2022 Prospects: Immediate Impact Next Season

Arkansas: Eric Musselman has made Arkansas a real big time threat not only in the SEC but the nation. He has been able to reel in some of the nations’s best high school prospects and college transfers over the last couple years. The Razorbacks have themselves an elite class coming into Fayetteville next season and a few freshmen that should be making their immediate impacts right away. Nick Smith Jr. headlines this year’s Arkansas class. The already Arkansas native chose the Razorbacks over Kansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Auburn, and others. Smith Jr. is a highly versatile guard with incredible playmaking skills, scoring abilities, and competitiveness. He has already been projected to be a one-and-done prospect and his game will speak for itself. Anthony Black, the most recent commit, decided to join Smith Jr. and company and should make his impact right away as well. Black shows high upside at 6-foot-7+, a perimeter threat, and athletic playmaking wing. Jordan Walsh should also come in playing quality minutes for Eric Musselman. Walsh will be an elite switch defender with his size, athleticisim, and quick instincts defensively. He shows shades of an Andre Igudola and will certainly be impactful on both ends of the floor.

SG Nick Smith Jr. photo by North Little Rock

Baylor: The Baylor Bears captured the NCAA championship just last season but came up short this season with a second round exit against North Carolina. Scott Drew has turned Baylor basketball into an elite basketball program and an extreme threat every season in the last few. Drew and his staff are no strangers now reeling in some of the top incoming freshmen and they have themselves another one headed to Waco. Keyonte George, a Dallas native, should come in right away with an immediate impact next season for Baylor. The 6-foot-4 guard is not only one of the top scorers in the 2022 class, but he has such an amazing feel for the game. Keyonte’s going to score regardless but he will develop in the Baylor system, make plays on both ends of the floor, and bring that competitive edge that Scott Drew has had over the last few seasons. Some NBA personnel are considering the young freshmen as a one-and-done type prospect.

UCLA: Mick Cronin has turned UCLA into an elite basketball program once again since he time in Southern California. The Bruins reached another Sweet 16 this past season. UCLA is receiving another promising freshmen class for next season, headlined by two McDonald’s All Americans. They have three elite prospects coming in and who should all receive some type of minutes throughout their freshman career. Adem Bona, a 6-foot-10 center from Turkey, is an outstanding rim protector or will probably receive the most minutes out of the freshmen. He brings an incredible motor, shot blocking for the Bruins, depth in the front court, and a determined rebounder. Chicago native, Amari Bailey, will also earn himself some quality minutes on the floor for Mick Cronin. Bailey has been known for his high flying plays and gifted athleticism for years and will bring that grit and toughness on the floor that Mick Cronin loves to see in his players. Dylan Andrews should also see some time on the floor and make his impact for the Bruins next season. A 6-foot-4 combo guard who has the ability to knockdown shots, create his own offense, and have that hard-nosed defense that will fit right in with the UCLA system.

G Amari Bailey Photo by Andy Holzman (LA Daily News)

Kentucky: The Wildcats and Coach John Calipari had a disappointing ending to this season after losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to a 15-seed but that does not stop Calipari and his staff from acquiring some of the top prospects in the country and once again, they will have a solid freshmen class hitting Lexington. It is unclear for now on what Shaedon Sharpe, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who enrolled a year early but did not play, will do. Sharpe has the NBA talent and is currently eligible to enter the 2022 NBA Draft but has yet to make a decision if he will or return to Kentucky next season. The Wildcats do however have Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston coming in, two McDonald’s All Americans that can certainly come in and make an impact right away. Cason Wallace is a 6-foot-3 guard who has the versatility to run the point and two-guard. He will certainly bring toughness to the Kentucky roster and has positional size, strength, and shot making qualities in him. Chris Livingston is an all level scoring forward at 6-foot-6 and NBA size at that. The Akron native definitely has had NBA scouts attention and could be the next potential first round pick out of Kentucky in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Duke: The Mike Krzyzewski era has finally come to an end after a long long long time as the head coach of Duke University. What does this now mean for Duke? One of the greatest basketball coaches of all time has stepped down but the Duke era should go on still be one of college basketball’s consistent powerhouses. Jon Scheyer will now be the head man in charge and he already has himself an incredible freshmen class coming in. Most, if not all freshmen coming in, should receive some quality minutes early. There will be a lot of spots to fill with current guys headed to the NBA. Dereck Lively II and Kyle Filipowski, two future NBA first round picks for the 2023 NBA Draft, should step in getting immediate minutes in the front court. New Jersey native Dariq Whitehead and Kansas native Mark Mitchell could also see themselves on the floor early new for head coach Jon Scheyer and company. Also would not be surprised if Jaden Schutt, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Illinois, finds himself on the floor playing immediate minutes as well. A very talented freshmen class indeed once again for the Blue Devils. Excellent start to the post Coach K era.

SG Dariq Whitehead Photo by Gregory Payan (Springfield)

Texas: Chris Beard finished his first season with the Longhorns with a 22-12 overall record and making it to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Not bad for his first year as the head man in Austin. Beard and his staff hit the transfer portal hard last offseason and landing multiple guys to headline this past season’s team. The Longhorns have a couple highly rated freshmen set to hit campus and both should be immediate impacts as well. Dillion Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 super athlete, already has the NBA personnel drooling over him. Mitchell is a springy athletic freak with an elite wingspan, explosive finisher at the rim, very active on the defensive end, and runs the floor in transition. His length is definitely a huge factor, he shows accurate timing on his blocks, and will be impactful on both ends of the floor in a Texas uniform. Texas native, Arterio Morris, is also an elite incoming freshmen headed to Austin. Morris is an electric 6-foot-4 scoring guard who will bring instant offense to the Longhorns backcourt. His ability to go coast-to-coast will not go unnoticed and could probably see himself running point guard in some sets.

Auburn: The Auburn Tigers had high hopes this past season on making another NCAA Final Four run in the NCAA Tournament but obviously came up short in the Round of 32. Bruce Pearl has done an amazing job over the last few years at Auburn, bringing some of the top prospects in each class along with some tough complimentary players. The Tigers might not have an “elite” freshmen class coming in for next season but they for sure have themselves one of the best all around prospects that is expected to attend. Chance Westry, a 6-foot-5 guard out of Pennsylvania, should receive immediate quality minutes as a freshman with the Tigers next season. Westry is a unique combo guard with a very nice feel for the game. His size at the wing position goes unnoticed, his ability to make plays for others is at a high level, and he has an incredible balance of scoring and facilitating the ball. Yohan Traore, the most recent Auburn commit, is a 6-foot-10 rim protector and will for sure see some key quality minutes early in the Auburn system.

G Chance Westy Photo by Megan Mendoza (The Republic)

Illinois: The Fighting Illini has been an extreme threat in the Big Ten Conference under Brad Underwood. They finish the season 23-10 and reaching another NCAA Tournament before getting eliminated in the round of the 32. Underwood and his staff have been big time with their recruitment and getting some of the top high school prospects in the country. Two incoming freshmen now could see themselves playing key minutes early on next season. Jayden Epps, a Virginia native, will bring instant offense in the back court for Brad Underwood and staff. Epps is a 6-foot-1 point guard who can score from all levels and has an electric pace to his game, sort of like a Trent Frazier. Ty Rodgers will also be an immediate impact next season early on. Rodgers is a 6-foot-6 athletic forward who can do multiple things when on the floor. He is an elite defender for his size, plays with a high motor, a capable three point shot maker, and consistent when finishing at the basket. He definitely has next level potential and should prove that to the NBA personnel.

Alabama: Nate Oats has turned Alabama into more than just a football school since he has been the head coach. The Crimson Tide did not end this past season like they wanted too after the season they had prior, but they still somehow made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Nate Oats and his staff definitely have themselves a loaded freshmen class coming in for next season and who could make their impacts right away. Jaden Bradley, a 6-foot-4 point guard from New York, should see sometime early at the point guard spot. He is one of the quickest guards with the ball, able to be impactful on both ends, and will for sure be a stat sheet stuffer. Brandon Miller, the 6-foot-7+ forward out of Nashville, is one of the best long term prospects in the 2022 class and holds an extremely unique skill that NBA scouts should enjoy watching in Tuscaloosa. Rylan Griffen, the Dallas native, should certainly see some early minutes on the floor for Nate Oats and staff. The 6-foot-6 guard is an athletic two-way player who will make plays on both sides of the ball and should be a solid shot maker offensively.

F Brandon Miller Photo by Andrew Nelles (The Tennessean)

Kansas: Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks just won the National Championship twenty-four hours ago. Kansas is without question one of the dynasty’s in the world of college hoops and year after year bring in the most highly talented freshmen in the country. Bill Self and his staff have a solid class coming in to help defend that national title, three of which are McDonald’s All Americans. All could see early minutes and have impacts in their freshmen year. Gradey Dick, the Kansas native, a 6-foot-7 will certain impact under Bill Self right away with his ability to spread the floor with his perimeter shooting. Dick is an athletic forward who also has the ability to finish at the rim. Ernest Udeh Jr., a 6-foot-10 rim protector, should see his time on the floor in the front court and replace David McCormack. Udeh Jr. is very mobile and active for his size. He is a walking double double and will be an impactful prospect on both ends. M.J. Rice, out of North Carolina, could earn his minutes on the floor as well next season. Rice has size at 6-foot-5, a determined driver, an already college ready body, and an elite competitor.

Houston: Houston University has been one of the best defensive programs every single season under Kelvin Sampson. The Cougars reached the Elite Eight once again this past season before falling to Villanova in the NCAA Tournament. Kelvin Sampson and his staff love hard working versatile wings and forwards, one reason they are always so good defensively. There are two freshmen coming in who should receive some early minutes on the floor to begin their college careers. Jarace Walker, a 6-foot-7 McDonald’s All American, is one of the most versatile prospects in the 2022 class and can honestly play every position on the floor. Walker already has a college ready body, will be able to rebound at a high level, active shot blocker, and explosive consistent finisher at the rim. Terrance Arceneaux, a Houston native, is a hard working 6-foot-6 wing that is capable of stuffing that stat sheet. Arceneaux plays with a very high motor, toughness, and competitiveness. He will fit right in under Kelvin Sampson and the Houston Cougars system.

F Jarace Walker photo by IMG Academy

BYU: Mark Pope and the BYU staff have one of the most slept on freshmen coming into the 2022-2023 season in Collin Chandler. The Utah native chose to stay home and play for Mark Pope and the BYU Cougars over schools like Utah, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford, and plenty others. Chandler is a 6-foot-4 scoring guard who can do multiple things on the floor. He will be able to spread the offense with his perimeter shooting, has the positional size, able to finish at the rim, and active hands on the defensive end. NBA scouts should be able to see some next level flashes from the incoming freshmen during his time at BYU. Collin should without question make his impact for Mark Pope immediately and could possible help carry the scoring load for the Cougars next season.

OTHERS:

Villanova: Cam Whitmore, Mark Armstrong

North Carolina: Jalen Washington, Seth Trimble

Oregon: Kel’el Ware, Dior Johnson

Michigan State: Jaxon Kohler

Indiana: Jalen Hood-Schifino

Notre Dame: J.J. Starling, Ven Allen Lubin

Georgetown: Denver Anglin

Ohio State: Bruce Thornton, Felix Okpara, Roddy Gayle Jr.

Oklahoma: Milos Uzan, Otega Oweh

Michigan: Tarris Reed Jr., Jett Howard

Syracuse: Judah Mintz, Chris Bunch, Justin Taylor

Nebraska: Jamarques Lawrence, Ramel Lloyd Jr.

USC: Tre White, Vincent Iwuchukwu, Kijani Wright, Oziyah Sellers

Xavier: Kam Craft

Ole Miss: Amaree Abram

Miami: A.J. Casey

UCF: Taylor Hendricks

Vanderbilt: Noah Shelby, Colin Smith, Lee Dort

Texas Tech: Lamar Washington, Richard Isaacs Jr.

Oklahoma State: Quion Williams

Purdue: Camden Heide

Penn State: Jamel Brown

Providence: Quante Berry, Chris Essandoko, Jayden Pierre