By Jon Rothstein
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CHRISTIAN JONES, ST. JOHN’S
THE SKINNY: Burly forward isn’t the most highly touted member of the Red Storm’s freshmen class — but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to be valuable. The 6-7 Jones has a nice blend of strength and skill that should allow him to effect the game in a multitude of ways while potentially serving as Steve Lavin’s top front court reserve.
JAMEEL WARNEY, STONY BROOK
THE SKINNY: There’s simply no way Warney should be playing in the America East Conference — he’s too good. Steve Pikiell has an anchor for the next four years in Warney, a broad shouldered player who lives in the paint.
WILLIE CLAYTON, CHARLOTTE
THE SKINNY: Clayton’s accuracy around the rim could give the 49ers what they’ve desperately needed the past few years — more interior help for Chris Braswell. If Clayton can produce with expanded minutes, Allen Major’s team has a chance to surprise people in their final season in the Atlantic 10 before joining Conference-USA.
BRIAN GREENE, AUBURN
THE SKINNY: Greene isn’t the most highly touted member of Tony Barbee’s 2012 recruiting class but he’s a very capable piece. A terrific athlete with good size, Greene was a pleasant surprise for the Tigers in summer workouts and could potentially take some pressure off fellow freshmen Jordan Price and Shaquille Johnson if he develops over the next few seasons.
QUEVYN WINTERS, DUQUESNE
THE SKINNY: Jim Ferry didn’t inherit much when he took over the Dukes’ program and he’ll need Winters to be a go to guy from day one. Don’t be shocked if the 6-5 freshman leads Duquesne in scoring — he’s that talented.
NIK STAUSKAS, MICHIGAN
THE SKINNY: The forgotten member of the Wolverines’ standout class, Stauskas will add some much needed outside shooting to John Beilein’s back court.
KAMARI MURPHY, OKLAHOMA STATE
THE SKINNY: Athletic forward is a perfect fit for the Cowboys’ high octane attack. Could be a valuable reserve by mid season.
DEVON BOOKERT, FLORIDA STATE
THE SKINNY: Leonard Hamilton loves his incoming class and Bookert is a big reason why. Don’t be surprised if this first-year floor general is the starter from day one for the Seminoles with Michael Snaer and Ian Miller on the wings.
TERRELL ROGERS, DELAWARE
THE SKINNY: The son of former George Washington point guard Shawnta Rogers, this freshman point guard could allow both Jarvis Threatt and Devon Saddler to slide to the wings.
C.J. JONES, MANHATTAN
THE SKINNY: Jaspers coach Steve Masiello has gone on record and said that Jones is the best perimeter defender he’s ever seen — and if you watch him play, you’ll see why. Built like a blacksmith, Jones is as tenacious as they come as an on ball defender and should immediately be a factor for Manhattan, who is the consensus favorite in the MAAC Conference.
ANTHONY CLEMMONS, IOWA
THE SKINNY: True point guard will backup fellow freshman Mike Gesell in what many are expecting to be a breakout year for the Hawkeyes. Fran McCaffery said he plans to play Clemmons and Gesell together in hopes to increase the pace for Iowa’s opponents.
STEPHEN DOMINGO, GEORGETOWN
THE SKINNY: Lanky shooter reclassified to 2012 class after originally being slated as a 2013 prospect. Will help the Hoyas’ outside shooting.
TYRONE WALLACE, CAL
THE SKINNY: Lock down defender has a real chance to make an immediate impact for the Bears thanks to his ability to guard. Look for Mike Montgomery to regularly use Wallace in defensive situations against the opponent’s top perimeter scorer.
STRAHINJA GAVRILOVIC, USC
THE SKINNY: Serbian forward is a small forward trapped in a 6-8 body. Sporting a high IQ and a terrific feel, Gavrilovic has shown all the signs of pushing for a spot in the Trojans’ rotation despite their exceptionally crowded front court.
MICHAEL FRAZIER, FLORIDA
THE SKINNY: Standstill shooter may not be Bradley Beal — but he doesn’t have to be. The 6-4 Frazier won’t be a one and done player like Beal, but he’s a big time threat from deep and should be a nice security blanket for the Gators’ plethora of offensive options.
SIYANI CHAMBERS, HARVARD
THE SKINNY: Floor general has been terrific all summer in Cambridge and seems ready to hit the Ivy League running. Chambers’ arrival should allow Brandyn Curry to move off the ball regularly for the Crimson.
JORDAN HARE, RHODE ISLAND
THE SKINNY: Athletic jumping jack will start at center from day one for Danny Hurley as the back line of the Rams defense. Long and active at 6-10, Hare has all the requisites to become an All-Atlantic 10 caliber player. Think Ryan Hollins.
DURRELL MCDONALD, DEPAUL
THE SKINNY: Leave it to Oliver Purnell to find a hidden gem. McDonald is a high level athlete who should have an immediate contribution for the Blue Demons. With refined point guard skills in his arsenal, don’t be shocked to see Purnell use McDonald regularly as his primary facilitator with Brandon Young sliding to the two.
RYAN ROSBURG, MISSOURI
THE SKINNY: Frank Haith raved about Rosburg after the Tigers’ recent trip to Europe and the 6-10, 250 pound big man could wind up being a key reserve behind both Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi.
JE’LON HORNBEAK, OKLAHOMA
THE SKINNY: 6-4 guard has made a strong early impression in Norman and could compete with incumbent starter Sam Grooms for minutes at the point.
Who’s on your list? Let Jon know in the comments below!