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College basketball's top 20 freshmen entering the 2022-23 season

Here are some young hoopers who should turn heads in their first (and possibly only) year at the college level
Kel'El Ware photo by Tommy Land

Kel'El Ware photo by Tommy Land

Rejoice, college basketball fans.

The 2022-23 season has arrived, and so has our first chance to see some of yesterday's high school stars begin the next chapter in their budding careers.

They were torching competition at the high school level less than a year ago, and they might be starting their professional careers this time next year. 

Here are 20 college basketball players who should leave their mark as freshmen. 

Kel’el Ware, Oregon Ducks, North Little Rock (Arkansas)

Ware helped North Little Rock win back-to-back state titles prior to taking his talents to the Pacific Northwest. The 7-footer averaged 20.3 points, 12 rebounds and 5.7 blocks per game as a senior.

Gradey Dick, Kansas Jayhawks, Sunrise Christian (Kansas)

Dick was named national Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior. The 6-foot-7 wing averaged 17.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and helped Sunrise Christian to a No. 3 finish in the SBLive/Sports Illustrated Power 25 rankings.

Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana Hoosiers, Montverde Academy (Florida)

A key piece of the Montverde teams which went back-to-back as GEICO Nationals champions, Hood-Schifino should make an immediate impact for the Hoosiers. The 6-foot-5 combo guard was a five-star prospect out of high school and ranked in the top 25 overall in the country.

GG Jackson, South Carolina Gamecocks, Ridge View (South Carolina)

Jackson wouldn’t have been on this list if not for his decision to forgo his senior year of high school. The former No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2023 was once a North Carolina commit but he chose to stay home and play for the Gamecocks.

Phillips led Link Academy with 16 points in the first-year team’s loss to Montverde Academy in the GEICO Nationals championship. The 6-foot-8 wing was a consensus five-star prospect and ranked No. 13 in his class.

Kyle Filipowski, Duke Blue Devils, Wilbraham and Monson Academy (Massachusetts)

Filipowski was the No. 4 overall player in the class of 2022, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. The 6-foot-11 center posted 19.1 points and 10.8 boards per game as a senior.

Amari Bailey, UCLA Bruins, Sierra Canyon (California)

A 6-foot-5 combo guard, Bailey was a mainstay for one of the top high school programs in the nation over the past four years. The top-ranked player from California in the class of 2022 chose to stay close to home, and he should see big minutes for a UCLA team ranked No. 8 in the country entering the season.

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Jayden Epps, Illinois Fighting Illini, Combine Academy (North Carolina)

Epps was the No. 1 recruit out of North Carolina in 2022 after previously attending King’s Fork (Virginia). The 6-foot-2 guard was a scoring machine for a Combine Academy team which finished the season ranked No. 13 in the nation.

Cason Wallace, Kentucky Wildcats, Richardson (Texas)

Wallace averaged 19.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game as a senior. Expect the 6-foot-4 combo guard to put up big numbers as a freshman for Kentucky and make the jump to the NBA sooner than later.

Jarace Walker, Houston Cougars, IMG Academy (Florida)

A 6-foot-8 forward, Walker was a beast on both sides of the ball for an IMG Academy team which ended the season ranked No. 6 in the nation. The No. 11 prospect in the class of 2022 became Houston’s highest-rated signee in program history.

Bruce Thornton, Ohio State Buckeyes, Milton (Georgia)

Thornton led the charge for one of the country’s top public school teams the past couple seasons. The 6-foot-1 guard was a huge reason why Milton opened the 2021-22 season ranked No. 3 in the nation and held its own while playing a national schedule.

JJ Starling, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, La Lumiere (Indiana)

A 6-foot-4 combo guard, Starling was the top-ranked prospect from last year’s La Lumiere squad which made it to GEICO Nationals and finished No. 8 in the SBLive/Sports Illustrated Power 25 national rankings.

Yohan Traore, Auburn Tigers, Dream City Christian (Arizona)

A five-star prospect from the class of 2022, Traore was the top-ranked player from Arizona and No. 26 overall player in the country in his class. The 6-foot-10 center should provide an intimidating presence in the paint for an Auburn team ranked No. 15 in the nation entering the 2022-23 season.

Judah Mintz, Syracuse Orange, Oak Hill Academy (Virginia)

As a senior, Mintz helped power Oak Hill to a 32-8 record and trip to GEICO Nationals. The 6-foot-3 guard was good for more than 15 points and four assists per game last season, and he should make an instant impact at Syracuse.

Cam Whitmore, Villanova Wildcats, Archbishop Spalding (Maryland)

Whitmore was the top-ranked player from Maryland and No. 11 recruit nationally in the class of 2022. The 6-foot-6 wing averaged 21.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game as a senior, leading Archbishop Spalding to a 25-10 finish.

Brandon Miller, Alabama Crimson Tide, Cane Ridge (Tennessee)

A two-time winner of the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year, Miller was the state’s top ranked prospect in the class of 2022. The 6-foot-8 wing recorded 24.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game last year.

Taylor Hendricks, Central Florida Knights, Calvary Christian (Florida)

Hendricks led Calvary Christian to a No. 5 finish in the SBLive/Sports Illustrated Power 25 a season ago, and he has the ability to lead the charge for Central Florida as a freshman. The 6-foot-9 power forward dropped 24 points and 12 rebounds in Calvary Christian's win in the finals of the State Champions Invitational.

KyeRon Lindsay, Georgia Bulldogs, Denton Guyer (Texas)

Lindsay posted 23.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game as a senior for Guyer. The 6-foot-8 power forward should provide an immediate boost for a Georgia squad entering its first year under head coach Mike White. 

Jordan Pope, Oregon State Beavers, Prolific Prep (California)

Pope is a point guard who can score in bunches. A three-star prospect considered the No. 21 shooting guard in his class, he might end up making a fool of those responsible for recruiting rankings.

Kylan Boswell, Arizona Wildcats, AZ Compass Prep (Arizona)

A four-star prospect and the No. 5 point guard in his class, Boswell was a standout at Corona Centennial (California) before transferring to AZ Compass Prep. Now with the Arizona Wildcats, expect Boswell to see the court early for the preseason No. 17 team in the nation.