College hoops roundup in the DMV: Bring on the freshmen

College hoops roundup in the DMV: Bring on the freshmen
October 25, 2011, 3:54 pm
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By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comNew kids on the block- looking at thetop incoming freshmen and prospects for the men's college basketball programs in the DMV...Maryland: Nick Faust (6-6, G)Upon agreeing to become Marylands basketball coach, Mark Turgeon quickly got working on securing the incoming recruits that originally committed to play for Gary Williams.Some left. Faust, the Baltimore product and elite prospect of the bunch, was in fact the only one that stayed. Barely."My first conversation with the mom was not good. She was very upset," Turgeon said earlier this month at Marylands Media Day. "I get her on the phone and she's screaming and yelling and saying she wants her release. I'm trying to keep her calm, and she's mad that I'm probably saying that right now. She goes, 'We just don't trust any coaches right now. Coach Williams said he was going to be here two or three more years.' Turgeon continued.I said, 'Well Lisa, if Nick doesn't come here, I won't be here two or three years.' So she laughed at that and loosened up."Faust will have no choice but to stay lose and limber this season as the Terps thin roster will demand significant playing time from the significant players. Since the depth on this team rests in the backcourt, the long-limbed wing figures to see time in the frontcourt when the Terps use three and at times four guard lineups. The energetic Faust will make his presence felt running the break and slashing through the rim, but his deep range is legitimate.Oh, do not fret about any waning interestwhen the other team has the ball.Faust's skills extend to guarding folks as well.I have big expectations for Nick. I think Nick can be one of our best defenders on our team as a freshman, which is hard to be, Turgeon said. Nick gets it. Hes got willingness to guard and a defenders body and length. I think he can be a tremendous defender.Georgetown: Otto Porter (6-8, F )Even among the nations elite prospects, Porter was a mystery man. It took time for his all-court skill set to catch on with those that track the high school scene. Eventually the Missouri native made his mark, pushed his wiry frame up the national rankings and brought his and mid-range offensive game to the Hilltop. Porter played guard growing up until a growth spurt after eighth grade changed his body, but the perimeter handle remained. Considered the top recruit among the Hoyas impressive incoming haul of five freshmen, Porter remains under the radar at least off the court - with his current teammates, but his game has quickly made a loud impression.Otto is a low-key guy, you wont see him around campus much, keeps to himself, said Hoyas center Henry Sims. On the court he has a magnet for the ball, a nose for the ball. Every rebound he has to be involved in, every lose ball if not get it, then tips it. He knocks down open shots. Hes a good weapon to have. Horrible to play against because he makes everything, but fun to have on your team."Georgetown coach John Thompson III has not ruled out starting one of the freshmen come opening night. Porter or rugged guard Jabril Trawick figure to be leading contenders.George Mason: Erik Copes (6-8, C)Before playing a single game on the college level, the Pennsylvania big man has impacted two local programs. Copes originally signed with George Washington, but when Karl Hobbs was relieved of his coaching duties, the top-60 recruit followed his uncle former Colonials and now Patriots assistant coach Roland Houston to George Mason. Copes not only provides the Patriots the highest ranked recruit in program history, he forms an intimidating, power-packed front line with CAA Player of the Year candidate Ryan Pearson and center Mike Morrison. Hes really strong, George Mason coach Paul Hewitt said this month at CAA Media Day, a touch of mischief permeating his loud laugh when describing his heralded freshmens attributes.He can rebound and he likes to rebound. Does he have some adjustments as he enters college basketball? Hedging ball screens, the typical things you see with young big guys, but he can really rebound the ball and loves to be physical around the rim.George Washington: John Kopriva (6-8, F)Being the curious reporter that I am, I pestered those familiar with the Colonials hoops program for a player to keep an eye on, an off-the-radar choice who could surprise with significant role in the playing rotation this season. The one name that came up repeatedly and enthusiastically so was Kopriva, a hard-working , albeit under-sized power forward who followed Mike Lonergan from Vermont to George Washington when the coach changed addresses this summer."I was actually recruited by other teams in the A-10, but felt Coach Lonergan and his staff at Vermont was a great fit for me, said Kopriva, who averaged 14 points, six rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game during his senior season . When Coach came to GW, it was the best of both worlds.The Milwaukee native Kopriva doubled as his high schools starting quarterback describes his game as going 110 percent. I cant wait to get on the court and be a guy they can rely on game in and game out.Considering the lack of a proven center on the roster, the Colonials certainly hope they can rely on the hard-charging freshman to play key minutes up front.Virginia: Malcolm Brogdon (6-5, G)One could easily highlight Paul Jesperson, the Wisconsin Player of the Year and another big guard ready to play for coach Tony Bennett this season or 6-8 Darion Atkins (Landon) as the Cavaliers freshman to watch. Redshirt forward James Johnson is another notable member of an incoming class generating significant buzz among the UVA hoops faithful, a group longing for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Brogdon may be the pick of the litter. Mentored by former NBA star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, the scoring guard knocks down shots with regularity and is effective with the dribble as both passer and finisher. The Cavaliers return four guards that received significant minutes last season, but the four-star recruit figures to get his run sooner than later.Virginia Tech: Dorian Finney-Smith (6-8, F)The highest ranked recruit ever to make his way to Blacksburg slotted among the nations top 25 in some college basketball publications the bouncy Portsmouth, Va. natives inside-outside game should help offset the key losses to graduation suffered by the Hokies.
Finney-Smiths length and absurd wingspan should provide immediate on the defensive end as an active rebounder, a vital role now that Jeff Allen no longer roams the paint. Battling Jarrell Eddie for the Hokies starting small forward role, Finney-Smiths offensive foundation includes skills as a perimeter ball-handler and an attacker of the basket. American: John Schoof (6-6, G)The retooling Eagles get a heady wing player in Schoof, who scored 20 or more points nine times during his senior season at W.T. Woodson. His range extends beyond the three-point line and Schoof moves well without the ball. Will need to bulk up for Jeff Jones to consider playing him at small forward, but Schoofs overall game is well suited for the Patriot League.Howard: Sim Frazier (6-0, G)
The headliner of the Bisons quality recruiting class, the Norfolk native is a true lead guard who has been battle tested during his time with the noted Boo Williams AAU program. Frazier and fellow freshman guard Brandon Ford (Gwynn Park; PG County Player of the Year) fit into Howard coach Kevin Nickleberrys up-tempo style. The addition of Tulsa transfer Glen Andrews allows Frazier transition time into the college game.