Five Wildcats among SI’s top 50 freshman scorers

It is well known at this point that the 2017-18 Kentucky men’s basketball team will be one of the youngest in the country this season. It should then come as no surprise that so many Wildcats were listed in Sports Illustrated’s projections of the top 50 freshman scorers for the upcoming season.

Hamidou Diallo (No. 4), Kevin Knox (No. 6), Quade Green (No. 23), PJ Washington (No. 25) and Nick Richards (No. 43) all cracked the top 50 of SI’s projected top rookie scorers. UK and Duke were the only two schools to have two players in the top 10.

Sports Illustrated projects guard Hamidou Diallo to lead all Kentucky freshmen in scoring with 16.1 points per game this season. (photo By Barry Westerman, UK Athletics)

SI’s projections are a collaboration between economist Dan Hanner and SI writers Chris Johnson and Jeremy Fuchs. “The system uses college and AAU statistics, recruiting rankings and coaching data to project every Division I player and team.” (Click here for more information on how the system works.)

Three of SI’s projected top-four freshman scorers are from the Southeastern Conference. SI has Diallo averaging 16.1 points per game to go with 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. The top three freshman scorers, according to SI, will be Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri), Marvin Bagley (Duke) and Collin Sexton (Alabama).

Knox, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Tampa who Coach Cal has called a guard, is projected to average 15.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

Green, a 6-0 point guard, is projected to have a balanced stat line of 9.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Two spots behind Green is the 6-7 Washington, who SI has pegged to put up 9.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

Richards is projected to go for 7.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during his rookie season, though, as Hanner and Johnson note, his “biggest contributions at Kentucky this season are more likely to come on the defensive end of the floor.”

You can read SI’s entire piece on the top 50 freshman scorers of the 2017-18 season by clicking here.

Sports Illustrated’s projections for Kentucky’s top five freshman scorers

Rank Player Position PPG RPG APG ORtg Volume Mins.
4 Hamidou Diallo G 16.1 5.2 1.8 107.6 27% 73%
6 Kevin Knox F 15.2 7.2 1.2 116.3 24% 72%
23 Quade Green G 9.9 3.0 4.3 111.1 18% 70%
25 PJ Washington F 9.8 8.3 1.2 116.0 19% 58%
43 Nick Richards F 7.9 6.8 0.6 114.1 18% 52%

Note: Rank = player’s ranking among SI’s top 50 freshman scorers. Volume = projected percentage of team possessions used while on the court. Mins. = projected percentage of minutes played.