Kentucky’s quartet of highly regarded freshmen — Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley-Stein — will take the court for the first time Friday night.
But you already know plenty about them.
Here’s a look at 11 other freshmen to keep an eye on during the 2012-13 season. Some were recruited by Kentucky. Some weren’t. All will be counted on to make in impact during their first season of college basketball.
SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD (UCLA): Many UK fans thought Muhammad would end up in Lexington. Instead, he picked UCLA on the same night that Nerlens Noel went for Kentucky. The 6-foot-6 wing spent his senior season of high school as the top-ranked recruit in the country, ceding the position to Noel on many lists after the UK center reclassified to 2012. He was supposed to be a savior for UCLA basketball (and Coach Ben Howland), but it’s unclear when (or if) he’ll get to play. Aside from a shoulder injury suffered in practice last month, the NCAA is investigating possible improper benefits received during his recruitment. There’s no timetable for a ruling, but many expect Muhammad to be the best freshman in the country if he’s cleared to play.
Opener: Friday vs. Indiana State
Must-see TV: Jan. 24 at No. 12 Arizona (ESPN2)