Highly touted freshmen are rarely as appreciated once they start playing college ball as they are before their careers commence.
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The change in perception may be because the praise of recruiting experts is not matched by a player's range of skills and talents. Most players, even wunderkinds, have holes in their games - say, Austin Rivers' inability to blend comfortably with teammates, or Jabari Parker's on-again, off-again defense.
Inability to adjust to coaching, personal problems, or injuries may also shortcircuit potential.
The fixation on freshmen seems intensified this season in the ACC because, for the third time in four years, a college newcomer has been voted preseason All-American and chosen by at least one media outlet as the prospective national player of the year.
That freshman, 6-11 Blue Devil Jahlil Okafer, is one of seven McDonald's All-Americans joining Duke and North Carolina this season. While all seem formidable at first glance, history shows a mere handful will remain at the league's forefront in their (likely brief) careers.
This truth is reflected in part by All-ACC voting. Despite being eligible for varsity competition for 42 seasons prior to this one, only eight freshmen have made first team All-ACC and 11 the second team.
That's 3.8 percent of all first team selections since 1973, 4.5 percent of the top 10 annual all-conference picks. Just three freshmen have made first team in this century, when one-and-done is prevalent.
Freshman Chosen First Or Second Team All-ACC
(Since Eligible for Varsity in 1973, Third Team Excluded for Comparative Purposes)
|Name, School||Year Chosen||First, Second Team|
|Brad Davis, Maryland*||1975||Second|
|Gene Banks, Duke*||1978||Second|
|Johnny Dawkins, Duke*||1983||Second|
|Mark Price, Georgia Tech*||1983||Second|
|J.R. Reid, North Carolina||1987||Second|
|Kenny Anderson, Georgia Tech||1990||First|
|Rodney Rogers, Wake Forest||1991||Second|
|Joe Smith, Maryland||1994||First|
|Stephon Marbury, Georgia Tech$||1996||First|
|Antawn Jamison, North Carolina||1996||First|
|Joseph Forte, North Carolina||2000||Second|
|Chris Bosh, Georgia Tech$||2003||Second|
|Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina*||2006||First|
|Brandan Wright, North Carolina$||2007||Second|
|Harrison Barnes, North Carolina||2011||Second|
|Austin Rivers, Duke$||2012||First|
|Jabari Parker, Duke$||2014||First|
|Tyler Ennis, Syracuse$||2014||Second|
|* Stayed four years.
$ Left for pros after freshman year.