guard in the nation. Obviously, the departure of Gibbs leaves pretty big shoes to fill, but Grady’s versatile offensive game will fill the role nicely for Davidson. The Wildcats bring back a lot of talent in Peyton Aldridge and Jon Axel Gudmundsson, and they could be a dangerous bunch of Grady transitions smoothly.
Eric Williams Jr., Duquesne
Stick with me on this one. Eric Williams Jr. isn’t a name many are familiar with right now, but it will be by the end of this season. The 6’5, 190 lb. Williams averaged 20.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.5 steals per game as a senior last year. Duquesne enters the season with just one consistent scoring threat in Mike Lewis II, but Williams Jr. will step up and make major contributions for the Dukes. Keith Dambrot told reporters that he thinks Williams could even end up as one of his team’s top two scorers this season. Williams Jr. will have plenty of opportunities to shine this season, and could be a big bright spot on what will likely be another rocky season for Duquesne.