freshmen
6-11 Isaiah Carr will get some quality minutes as a true freshman for GCU. Courtesy David Kadlubowski/GCU Athletics.

Freshmen to Keep an Eye on Around the WAC in 2022-23

With the way the transfer portal is set up, it seems like freshmen are not having as big of an impact in college basketball. Let’s clarify. At the mid-major level. Sure, the Kentucky’s or Duke’s and so forth get those top-tier freshmen recruits who are one-and-done basically.

But, when it comes to the Western Athletic Conference, that isn’t the case. Yes, the WAC had Taran Armstrong in 2021-22. And rightfully so, Armstrong won WAC Freshman of the Year. A couple of years back, Utah Valley forward Wyatt Lowell won Freshman of the Year honors. And in that year, Lowell averaged around six points per game.

Outside of Armstrong, there hasn’t been a freshman who has really burst onto the WAC scene over the past six or seven years.

But, there are some freshmen that have that potential if given the right opportunity.

Anthony Wrzeszcz – Sam Houston

6-3, 185 pounds, Wasatch Academy

The Poland native who played his high school ball at Wasatch Academy had himself a Summer at the FIBA U-18 European Championships. In the title game, Wrzezcz scored 13 points to help Poland rout the Czech Republic, 76-39. Wrzeszcz is part of a deep group of guards for the Bearkats. It will be interesting to see how long it takes him to get caught up as he was the last to arrive on campus.

Giovanni Emejuru – Sam Houston

6-10, 270 pounds, Charnwood College

Emejuru gives Sam Houston even more size. Plus Emejuru also has experience on the International circuit having played for Italy at the FIBA U20 European Challenger in July. Emejuru, along with K-State transfer Kaosi Ezeagu, the Bearkats have rim protectors and big bodies in the paint. Something Jason Hooten didn’t have the luxury of in 2021-22.

Isaiah Barganier – UTRGV

6-7, 220 pounds, Fulshear High

Length, explosiveness, ability to shoot from the perimeter. Isaiah Barganier is part of a freshman group at UTRGV that Matt Figger loves. The Fulshear High alum is the second player to reach the 1,000-point mark in program history. Barganier averaged 16.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks as junior. The Fulshear, Texas native was ranked 25th among Texas Top-100 and 72nd on the RIVALS Texas Top-100.

Adante’ Holiman – UTRGV

6-0, 160 pounds, McAlester High

The McAlester, Oklahoma native might be the highest recruit at UTRGV. Holiman was a 4-star recruit by ESPN and the McAlester all-time leading scorer with over 2300 points. Quickness, explosiveness, and just a scorer. Holiman should fit in right away to Matt Figger’s system.

JV Seat – ACU

6-3, 240 pounds, Edmond Memorial High

The 2022 Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year averaged 19.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in leading Edmond Memorial to the 6A quarterfinals. Seat was homeless for two years before being adopted by the Seat family and has volunteered locally as the lead counselor for 43 boys at Positive Tomorrows. He was ranked no. 6 in Oklahoma’s Class of 2022 by PrepHoops and was the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference MVP as well as the conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Muodubem Muoneke – ACU

6-5, 218 pounds, Cypress Ranch High

The all-time leader in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots at Cypress Ranch High School should have an immediate impact on the ACU Wildcats. Length, athleticism and at 6-5, a bigger guard that Brette Tanner loves. And Muoneke has to step into some big shoes left by Coryon Mason and Mahki Morris.

Derrick Michael Xzavierro – GCU

6-9, 215 pounds, NBA Global Academy

The small forward from Jakarta will become Indonesia’s first Division I basketball scholarship player in 2022-23. Xzavierro has been playing for the NBA Global Academy since he was 16 and was part of the Indonesia Senior National Team at a FIBA Asia Cup qualifier in 2020. The 6-9 small forward has a wingspan of 7 feet, 1 1/2 inches and will be the longest on the team. the biggest question is how long it will take Xzavierro to get acclimated to the GCU system? Xzavierro just go to the states on August 15.

Isaiah Carr – GCU

6-11, 210 pounds, Las Cruces High School

A kid from Las Cruces heading to GCU? Yeah, that will create some waves. But, reports are that Carr never received an offer from New Mexico State so the 6-11 center took his size and talent to the desert. Bryce Drew said that he will play quite a bit as they don’t plan on redshirting Carr.

Chendall Weaver – UT-Arlington

6-3, 170 pounds, Mansfield Timberview

There are a lot of new faces at UT-Arlington in 2022-23. And Weaver might get caught behind some highly-touted JUCO transfers. But, with his length and athleticism, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 6-3 guard that averaged a double-double of 17 points and 10.5 rebounds in the Texas 5A State Tournament get some big minutes as a true freshman. Weaver might be the most athletic out of these freshmen players.

Deuce Benjamin – New Mexico State

6-1, 160 pounds, Las Cruces High School

The hometown kid. Son of a former Aggie. And the Gatorade MaxPreps Player of the Year in the state of New Mexico. What’s not to love? 25.3 points, 6.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game for the Bulldogs who went 31-1 in 2021-22. With Benjamin on the roster, the Bulldogs went 102-6. And Benjamin was part of the NMAA 5A state title team in 2020. Head coach Greg Heiar likes to play a lot of guards. And Benjamin has a group of really good guards ahead of him. But, in the Bahamas, Benjamin showed he belongs. And now is one of the freshmen to keep an eye on.

Scotty Washington – California Baptist

6-4, 180 pounds, St. John Bosco High School

Washington redshirted for Rick Croy and the Lancers in 2021-22. So, compared to the others on this list of freshmen, Washington has a bit more experience. Washington had offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, TCU, Cal State Bakersfield and Colorado State. But, the Bellflower, CA native choice to stay close to home and commit to California Baptist. Washington has size to play on the guard line but has the explosiveness to finish at the rim, too. It will give Croy and good 1-2 punch at the point guard position along with Taran Armstrong.

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