NCAA Men: Top 5 College Freshmen
With the NCAA season coming quick, it’s time to look at the Aussies set to make a splash at the collegiate level.
Here’s the five Australian freshman men in Division I college hoops to watch out for this upcoming season.
5 | Gabe HADLEY | New Mexico State
Originally hailing from Tasmania, Hadley made the move to Victoria in 2014, the sharpshooter has a chance to forge a role off the bench for the Aggies this upcoming season, and could well push for a starting berth.
The 6’3 guard is a dynamic scorer who was described by former NM State head coach Paul Weir as "the best shooter in his class in Australia.”
Hadley has experience representing Australia at the 2016 FIBA U18 Oceania Championship where he averaged just under 10 points per game. Earlier this year he averaged 17.86 points per outing at the U20 National Championships, which was good enough for third in scoring behind Isaac White and Tom Wilson.
If Hadley can showcase his offensive prowess for head coach Chris Jans, then he should be able to play considerable minutes for the Aggies immediately.
4 | Isaac WHITE | Stanford
Playing in the tough Pac-12 conference, White is tipped to play as Stanford’s back-up point guard as a freshman. The 6’1 floor general has long been a stand-out for South Australia at the national championships. In fact earlier this year, White helped lead South Australia to the U20 National title where he averaged a tournament high 20.6 point per game.
The crafty point guard possesses a reliable three-point shooting stroke which should see him become a valuable asset for the Stanford team.
White represented Australia earlier this year at the U18 FIBA Oceania Championships where he averaged 14.8 points per game. The South Australian guard should continue to display a superior work ethic during his freshman year, proving that mental toughness plays a big role in a player’s successes and failures.
3 | Deng GAK | Miami
Gak will play alongside fellow Aussie Dejan Vasiljevic at the Hurricanes this season. Gak was also Vasiljevic’s teammate at the 2015 U19 World Championships, where the Emus finished in seventh place.
Gak was a highly regarded prospect coming out of Blair Academy (New Jersey), as he was ranked as the 94th best prospect by ESPN. Gak also had scholarship offers from blue chip programs such as Duke and Kansas.
The 6’11 big man made the move from Sydney to New Jersey in 2015 to attend Blair Academy. The move proved to be a highly successful one, given Gak’s high recruitment value.
Now Gak will look to emulate his success on the college game this season for the University of Miami. The power forward possesses great length and versatility on the floor that has caused many to refer to him as a high upside player with NBA potential.
2 | Mayan KIIR | Louisiana State
LSU head coach Will Wade has kept his cards close to his chest in discussing his starting line-up for the upcoming season. He has however told the media that “Kiir has spent a vast majority at the five for us. He slid over to the four a little bit, but he is mostly at the five.”
Kiir will have to compete with fellow Aussie Duop Reath at the centre position along with two other senior big men on LSU’s roster. However Kiir’s athleticism, strong rebounding and ability to run the floor will put him in good stead to play meaningful minutes for a Tigers side that has been ranked as one of the weakest in the SEC.
The 6’9 listed big man attended Victory Rock Prep in Florida, which is the same school that Louisville’s Deng Adel attended.
Mostly due to unavailability, Kiir has not participated in any Australian national championships, nor has he represented Australia, making him a relative unknown to Australian fans. Make no mistake however, Kiir is set to be one of the leading Australian freshman this upcoming season.
Kiir was a four-star prospect in high school and was for much of the season ranked in the ESPN top 100 prospects.
1 | Kouat NOI | Texas Christian
After red-shirting his first year at TCU, Noi is ready to make an impact immediately as a freshman in 2017/18.
Standing at 6’7 with a long wingspan, the forward poses as a threat off the bench for the Horned Frogs, possibly as the team’s sixth man.
Noi attended Monverde Academy along with Albany freshman Cameron Healy. Montverde is of course the same school that Ben Simmons led to three straight national championships.
The Newcastle native has dominated national championships for NSW back home as well as having represented Australia at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championships.
TCU recently toured Australia with Noi shining. The Australian native consistently scored in double digits placing himself firmly in coach Dixon’s plans for the upcoming season.