The high school class of 2021 was always going to be fascinating to track as college freshmen. They were a group that mostly made college decisions without visiting campuses, while also contending with an exploding transfer portal, a one-time transfer waiver and a free year from the NCAA for the non-freshmen.
Through the first two and a half months of the 2021-22 men's college basketball season, it's clear there have been more questionable fits and first-year struggles among the ESPN 100 than in the past. Entering Tuesday, only 21 ESPN 100 prospects were averaging double figures in scoring. Only 19 were playing eight or fewer minutes per game.
That's not to say the group is without talent, however. The top three prospects in ESPN's 2022 NBA draft rankings are freshmen, as are five of the top seven and 12 of the top 21. Three of the top four teams in the AP poll -- and five of the top 10 -- have freshmen playing key roles.
With six weeks still left in the regular season, and plenty of time for newcomers to emerge, it's time to take stock of this year's freshmen so far.
*All stats as of Jan. 25
Best of the Best
Banchero is no longer the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in June, but it has very little to do with the Seattle native's production so far in Durham -- it's more due to Jabari Smith's emergence. Since launching his college career with 22 points and seven rebounds against Kentucky in the season opener, Banchero has been one of the most consistent offensive players in the country. He scored at least 20 points in four straight games before "settling" for 15 points, 13 rebounds and four assists against Syracuse on Saturday. On the season, he's averaging 17.9 points and 7.9 rebounds.