It’s always important to keep an eye on the young talent throughout the league. Here’s a quick look at each team’s best freshman and what he’s been doing well so far this season.
Davidson Wildcats: Jon Axel Gudmundsson
Here’s a name you’re going to want to remember. If you haven’t been paying attention to the Wildcats, they’ve been struggling, but the young gun from Iceland is having himself a noteworthy freshman season. His 7.9/4.5/3.9 line isn’t too shabby, and when you add a team-high 1.6 steals per game, you realize Gudmundsson may be Davidson’s best defender. And that’s good, because we all know Davidson needs some work on defense…
Dayton Flyers: Trey Landers
Due to Kostas Antetokounmpo being ruled ineligible for the 2016-17 season, Dayton really doesn’t have a lot of freshmen at all. In fact, the only scholarship player (and freshman that’s played any minutes) is Trey Landers, so by default, he gets the nod. I’ll say this, the kid is 3-3 from the field this year. I think he needs more playing time.
Duquesne Dukes: Mike Lewis II and Isiaha Mike
This one’s a tie because these two are kind of the only players doing anything for Duquesne this year. I guess that’s a good thing for Jim Ferry’s club? Lewis II leads the team in scoring while Mike leads the team in rebounding. Maybe in a couple years, this team will have a talented core led by these two players.
Fordham Rams: Chuba Ohams
Fordham’s 3 freshman average less than 1 point per game, and I think that right there is a perfect analogy as to how the season has gone for the Rams. I’ll give Chuba Ohams the title based on talent and recruiting stature, but Fordham is a long way from seeing itself in the top half of the league for sure.
George Mason Patriots: Justin Kier
Justin Kier is potentially the most underrated freshman in the Atlantic 10. He doesn’t take a lot of shots, but he’s efficient when he does. Kier is shooting 45% from long range this season. I think he, along with a number of other young Patriots, really have a chance to do something special for Mason in a couple of seasons.
George Washington Colonials: Collin Smith
Collin Smith has made a big impact as a freshman. Averaging 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds, he’s the Colonials’ best player on the glass. I really think this guy has a high ceiling in the Atlantic 10.
La Salle Explorers: Isiah Deas
As you probably know, La Salle hasn’t really relied on freshmen this season, utilizing its transfers and seniors more than its young players. Deas has 2 double digit scoring performances in just 9 games played this season though, so there’s definitely some potential here.
Massachusetts Minutemen: DeJon Jarreau
This kid’s been hands-down great for the Minutemen. Along with LuWane Pipkins and Tyrn Flowers, DeJon Jarreau is the leader of one of the best freshman classes in the nation. Jarreau is a clutch scorer and distributor, and if he improves his long range shooting, he could really be a complete player.
Rhode Island Rams: Cyril Langevine
Though the Rams have been struggling a lot this season, the freshman big man has provided some upside, especially on the glass. His 5.2 boards per game is impressive considering he’s averaging less than 15 minutes per contest this year. Could definitely emerge as a dominant post threat in a couple of seasons.
Richmond Spiders: De’Monte Buckingham
This one isn’t too hard. He is, in my opinion, the best freshman in the Atlantic 10 and is taking the league by surprise. If you didn’t know, Richmond is 4-0 in league play, and Buckingham is an enormous reason why. He’s had 7 straight double digit scoring games and had his first career double-double the other day against St. Bonaventure.
Saint Joseph’s Hawks: Charlie Brown
Freshman Charlie Brown is providing enormous upside for a Saint Joseph’s team that’s been absolutely plagued by injury this year. At 10.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, Brown is already playing like an upperclassmen and could be the next big thing for this Hawks team. He dropped 17 against George Mason the other night.
Saint Louis Billikens: Elliott Welmer
As bad as Saint Louis has been this year, Welmer has had a pretty decent freshman year. He’s 6-11 from three point range in conference play (leading the league) and is very good on the defensive glass. He could be a nice piece to Travis Ford’s system once all of his pieces are eligible in a few seasons.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies: Josh Ayeni
All in all, Josh Ayeni is putting together a fairly impressive freshman season for the Bonnies. His 6.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game show that he’s definitely got potential, and there’s plenty of room for him to grow. Ayeni is starting to get more playing time as the season rolls on.
VCU Rams: Samir Doughty
Here’s a name you should get to know. This guys will be one of the better players in the league within a couple of years. Doughty is averaging 8.7 points and 4.1 rebounds as a freshman, and he’s only getting better as the season progresses. He had a career-high 23 points and 9 assists the other day against Duquesne.