Freshmen ready to blow up

Updated: January 28, 2012, 3:13 PM ET
By Doug Gottlieb

We have been spoiled. Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley and John Wall have forever changed our view of what a freshman can bring to the table in college basketball. With the "one and done" culture pervasive in the mindset of many incoming freshmen, the harsh reality is that very few are ready to compete, let alone lead in the college game. Nonetheless, players are considered busts when they come in all hyped up and struggle to produce early in their careers.

Ask most any coach and their expectations are quite different. In fact, most coaches are very gentle with freshmen when they miss shots early. When kids get to college, they are asked to play harder than they ever have before, while not rushing. The rhythm of the game takes time to adjust to. Additionally, you have players lifting weights, some for the first time in their lives; there is the night life, studying and the grinding of players by their coaches. All of these factors cause players to shoot poorly, pass poorly, or just play below their expected levels early in their first seasons.

Take Doug McDermott, for example. The Creighton sophomore is set to become an All-American, maybe even national player of the year. Did you know that through December of last year he was shooting 22 percent from the 3-point line? McDermott has shot 50 percent from 3 since as the game has slowed down for him, and he has become the nation's leading sophomore scorer at 23 points a game.

Point is, freshmen need some time to adjust. Here's a look at six frosh I think are poised to take their games to another level in the second half of the season:

Tony Wroten, Washington Huskies
In Washington's win at Arizona State on Thursday, Wroten went 9-for-12 from the floor (22 points) and made "SportsCenter" with a nasty dunk on Jonathan Gilling. Since Christmas, Wroten is averaging 18.4 ppg, which is tops amongst all freshmen in Division I during that span, while shooting 50 percent from the field. Most importantly, his team has won six of eight, all in conference play, during that same stretch. Wroten is far from a true point and his stroke needs major work, but he has UW back in the NCAA tournament mix.