Nation's best defensive freshmen

Turner, Alexander among first-year players set to make an immediate impact

Updated: July 8, 2014, 11:29 AM ET
By Paul Biancardi | ESPN Insider

Myles Turner, Cliff AlexanderNBAE via Getty Images, Icon SMIMyles Turner and Cliff Alexander are both shot-blocking and rebounding machines.

As the nation's best prospects advance throughout their high school career, they usually make their name on the offensive end of the floor or from their overwhelming physical gifts. Their impact is most often seen by their talent to score the ball or their sharpshooting range and accuracy.

But while filling up the box score is important for teams, being effective on the defensive end is just as crucial. Two great examples who exemplified this were former Kentucky stars Nerlens Noel and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Both were difference-makers based on their ability to block shots, rebound and limit opponents on the ball.

Let's take a look at five incoming freshmen whose strong defensive qualities will impact their respective teams and influence the college game next season.

Myles Turner | C | Texas Longhorns

With an enormous wingspan, ability to move his feet and shot-blocking range, Turner will have a definite defensive impact next season. His strength is the ability to alter shots through precise timing. He is alert, active and can rotate from a help-side position and challenge, change or swat away a field goal attempt. Turner's presence will also be felt chasing down a run-out by an opponent and trying to erase easy conversion points.

Paul Biancardi

Basketball Recruiting