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College Hoops: Five newcomers to keep an eye on

November 16, 2020

Over the past few years, has had the opportunity to take a deep look at the newcomers in college basketball as they developed in high school. We wanted to inform college basketball of some guys to keep an eye on and this list is no current order we have but just throwing some names out there of guys to keep an eye on.

This is going to be a regular series since the college season is looming.

Let’s start in the ACC. The Atlantic Coast Conference, better known as the ACC, is one of the toughest and most talented division one conferences ever. This year they will have an abundance of new players entering their freshman seasons. Jim Larranaga has familiarity with guards from the DMV as he’s been coaching the always entertaining Chris Lykes.

Next up for the Canes? Earl Timberlake. Let me start off by saying that he could be one of the most under-appreciated guards I covered in high school. I was very surprised to see him left off some of the major events last year up until he received a well-deserved invite to the Iverson Classic. Entering his freshman year, the former DeMatha Catholic guard is standing at 6-foot-6 and weighs in at over 210-pounds.

Already has excellent size to compete at the college level, Timberlake is one of the more college-ready prospects to come out of the 2020 class. In an era where the game is focused on scoring and flashy offensive play, Timberlake enjoys dominating the game on the defensive end and I believe that Miami is lucky in the sense that they will have one of the nation’s top-defenders before he even played in a game yet.

Timberlake is not only a 16 point per game scorer, he’s also a guy who’s hard-nosed and will give a tireless effort on the defensive end. He also grabs 10 rebounds per game and doesn’t shy away from involving teammates as he dishes out a handful of assists per game. Timberlake enters college with a chip on his shoulder as a fringe five-star prospect and I believe he won’t be in Coral Gables long.

Before we continue in the ACC, let’s take a pit-stop in the SEC and take a quick trip to College Station, Texas. Buzz Williams recruited an elite point guard out of New York City and his name is Hassan Diarra. Why is he so impactful off of the bat for the Aggies? He fits the culture. They’re getting a very nifty guard who can score on all three levels but will also fill up the stat sheet in the assist department.

Diarra was the Aggie's highest-rated [Top-75] recruit for the 2020 class and it's safe to say that his impact in the SEC will be known right away. There are already tons of people raving about his early development since arriving on campus and I believe that the Buzz, no pun, is real. I think he will see big minutes as a true freshman and has the ability to lead an offense in the SEC even if he’s one of the team’s youngest players.

We’re staying in the SEC and will head over to Lexington where John Calipari, once again, has a highly-touted freshman on his roster. His name is Terrence Clarke. I know, Cal and the Wildcats have had a long list of super-talented freshman on their resumes, but, not many contribute the same skillset that Clarke does.

First of all, he’s formerly of the 2021 class but opted to enter college a year early. He’s a young prospect who can bring you pretty much anything. A very skilled athlete that can be utilized in multiple ways and is very crafty with tons of size and length. Despite being on the younger side, Clarke is a very knowledgeable prospect who has big guard skills and can lead an offense even in a tough conference like the SEC.

The Wildcats will likely only have him for one year, but if anybody is chasing a championship and wants to win, it’s Terrence Clarke.

Back to the ACC, Mike Krzyzewski has yet another talented frosh incoming into Durham. Many forgot that Jalen Johnson made his case to be considered as one of 2020’s top players. Despite a late return to his senior season, I believe Johnson still has all of the intangibles to be that player that everyone saw him be during his junior campaign.

He brings a different type of dynamic that screams Duke basketball. He fits the mold of a Duke wing. He’s got size at about 6-foot-9 and is building tons of muscle at over 210-pounds. The athletic forward is also very quick on his feet for his size and is pretty much lethal in transition. If he is able to stay consistent around the perimeter if he decides to shoot the three-ball, it could be very scary for opposing players.

I think Johnson’s ability to stand at 6-foot-9 and run the floor like a guard and distribute the ball like a guard, makes his skillset beneficial for both him and his Duke teammates as I think he will be able to turn into a one-and-done surefire draft pick.

To the Big 12, you know everyone is excited to see Cade Cunningham at Oklahoma State, I know I am. But, Chris Beard might have one of America’s most underrated freshman prospects despite him graduating high school as a five-star and McDonald All-American, and his name is Nimari Burnett.

Texas Tech’s highest-rated recruits, Burnett is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard out of Prolific Prep. Another very physical guard that can guard multiple positions and score the ball extremely well. His offensive game is what stands out for me. One thing you must have on your scouting report is to stay close to Burnett. His first step off the dribble is lethal and defenders can’t let him blow by you.

With the waiver of Mac McClung granted and the rise of Clarence Nadolny and other talented guards on the roster, I think Texas Tech not only has a talented freshman on their team but they have guys that can legitimately take them to a final-four.

Disclaimer: This list was no type of order, it will be a list that updates weekly.

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