There are 11 days left until the 2022-23 college basketball season tips off. And yes, we have written about freshman to keep an eye on this season. Now it is time to break it down even further.
In today’s world of college basketball, freshman aren’t necessarily the talk of the town. That is, unless they are a 5-star recruit headed to a big Power 6 school. And for mid-major programs, especially in the WAC, the ‘win now’ mentality tends to lead to coaching staffs finding experienced players out of the transfer portal.
So, it makes the Freshman of the Year award a little more interesting. And listening to coaches through our podcast episodes and at WAC Media Day, there are some freshman that may play significant minutes in 2022-23.
So, in order, here are the five candidates for WAC Freshman of the Year on the men’s side of WAC Hoops.
1 – Anthony Wrzeszcz – Sam Houston
Talking with Bearkats head coach Jason Hooten two months ago made this an easy decision. The transition for the 6-3 freshman from Poland has been quite easy according to Hooten. And for good reason. Wrzeszcz has played on the International level. At the FIBA U18 European Championship, Wrzeszcz was lights out. There were some highlight-reel dunks that showed off his athleticism and knack for attacking the rim.
But it is the high basketball I.Q. that Hooten really likes. And according to associated head coach Chris Mudge, Wrzeszcz has the opportunity to be really good. That is saying a lot considering how deep the guard line is for Sam Houston in 2022-23.
— Nikolaus Zefi (@NikZefi_) August 7, 2022
2 – Adante’ Holiman – UTRGV
Per Matt Figger, the 6-0, 4-star recruit out of McAlester, Oklahoma has competed at practice. Alongside teammate Will Johnston, Holiman is set to see significant minutes at the point guard position in 2022-23. Holiman is among the top-50 scorers to come out of the state of Oklahoma. At McAlester High School, Holiman had 2,392 points, 46th all-time on Oklahoma boys basketball history.
Quickness, high basketball I.Q. and a knack for knocking down big shots. The McAlester News-Capital All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year is primed for a big freshman season.
Year 4 pic.twitter.com/WC6FixoZLc
— Adante’ Holiman (@TeHoliman) December 2, 2021
3 – Derrick Michael Xzavierro – Grand Canyon
The question is: how much time will Derrick Michael Xzavierro see on the floor this season? You have to ask that because of who is in front of him or competing for time in the same position. Gabe McGlothan and Logan Landers plus Yvan Ouedraogo and Aidan Igiehon.
So, will the 6-10, 220-pound forward from Indonesia see the floor enough? With his length and physicality, Xzavierro will see enough time on a deep Lopes roster. Xzavierro has experience playing for the NBA Global Academy. And as you can see from the tweet below, also has experience in the International game.
Will it equate to success in Phoenix? It remains to be seen but there is a lot of upside. And a lot of experienced veterans to learn from at GCU.
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Look back at Derrick Michael Xzavierro's big night for Indonesia against Jordan back in the #FIBAAsiaCup! ??
— FIBA Asia Cup (@FIBAAsiaCup) September 27, 2022
4 – Chendall Weaver – UT Arlington
6-3, long, athletic guard who can score and rebound. At Mansfield Timberview, Weaver averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per contest. And not only can Weaver score and rebound, he wins. Timberview was 36-5 during Weaver’s senior season and made a run to the 2022 UIL 5A State Championship Game. Teammate Brandon Walker could also be on this list. But we are going with Weaver because the WAC is a guard-heavy league so he will have the ball in his hands a lot.
— ZaysoTuff (@zaysotuff) March 11, 2022
5 – JV Seat – Abilene Christian
6-3, 230 pounds coming at you. Yes, JV Seat is a big boy for a guard and if he catches onto the defensive mindset at ACU, could be really good for a long time. The 2022 Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year has an interesting back story that perhaps we will tell at another time.
But, there is massive upside according to head coach Brette Tanner. And with a thin guard line after the departures of Coryon Mason and Mahki Morris, Seat may get a chance sooner rather than later.
Edmond Memorial's JV Seat (@JvSeat) was once homeless. Writing one simple note changed his life. Now, he's a Division-I basketball signee continuing to prove his doubters wrong. Here's his story. @EMHSBoysHoops #OKPreps https://t.co/Wnaklfi5Xg
— Cameron Jourdan (@Cam_Jourdan) January 14, 2022
Other names to watch for:
Brandon Walker, UT Arlington
Muo Muoneke, Abilene Christian
Deuce Benjamin, New Mexico State
Giovanni Emejrur, Sam Houston