By: Jared Karten (Correspondent)
The NBA season has started, and fans are getting more and more excited about the rookie stars that look to make an immediate impact on the league.
Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, RJ Barrett, Tyler Herro, make this year’s draft class extremely rare and potentially one of the best classes of all time.
Sophomore Ryan Baker says he has never seen so many players change teams in the offseason. “After a crazy offseason where you saw a bunch of free agents leave their teams and where you saw a bunch of talented rookies get drafted, I’m getting really excited to see what will happen this season,” said Baker.
Zion Williamson, one of the most unique athletes in recent history, looks to be emerging as an electric, two-way player. In his first three games, Williamson was able to put up 16 points in his debut, followed by 29, then 26, then 22 in his next three games; however, his debut is delayed 6-8 weeks as he recovers from a meniscus tear.
Senior Jake Ross says Williamson will be able to make his presence known with his strength inside the paint. “Zion is an absolute beast. If you saw his rip from Kevin Knox in the summer league it was easy to know how good this kid is going to be,”
“His ability to shoot 3’s and finish under the hoop consistently is really not seen since Lebron’s rookie year,” Ross added.
In addition to Williamson, his former Duke teammate RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks looks to be the next star in the Big Apple. Barret provides a young, yet talented team with a leader who is able to stretch the floor and play above the rim.
Senior Amit Levin says Barret is an extremely talented NBA-ready player. “I believe that RJ is the most pro ready player I’ve seen in a long time. RJ has the ability to make an impact the second he steps on the court and does not need as much time to develop. He’s an electric pla and I think the sky’s the limit for him,” Levin said.
Another potential star in the league is Tyler Herro. Coming out of high school, Herro was known for his knockdown shooting, and when he got to college, he proved he could do this at a higher level. In the NBA Pre-Season, Herro has proven to be a sharp-shooter, and some say he is the next face of the Miami Heat franchise.
Junior SHS basketball player Matthew Baskin says Herro is an extremely versatile player who can create his own shot whether it be behind the arc or driving to the rim. “He’s a deadly sharp-shooter with a lot of potential to be a special player. [Herro] is someone I strive to be like,” Baskin said.
The underdog of all the rookies is Ja Morant out of Murray State who experts say has attributes that could possibly enhance a young Memphis Grizzlies ball club. However, there are many doubts about his size and abilities at such a high level.
NBA Rookie Ja Morant says he thrives on the negative energy. “The ‘he hasn’t played against nobody. He’s too small. He can’t shoot.’ I love, like, negative energy motivates me. It really doesn’t bother me because my dad was my first hater. So if I can take it from him, I can take it from anybody,” said Morant.
Senior Aaron Karten says Morant is a special player that will make an impact in the league right away.“He reminds me of a young Allen Iverson. He has that explosive flare that you love to see out of young PGs,” Karten said.