Top 10 under-the-radar freshmen

James Robinson of Pitt leads the list of great but overlooked freshmen

Updated: January 1, 2013, 2:30 PM ET
By Paul Biancardi | ESPN Insider
Chris ObekaAnthony Gruppuso/US PresswireChris Obeka has been one of the more underrated freshmen in the country.

We've already seen several of the nation's top freshmen emerge this season -- Kentucky's Nerlens Noel and Duke's Rasheed Sulaimon come to mind. And we've also seen a few lesser-known freshmen earn recognition with their play -- Butler's Kellen Dunham and Michigan's Nik Stauskas qualify.

But there are several other freshmen, including several who were in the 2012 ESPN 100, who are playing key roles for their teams but aren't getting noticed. Some are on teams that haven't had the strongest starts out of the gate, and some are coming off the bench in supporting roles.

But it's just a matter of time before these under-the-radar freshmen become stars or all-league players, either this season or further down the line. These are guys who we thought would be successful coming out of high school, and are proving themselves in the first few months of the season. I would take any of these guys on my team right now.

Here is my look at the top 10 under-the-radar freshmen in the country, including what they do well and what they'll need to improve in order to reach their star potential.

1. James Robinson, G, Pittsburgh Panthers

2012 ESPN 100 rank: 43

Robinson is a difference-maker. He understands his role as a facilitator first by finding the open man and the hot scorer, but he can also score on his own when he's open; he does a great job of defending his position. He leads the Big East in assist-to-turnover ratio (5.27 A/TO), and is a durable, reliable player who leads his team in minutes played. His ability to think and play with production at the toughest position in college basketball (in addition to protecting the ball and defending without fouling) separates him from his peers. He is a winner who can be trusted at the end of games and off the court.

Where he needs to improve: He must do a better job of knocking down the open 3-point shot (33 percent from deep) in order to keep the defense from leaving him to double-team someone else.

2. Marcus Georges-Hunt, G/F, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

2012 ESPN 100 rank: 69


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Paul Biancardi

Basketball Recruiting