The Big 12 basketball world is taking in several impact freshmen for the 2021-22 season. But it’s a different kind of impact, as the transfer portal opened up a new world for player recruitment entering this season.
In the past, our site has selected an impact freshman for each team going into the season. But, a couple of programs didn’t take in a true freshman this season. Additionally, some freshmen are unlikely to make an impact this season due to the glut of experienced transfers. So this year’s list features the true freshman MOST likely to make an impact in the 2021-22 Big 12 basketball season.
Kendall Brown, F, Baylor: Brown is the Bears’ highest-rated recruit in the 2021 Class, and the fourth-highest Baylor recruit in the 247Sports.com era. The five-star player should make an immediate impact at Baylor, whether it be in the starting lineup or as a backup to the holdover frontcourt stars from the 2021 national championship team.
Langston Love, G, Baylor: Love is already getting some ‘love’ in NBA mock drafts for 2022, but when it comes to this season he could be an immediate contributor with the departures of Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell and Mark Vital. The Montverde Academy product — the same place that produced former Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham — wrote in a blog post last year that he chose Baylor because of ‘the way that they develop their guards.’ Love should be a great fit for Baylor’s immediate future — and he may not be in Waco long.
Tyrese Hunter, G, Iowa State: There’s a reason new head coach T.J. Otzelberger made keeping Hunter a priority when he took the job in March. The Top 40 recruit could start at guard right away with the number of departures in the backcourt due to transfer (Rasir Bolton, Jalen Coleman-Lands). He could be the highest-impact true freshman in the Big 12, given the opportunity for playing time and the need for him to play this season.
Zach Clemence, F, Kansas: Determining which incoming freshman will make an impact in Lawrence is difficult because the Jayhawks took in as many transfers as true freshmen. But Clemence, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Sunrise Christian in Wichita, Kansas, would provide David McCormack with an immediate backup and has the most direct route to an immediate contribution.
Maximus Edwards, G, Kansas State: Between holdover talent and transfers, the Wildcats likely have enough to work with (head coach Bruce Weber could go 10 deep with that group). But, if one freshman has the chance to make an impact, it’s Edwards, who scored 1,600 points in his high school career and comes with swingman skills where he can play the off-guard or small forward positions.
CJ Noland, G, Oklahoma: Noland is the only Top 100 true freshman in the Sooners’ recruiting class. The Sooners lost plenty to transfer, and there are opportunities for a player like Noland to make an impact, mostly likely as a backup to begin the season. Don’t be surprised if he’s a starter by the end of the season.
Jaylon Tyson, F, Texas: The Plano, Texas, product originally committed to Texas Tech. But when Chris Beard left the Red Raiders for the Longhorns, Tyson followed. Now, the question is how significant an impact Tyson can make in Year 1, given the transfers the Longhorns took in to bolster the frontcourt (Christian Bishop, Dylan Disu and Timmy Allen). Beard is likely to give Tyson a chance early.
Jamel King, G, West Virginia
Like many of the Big 12 rosters, the Mountaineers are stacked with experience and transfers. However, King is the Mountaineers’ highest-rated recruit in the 2021 class. King averaged 23 points and 6 rebounds in his senior season. If any freshman on the roster can work his way into playing time, it’s King.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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