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March 19, 2008
Youngsters have huge impact once again
If someone is going to write a book about this season, it should be entitled, "Year of the Freshman, Part Two."
One season after the stellar play of numerous freshmen dominated the storylines in college basketball, a better and even more impressive group of newcomers followed.
Each of the 15 players selected to Rivals.com's Freshman All-America teams leads his team in scoring, rebounding or assists. Six lead their teams in two of those categories.
None were better than Kansas State's Michael Beasley, who put together perhaps the best freshman season in the history of college basketball. Beasley, an easy choice for Rivals.com's national freshman of the year, is averaging more points (26.5 to 25.8) and rebounds (12.4 to 11.1) than Kevin Durant did at Texas last season – when Durant became the first freshman to win national player of the year awards.
Beasley is on track to become just the third freshman to lead the nation in rebounding. The others – Loyola (Ill.)'s Kenny Miller in 1988 and Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap in 2004 – did it in mid-major conferences. Beasley did it in the Big 12, which is sending six teams to the NCAA Tournament.
Beasley nearly became the fourth player to lead the country in scoring and rebounding. As it is, he's third in scoring. Beasley also shattered a freshman record with 27 double-doubles, breaking former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony's mark of 22 set in 2002-03.
The Pac-10 led the way with four selections on our teams, including three on the first team. The Big East and SEC were next with three apiece, and the Big 12 and Big Ten each had two.