Many highly-touted recruits joined the Big Ten this season. After a month of the season, it is time to release the Big Ten freshmen report. These freshmen have stood out above the rest to help lead their teams to success early in the season. If these newcomers continue to show flashes of brilliance, they could help their teams compete for the conference this season.
Big Ten Freshmen Report Card
We start with the five-star forward Mackenzie Mgbako. In high school, he was known for his scoring, particularly his three-point shot. While Mgbako has struggled to find his footing from deep, he has been a very important piece for Indiana. The Hoosiers have started put 7-1 with two conference wins against Michigan and Maryland. Mgbako is averaging 8.6 points per game and has yet to miss a free throw. He hasn’t been filling up the stat sheet yet, but if he can round out his game he will be a likely candidate for freshman of the year in the conference.
Rutgers has struggled to score so far this season, but Gavin Griffiths has done his best to contribute. Like Mgbako, Griffiths is also averaging 8.4 points this season. Unfortunately, he has been a bit less consistent. His scoring average is a bit inflated due to a 25-point performance against Boston University earlier this season. Either way, Griffiths has been a strong option for a Rutgers team that desperately needs more scorers. If he can become more consistent, watch out for the Scarlet Knights this season.
Last season, Minnesota was in the basement of the Big Ten and things were not looking very optimistic for them this year. But freshman Cam Christie has helped turn things around for the Golden Gophers. Christie is averaging 10.8 points per game and shooting an absurd 47 percent from three so far this season. With Christie’s help, Minnesota may be able to pick off some of the Big Ten’s giants this season.
Maryland has struggled to start the season, but Deshawn Harris-Smith has played well for a freshman. While he has only averaged 8 points per game, his role is more as a stat-sheet stuffer. He grabs 5.2 rebounds a game and gets 1.4 steals a game. The main struggle for him has been three-point shooting, where he is shooting below one percent. If he can figure out that part of his game, he could be an integral part in turning Maryland’s season around.
The final Big Ten freshman who has helped his team find success is Iowa’s Owen Freeman. Freeman averages 9.4 points per game, but his value is more on the defensive side. He averages 2 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. This is an incredible defensive presence for a player who is only ten games into his college career. If he can improve his scoring a bit, he may find himself in the all-conference conversation.