In the college basketball era of the “one-and-done” the play of freshmen is all the rage. Year after year it seems to be that the nation’s best high school standouts come to college and shine right away. This isn’t to say that either Trevon Bluiett of the Xavier Musketeers or L.J. Peak of the Georgetown Hoyas is headed to the NBA after a single year, but both have proved in the first four days of the season that they will be contributing immensely right away to their teams.
Bluiett, an Indianapolis product, spurned offers from the UCLA Bruins and Arizona Wildcats in order to come play for Christ Mack at Xavier. In high school he was renowned as a big bodied guard or wing who can flat out score the ball. He has certainly proved that with just two games under his belt by averaging 19.0 points and shooting 65 percent from the floor. Everyone knew the loss of Semaj Christon to the NBA would be a tough scoring hole for the Musketeers to fill, but Trevon Bluiett has proved to be more than able.
This isn’t to say that Bluiett is the only new comer who has been impressive early on for Xavier. Former Indiana Hoosier Remy Abell has played an important part in the X-men’s 2-0 start as well. Each has averaged 3.5 assists through the opening weekend. With guys like Bluiett and Abell joining a host of talented pieces from a year ago like Matt Stainbrook, it is no doubt that Chris Mack will have his eyes set on a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Meanwhile at Georgetown, the issue for the Hoyas in 2013-14 was their ability to put points on the board. Going into the season with preseason player of the year D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and an eligible Josh Smith, it was easy to choose them to handle most of the scoring load. However, Smith-Rivera has come out of the gates ice cold only converting 23% of his field goals, but the Hoyas have won both their contests in large part to the play of L.J. Peak.
The 6’5” slasher from South Carolina went nine for nine from the field in the opener against the Saint Francis (NY) Terriers for 23 points. He followed that performance with a 10 point, four rebound, and four assist effort against the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders. Although he did not shoot the ball great, he still played a heavy role in what Georgetown was trying to accomplish offensively throughout the game.
Obviously when it comes to freshmen there are going to be ups and downs during the season and I cannot imagine Trevon Bluiett or L.J. Peak being an exception to that. However, they both could end up being stars for their teams come March. Four days into the season it would be silly to jump too far ahead of myself, but it is clear that these two players are extremely talented. The pieces are in place for Xavier and Georgetown to make a splash in the Big East as well as nationally in 2014-15, and the standout newcomers can help put them over the top.