|Stepping into a new program is never easy, but here are 10 players who should flourish in their new surroundings.
1. Mike Chappell, Michigan State
Chappell left Duke because he was getting squeezed for playing time, yet he started over half of Duke's games in 1998. The Spartans are a team in need of a consistent perimeter shooter, especially with the departure of Jason Klein. Chappell is a smooth-shooting small forward with excellent range and the ability to handle the ball. Those traits will provide Tom Izzo with versatility, and Chappell is the perfect compliment to Mateen Cleaves' ability to penetrate and kick.
2. Donnell Harvey, Florida
Harvey is a man among boys inside and pursues the ball as well or better than any newcomer in the country. With his size, athleticism and attitude, Harvey is the perfect addition to an already-talented group. That's because he does not need the ball to have a major impact on the game.
Harvey will go after every missed shot on both ends, block shots and be an enforcer on the court, yet does not require others to get him his offense. Harvey's points will come from stickbacks, running the floor and the occasional post move, and he will be a popular addition among his teammates.
3. Michael Dunleavy, Duke
|Luke Axtell traded the burnt orange of Texas to be a Kansas Jayhawk.|
While everyone salivates over Jason Williams and Carlos Boozer, Dunleavy may turn out to be the most valuable of Duke's freshmen because of his versatility and understanding of the game (as the son of Portland Trail Blazers coach Mike Dunleavy, you would expect no less). Dunleavy is 6-8 and long-armed, yet he is very skilled. Right now, he is Duke's backup point guard, and he will fit into Duke's system very easily because he knows how to make reads.
Dunleavy is one of the few freshmen in the nation who looks at the defense while on offense, and makes his moves based upon what the defense is giving him. He can shoot the ball, handle it and he is very smart. Dunleavy is like Mike O'Koren, with better athletic ability.
4. Damien Wilkins, N.C. State
N.C. State was in desperate need of athleticism at the small forward spot last season, and Wilkins provides that immediately. The son of former NBA star Gerald Wilkins, Damien will immediately start and provide an athletic presence who can attack the basket off the dribble and defend more than one position. Coach Herb Sendek wants to move more toward a motion offensive system, and Wilkins provides a slasher who can exploit the defense.
5. Luke Axtell, Kansas
An unbelievable shooter and scorer, Axtell gives Roy Williams a raw talent in need of refining. Axtell can do it all on the offensive end and would have been the Jayhawks' top scorer had he played last season. While he needs work on his strength and defense, Axtell will be an immediate impact player because of his ability to be a threat anywhere on the court and his inside-outside skills.
Usually, it takes some time to adjust to Roy Williams' system (because you have to know how to play, as well as play with others), but Axtell had all of last season to adjust in practice as a reshirt. In addition, Williams is likely to go with more set plays to take advantage of his personnel, and Axtell will be a perfect fit for Kansas' secondary break.
6. Kenny Satterfield, Cincinnati
Satterfield is a strong-minded winner. After winning a title at Rice (N.Y.) High School as a junior (when Anthony Glover got all of the credit), Satterfield led his team to another title the next year without Glover. Satterfield has great ability, both as a shooter and a slasher.
The Bearcats are looking for additional shooting and someone to push the ball up the court, so that Cincinnati can get some easy baskets instead of having to grind it out in the halfcourt. While Steve Logan has improved vastly over the summer and played great for USA Basketball, don't be surprised to see Satterfield at the point.
7. Jason Kapono, UCLA
Kapono is a savvy competitor with a high basketball I.Q. In other words, he "knows how to play." In addition to being a fine shooter with a great frame, Kapono can handle and pass the ball, and he enhances the skills of those around him. Kapono is a leader who will step into that role immediately at UCLA. Last year, UCLA ran a more wide-open attack with Baron Davis at the helm. This season, Steve Lavin wants a new, more structured offense that will fit the skills of Kapono perfectly.
8. Casey Jacobsen, Stanford
Jacobsen is the perfect complement for Mark Madsen. Madsen sets great screens for shooters who curl around him along the baseline, a staple in the Stanford offense. Jacobsen has an understanding of how to work for the ball and really knows how to score. Jacobsen uses a lot of clever moves to create space and find openings to score, and he will fit in right away at Stanford.
9. Doug Wrenn, Connecticut
Wrenn is a marvelous athlete who attacks the basket with the sole purpose to dunk on your head. Husky insiders have called him the best pure athlete at UConn since Ray Allen, and Wrenn even took Allen in one-on-one. UConn is a team that likes to push the ball up the floor at every opportunity, and Wrenn will compliment the talent at UConn because he can attack the glass off the dribble, get to the free throw line and run the floor to be a factor on the break.
10. Travis Watson, Virginia
Pete Gillen desperately needed a player to rebound the ball and be the Cavs' toughman. He found that, and then some, in Travis Watson. Gillen's style is to attack full court with pressure defense and also to push the ball on offense. Watson provides Gillen with an absolute stud inside who can make power moves and finish, and can clean up defensive possessions by getting the ball off the glass. Watson is a big-time rebounder who will fit in at Virginia, like Donnell Harvey will at Florida.