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February 9, 2011
Surprise: These freshmen making an impact
For every John Wall, there's a Derrick Williams.
Both were freshmen last season, but each took a different path to becoming an all-conference player as a freshman. Wall was the No. 1 prospect in the class and a hot commodity since the early days of his high school career before becoming the SEC player of the year and the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.
Williams was a late bloomer. When he finally broke out as a high school senior, signing classes already were taking shape. Even Arizona ignored him on the first pass. The Wildcats eventually signed him, though, and he became the Pac-10 freshman of the year.
Today we'll look at the candidates to be this season's Williams. Our list of surprising freshmen only includes players ranked outside the top 75 in the Rivals.com recruiting rankings. They are role players on elite teams, good players on good teams or the top player on bad teams. In any event, these freshmen are making a surprising impact on the 2010-11 college basketball season.