NCB On The Trail: Devin Williams

The ACC, SEC, Pac-12, Big East and AAC all held their annual media days this week, with the Big 12 and Big Ten scheduled to follow suit next week. That means we’re seeing a variety of preseason coaches' polls identifying the top teams, players and freshmen in each conference.

From a recruiting perspective, one of the most interesting aspects of the preseason polls is finding the discrepancies between our final ESPN 100 rankings and coaches’ expectations just a few months later.

[+] EnlargeTyler Innis
AP PhotoFreshman Tyler Ennis will likely play big minutes at point guard for Syracuse.
The reality is that player rankings and preseason polls are projecting two different things, so sometimes the highest-ranked players coming out of high school aren’t the ones coaches expect to make the most immediate impact as college freshmen.

Our ESPN rankings are based on three weighted criteria: NBA potential, projected college impact and high school productivity. Preseason polls are only relevant to the second and have a narrower lens since they’re only considering the upcoming season and not the entire scope of a college career.

The other major difference between final recruit rankings and preseason college polls is the presence of variables. Opportunity and fit, both with style of play and current personnel, are exceptionally important when assessing how impactful freshmen can be in their debut season but aren’t relevant when calculating final rankings coming out of high school.

With those variances in mind, here’s a look at five college freshmen whose immediate impact should exceed their final ESPN 100 ranking in the Class of 2013.


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WVU adds juco forward in 2013

May, 7, 2013
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West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins announced the signing of juco power forward Jonathan Holton (Miami/Palm Beach State C.C.) on Monday.

The 6-foot-7 Holton played one season at Rhode Island (2011-12), averaging 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 28.5 minutes before leaving the university because of legal issues.

"Jonathan is the a prototype Big 12 forward," Huggins said in a release. "He can really score it off the bounce, play with his back to the basket, stretch defenses to make 3-pointers, as well as being a terrific offensive rebounder. He should give us immediate help on the frontline."

Holton is the fifth incoming recruit for Huggins, joining ESPN 100 PF Devin Williams (Cincinnati/Montverde Academy), PF Elijah Macon (Columbus, Ohio/Brewster Academy), C Brandon Watkins (Decatur, Ga./Grady) and PF Nathan Adrian (Morgantown, W.Va./Morgantown).

ESPN 100 Devin Williams to West Virginia 

November, 3, 2012
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ESPN.com has confirmed that 6-foot-8 power forward Devin Williams (Cincinnati/Montverde Academy) verbally committed to West Virginia on Saturday.

Williams, ranked No. 84 in the ESPN 100, had narrowed his choices to the Mountaineers, Ohio State and Memphis.

"[West Virginia] fits my playing style," Williams told ESPN.com. "I feel that I am a [head coach Bob] Huggins guy. I like the players and coaches. West Virginia is somewhere I feel I can come in a make an impact right away. I think I will be a good player in the Big 12."

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