This year’s NCAA freshmen class has NBA scouts excited about the 2014 draft. So much so, that their people are already talking about the benefits of having the worst season possible this year just to jockey for position. Hyped as one of the strongest draft classes in history, many feel the top pick will be one of three freshmen: Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, or Julius Randle. The trio’s star power is already on full display and is contributing to the national attention of their respective teams: Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky.
Each first-year player joined an already storied basketball program, evident by the high demand for tickets year-in and year-out from their loyal fanbases. In 2012, each of these elite squads boasted a top 5 ticket on the secondary market entering the season. The flashy freshmen are the faces of their programs this year and all are contributing to the heightened interest and 30+ percent increase in ticket prices to home games. Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky (in that order) are the most expensive College Basketball tickets on the secondary market for the 2013-14 season.
|Most Expensive College Basketball Tickets||2013 Avg. Price||2012 Avg. Price||∆|
|Duke Blue Devils||$434.89||$264.55 (1)||64%|
|Kansas Jayhawks||$274.76||$204.27 (5)||35%|
|Kentucky Wildcats||$212.98||$161.42 (3)||32%|
Jabari Parker, the latest Duke Blue Devil to star on a national level, has been a top NBA prospect for years. Many considered him the best high school player in the country before he even began his junior year. Now the foot injury he dealt with during his senior season is long forgotten and Parker has started this year off with a bang. In his first game he scored 22 points on 8-10 shooting in just 23 minutes. He followed that up with 27 points in a nationally televised game against Kansas, 19 of which came in the first half. Through 5 games he is averaging over 22 points and nearly nine boards while shooting a ridiculous 65% from downtown. His 6-8, 235 pound frame has NBA GMs ready to plug him into their lineups tomorrow!
Andrew Wiggins was considered by almost everyone to be the number one recruit in the country when he chose to make his one year stop in Kansas this season. NBA teams can’t wait to get their hands on this athletic freak of nature. GMs believe Wiggins has the highest ceiling of any player entering the draft in the last few years and as of now he is considered the favorite to be the number 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Wiggins showed flashes of his lofty potential against Duke last week when he scored 16 points in the second half including a step back jumper that put the Jayhawks up by four with 1:30 left in the game.
Julius Randle, the latest super-freshman to wear a Kentucky Wildcat uniform, is the biggest of the three top freshmen and he knows what to do with his size and strength. At 6-9 , 250 pounds, Randle is ready to be an NBA power forward right now. His numbers back that up as he is averaging nearly 21 points and 13.4 rebounds per game (fifth in the nation thus far). He has had a double-double in points and rebounds every game.
While NBA fans of losing teams want to fast-forward to the 2014 draft, College Basketball fans want to enjoy their one-and-done players for all they have to offer. Each game featuring these fab freshmen is expected to be a showcase of high-flying dunks, powerful drives to the basket, and some finesse and flair on the perimeter (except from Randle who will be plowing over and through hapless defenders). While their teams compete for top seeds in the tournament these freshmen will surely be a joy to watch in what should be a great season of college basketball.
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