banner

College Basketball

more stats

Dorm Report: Power in the paint

By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Basketball Editor

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Some of the most exciting freshmen entering the college ranks this coming season are frontcourt performers.

Highlighted by Duke's Jahlil Okafor, the 2014-15 class appears to have plenty of strength in the paint. With that said, the top post players in the country are not all looking forward to their first run to March. Here is a peek at the best power forwards that will be battling down low this winter.

Montrezl Harrell (Louisville) - There was a time last March when the Cardinals, and not the hated Wildcats in Lexington, were the team that seemed destined to make a run to the Final Four. No player was bigger, both in stature and importance, to that hype than Harrell. The 6-foot-8 forward was an absolute monster on the inside, bullying players on defense, attacking the glass with fervor and finishing around the rim with surprising touch. Harrell was a freshman member of the 2013 national championship squad, but he really came into his own as a sophomore, averaging 14 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He also connected on 60.9 percent of his shots from the field, although the bulk of those baskets came right around the rim. Harrell began to show a bit more touch on mid-range jumpers as the season wore on and it is an area he will likely be trying to polish in the offseason. Improving as a free-throw shooter is also a necessity. He netted just 46.4 percent of his chances from the charity stripe in 2013-14. With Russ Smith gone, Harrell will be asked to take on more of the scoring load. If he can become more efficient across the board, teams might not be able to stop him.

Jordan Mickey (LSU) - When LSU head coach Johnny Jones and Mickey held a press conference in late April, it appeared as if the freshman phenom was going to announce a quick end to a promising college career. Fortunately for LSU fans and Jones himself, Mickey decided to hang around in Baton Rouge for at least one more year before entering the NBA Draft. For a program that hasn't gone dancing since 2009, having a talent like Mickey back is a huge boost, especially considering the trajectory the Tigers are on. They won 18 games in 2012, 19 in 2013 and 20 last season. Playing no small part in last year's improvement was Mickey -- the 6-8 forward finishing second on the team in scoring (12.8 ppg) and was the leader in rebounding (7.9 rpg) and blocked shots (3.1 bpg). His ability to get his hands on opposing field goal attempts is perhaps his greatest strength. A great leaper with a huge wingspan, Mickey not only led LSU in blocks, but the SEC as well. He also tied for eighth in the country in that department. Mickey will not have frontcourt mate Johnny O'Bryant III with him this season, so expect his offensive importance to expand while he continues to provide elite defense.

Bobby Portis (Arkansas) - Mickey will have his hands full when the Tigers take on Arkansas, with the Razorbacks featuring a standout power forward of their own in Portis. Like Mickey, Portis was also a freshman during the 2013-14 season, but he definitely didn't play like one. The 6-foot-11 forward saw time in all 34 games for the Razorbacks, averaging 12.3 points and 6.8 rebounds each time on the floor. He was also able to block 1.6 shots per game, while showing quick hands even when shots were not being taken, snagging a steal per contest as well. Despite those impressive numbers, Portis did have some consistency issues, especially at the offensive end. He shot below 50 percent from the floor in each of Arkansas' last six games, including their run in the NIT. For a player that takes the majority of his shots within the 3-point arc, being able to finish is imperative. However, with a year of experience at the collegiate level under his belt, Portis should show a ton of improvement as a sophomore, and that is a promising thought for the Razorbacks.

Perry Ellis (Kansas) - With NBA first round picks Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid getting most of the buzz for last year's Kansas squad, there wasn't much attention paid to the rest of the roster. That meant a bulk of the country missed out on the impressive play of Ellis. The 6-foot-8 forward was relegated to All-Big 12 Third Team status, despite ranking second on Bill Self's team in scoring (13.5 ppg), while collecting 6.7 rebounds per game as well. Ellis had to do much of the heavy lifting down low once Embiid was slowed by an injury down the stretch. The sophomore buckled a bit under the pressure, especially during a 3-of-10 shooting effort in the Jayhawks' loss to Stanford in the NCAA Tournament, but he also showed flashes of brilliance, scoring 30 points against Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals, and posting a 14-point, 13-rebound effort in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Ellis will be challenged by the arrival of highly-touted freshman Cliff Alexander, but if he handles that as well as he handled working with Embiid, there should be no drop-off in production.

Alan Williams (UC Santa Barbara) - The term "box score stuffer" is thrown around a bit too frequently nowadays. However, there are certain players who fit the description perfectly, and Williams is one of them. Although he plays in the less-regarded Big West Conference, his eye-popping numbers are impossible to brush aside. In 2013-14, Williams netted 21.3 points, secured 11.5 rebounds and swatted 2.4 shots per game. Most college coaches would be happy with a player that showed such exemplary skills in one of those categories, but Bob Williams is lucky enough to have a player that excels in all three. The 6-foot-7 forward led the Big West in both scoring and rebounding, and not by small margins. He tallied more than three points more per game than the next best scorer in the league, and was the only player in the conference to average more than nine boards a contest. For all his efforts, Williams was named Big West Player of the Week a league-record six times before collecting the conference's player of the year award. He is hands down the best player, let alone power forward, in the Big West, as well as one of the best in the country.

Honorable Mention: Brandon Ashley (Arizona), JayVaughn Pinkston (Villanova), Josh Scott (Colorado), Aaron White (Iowa), Shawn Long (Louisiana), Chris Walker (Florida), Kennedy Meeks (North Carolina) and Ryan Anderson (Arizona)

08/19 10:51:39 ET

Other Stories

  • ACC: North Carolina vs. Miami

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego vs. Miami

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida vs. Georgia

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Notre Dame vs. Navy

    Tonight at 8:00 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Duke at Pittsburgh

    Today at 12:00 pm on 620am

  • Big Ten: Maryland at Penn State

    Today at 12:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Syracuse

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes vs Arizona Coyotes

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
12:00pm Today
PITT
DUKE
12:00pm Today
TEMPL
ECU
12:30pm Today
MIAMI
UNC
3:00pm Today
SYR
NCSU
4:00pm Today
BCOOK
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
MEM
 
Final
IND 89
MEM 97
Final
CHI 108
CLE 114
Final
MIL 93
PHI 81
Final
SAC 103
POR 94
Final
PHO 94
SAN 89
Final
LAL 111
LAC 118
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
MEM
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
MIA
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIL
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
BRK
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
BOS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DEN
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
PHO
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
LAL
 
Final
TULA 14
CIN 38
Final
MEM 40
TULSA 20
11:30am Today
ARMY
AFA
12:00pm Today
PITT
DUKE
12:00pm Today
TEMPL
ECU
12:00pm Today
PSU
MD
12:00pm Today
IOWA
NW
12:00pm Today
ISU
OKLA
12:00pm Today
FIU
RICE
12:00pm Today
UCONN
UCF
12:00pm Today
TEXAM
LAMON
12:00pm Today
RUTG
WISC
12:30pm Today
VT
BC
12:30pm Today
MIAMI
UNC
1:00pm Today
EMICH
CMICH
1:00pm Today
COL
WASH
2:30pm Today
UMO
WMICH
3:00pm Today
SYR
NCSU
3:00pm Today
LATU
WKENT
3:30pm Today
MTST
BYU
3:30pm Today
UGA
UF
3:30pm Today
APPST
GASTATE
3:30pm Today
MICH
IND
3:30pm Today
NEB
PURD
3:30pm Today
WVU
TCU
3:30pm Today
GT
UVA
4:00pm Today
SFLA
HOU
4:00pm Today
BAY
KU
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
KENT
4:00pm Today
NMST
TXST
4:30pm Today
WASU
USC
5:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
ARKST
5:00pm Tonight
LALAF
SALABAMA
5:30pm Tonight
UNLV
NMU
7:00pm Tonight
MISS
AUB
7:00pm Tonight
SJST
COLST
7:00pm Tonight
VANDY
ODU
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
7:15pm Tonight
MSST
ARK
7:30pm Tonight
OREG
STAN
7:30pm Tonight
SCAR
TENN
7:30pm Tonight
TTU
TEX
8:00pm Tonight
OSU
ILL
8:00pm Tonight
NAVY
ND
8:00pm Tonight
KST
OKST
8:00pm Tonight
UTEP
SMISS
10:30pm Tonight
UCLA
ARZ
10:30pm Tonight
ORST
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
NEV
SDST
10:45pm Tonight
FRES
WYO
11:00pm Tonight
HAW
UTST
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
UTAH
Final
CLB 1
TOR 4
Final
DET 5
LOS 2
Final
DAL 1
ANA 2
Final
CAL 4
NAS 3
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLA
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
WAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
WIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
COL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
DAL
 
10:00pm Tonight
EDM
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
NYI
 
4:00pm Today
BCOOK
NCCU