In the college basketball recruiting cycle, 5-star recruits get the most attention and hype leading into the season. However, every season 3 and 4-star freshmen substantially impact their programs. To name a few, players like Jett Howard (Michigan), Noah Clowney (Alabama), Braden Smith (Purdue), and Aidan Mahaney (Saint Mary’s) have starred for their teams, some even deserving of all-conference honors. Which incoming freshmen could provide similar impacts next year?
Milan Momcilovic, Iowa State
The consistently elite defense sticks out when considering TJ Otzelberger’s Iowa State squads. However, one thing lacking in the last two seasons is consistent offensive creation. Momcilovic is a good passer and shooter, possessing crafty post moves inside. While he is lacking on the defensive end, expect his team around him can help make up for those deficiencies. With point guard Tamin Lipsey expected to return next season, there are tantalizing pick-and-pop possibilities between the two players. 5-star forward Omaha Biliew will likely get the hype for his seamless defensive fit next year, but Momcilovic has the offensive potential to lift this team to a deep tournament run.
Kaleb Glenn and Curtis Williams Jr, Louisville
Kenny Payne’s first season as head coach could not have gone much worse. However, his work as a recruiter should pay off in this next cycle. While still involved with 4-star center Dennis Evans, Payne will add two stud wings in Kaleb Glenn and Curtis Williams Jr. Glenn adds versatility and defensive prowess that was sorely lacking this year. Williams is a bona fide shot-maker with size. Coach Payne is prioritizing long wings, which make physical plays. With a solid 2022 class mostly expected to return, Payne will have no excuses left.
Solomon Ball, UConn
NBA scouts will be drooling over Ball next season. At 6-3, Ball has a 6-10 wingspan and possesses high-level athleticism, with a measured 40-inch vertical jump. With Jordan Hawkins likely declaring for the draft, there will be minutes available for Ball from the jump. One of the stars of the EYBL, Ball, has reportedly added 25 pounds of muscle. 247Sports’ Adam Finkelstein’s scouting report states, “He was tops in the EYBL in scoring efficiency among volume scorers (per Synergy), while averaging 16 points per game and over a point per possession.” The Huskies will need a reliable two-way presence on the floor, and Ball will be able to provide it from the jump.