College basketball rankings: Duke freshmen look solid in debut, Blue Devils move up in Top 25 And 1

Duke’s incoming recruiting class ranked third nationally, according to 247Sports. So the Blue Devils are loaded again and widely considered to be a threat to win the national title. But, that said, it should be noted that this is the first time since 2012 that Mike Krzyzewski did not enroll a consensus top-10 prospect — although you would not have been able to tell while watching Duke’s season-opener.

Final score: Duke 81, Coppin State 71.

So, yeah, the game was closer than it should’ve been — but don’t blame Jalen Johnson. The 6-foot-9 freshman, who was ranked 13th in the Class of 2020, took eight shots, made all eight of them, and finished with 19 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in 35 minutes. His 15 defensive rebounds set a single-game record for Duke freshmen. His 19 points are the most ever for a Duke freshman while shooting 100% from the field. And he’s just the third Duke freshman to ever record a double-double in a debut.

“This has always been a dream of mine — so I finally got a chance to live out that dream today,” Johnson said after the win. ” Everything went how we wanted.”

DJ Steward was also great. 

The 6-2 freshman, who was ranked 26th in the Class of 2020, finished with 24 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench. It was the most points a Duke freshman has ever scored off the bench in a debut.

“I’m not really surprised by their performances because I’ve seen it since August,” said Duke sophomore Wendell Moore, who finished with 13 points and four rebounds. “DJ can really score the ball — and he really showed that tonight, being open and in the right spot at all times and ready to shoot the ball. He was aggressive in the lane. And Jalen — that’s just Jalen being himself. He’s grabbing the defensive board and going [and] making plays for himself, for others. Those two are a great addition to our team.”

Duke is No. 6 in Sunday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Blue Devils’ next game is Tuesday against Michigan State. Elsewhere in the Top 25 And 1, Virginia Tech jumped from unranked to No. 12 after Saturday’s 81-73 victory over Villanova. That pushed West Virginia, Virginia, Houston, Texas Tech, North Carolina, Ohio State, Texas, Oregon, Rutgers and Indiana down one spot each, no fault of their own.

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Top 25 And 1 rankings

Biggest Movers


Virginia Tech










Drew Timme finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds in Friday’s 90-67 victory over Auburn. Both of Gonzaga’s victories are double-digit wins over power-conference schools. 2-0



MaCio Teague finished with 21 points and seven
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Freshmen lead No. 16 UNC past College of Charleston 79-60

North Carolina forward Day'Ron Sharpe (11) shoots over College of Charleston center Osinachi Smart (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020.

North Carolina forward Day’Ron Sharpe (11) shoots over College of Charleston center Osinachi Smart (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020.


Freshman guard Caleb Love scored 17 points and No. 16 North Carolina ran off 17 straight second-half points to beat College of Charleston 79-60 in Wednesday night’s season opener for both teams played in a largely empty arena.

Fellow rookie Day’Ron Sharpe added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who shot just 39.4% but dominated the boards after halftime to finally pull away. They did it while playing at home with an unusual backdrop: with only a handful of family members and staffers scattered in a few sections of blue seats in the 21,750-seat Smith Center and pumped-in background crowd noise due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tar Heels are coming off a 14-19 season, marking the first losing record of Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams’ career. They’re hoping for a quick turnaround with a deep frontcourt and a roster boosted by the arrival of 247sports’ No. 2-ranked recruiting class.

Those freshmen played a key role, with Love, Sharpe and RJ Davis scoring the first 12 points of the 17-0 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 59-43 lead on Armando Bacot’s three-point play with about 10 minutes to go.

Brevin Galloway scored 15 points to lead College of Charleston, which overcame an 0-for-11 shooting start that left the Cougars down 14 in the first half. But they got within 39-32 by halftime, then took a 43-42 lead on Dontavius King’s corner 3-pointer at the 15-minute mark before UNC made its move.


College of Charleston: Earl Grant’s Cougars enter the season picked to finish sixth in the 10-team Colonial Athletic Association, where they won at least 11 games in each of the past four seasons. Aside from the early shooting trouble, they didn’t help themselves with 15 turnovers — some in the backcourt as UNC showed some extended-pressure looks — that the Tar Heels converted into 21 points.

UNC: The Tar Heels return senior Garrison Brooks inside as the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, but it was the youngsters who took a leading role on opening night. Love and Davis gave the Tar Heels two starting freshmen guards for the first time since the 2007 NCAA Elite Eight loss to Georgetown (with eventual NBA players Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington). Meanwhile, the 6-foot-10, 265-pound Sharpe was an immediate interior presence.


College of Charleston: The Cougars host Limestone on Saturday.

UNC: The Tar Heels face UNLV on Monday as they open play in the Maui Invitational, which was relocated from its traditional Hawaii location to Asheville in the North Carolina mountains due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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Newcomer Impact Rankings – Which women’s college basketball freshmen, transfers will influence 2020-21?

So much time has passed since games stopped in this strangest of years that even familiar faces will take time to remember when the 2020-21 women’s college basketball season begins.

But recalling how things looked when the sports world paused last spring is only part of the challenge. College basketball never stands still. The teams that never had a chance to play for a title in an NCAA tournament aren’t the teams that begin anew next month. Not exactly.

From incoming freshmen to transfers (both those who sat out the 2019-20 season and their peers who received more recent waivers), newcomers will help shape the season.

These rankings aren’t intended as an absolute measure of ability. It’s not who is most talented or who has the most pro potential. This is an attempt to guess how the new faces will impact 2020-21. On a lesser team, for instance, either of Oregon’s highly touted Sydney Parrish or Maddie Scherr might be a lock to play 30 minutes a game. In a backcourt as deep as Oregon’s, everyone will fight for minutes and influence in the short term.

Additional transfer waivers could also alter these rankings, with potential difference-makers such as Texas A&M’s Zaay Green still awaiting word on their status for this season.

But for now, here’s a look at the newcomers poised to make the most of basketball’s return.

1. Paige Bueckers, UConn: Sure, Geno Auriemma sarcastically calls the social media star “Paige Kardashian,” but more important is that he also noted how teammates love her because they get the ball if they’re open — and they get assists if they give it to her when she’s open.

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2. Destiny Slocum, Arkansas: After reaching the Sweet 16 with a Big Ten team (Maryland) and a Pac-12 team (Oregon State), she moves to the SEC for her final act. Coach Mike Neighbors’ up-tempo system should be a perfect fit for someone who is among active leaders in career assists and 3-pointers.

3. Evina Westbrook, UConn: There has been more talk out of Storrs about Bueckers’ arrival and Christyn Williams’ breakthrough potential, but adding someone who ranked sixth and third in the SEC in assists in her two seasons at Tennessee is no small help.

4. DiJonai Carrington, Baylor: Yes, there will be physical questions after an unfortunate run of injuries that began in high school continued a season ago at Stanford. But just about every major program wanted her as a transfer, which is its own answer about the veteran guard.

5. Destiny Pitts, Texas A&M: The NCAA granting Pitts’ transfer waiver is a potential season-changer for the SEC. As irreplaceable as Chennedy Carter might be, Pitts provides a scoring instinct and 3-point efficiency that should complement rather than overshadow Kayla Wells and N’Dea Jones.

Destiny Pitts, the Big Ten freshman of the year in
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Stressed freshmen missing quintessential college experience

It’s a major life milestone, the first time many U.S. teens have ever been on their own. Even in normal times, freshman year in college can be a jumbled mix of anticipation, uncertainty and emotional highs and lows.

Madison Zurmuehlen poses for a photo on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. Amid pandemic restrictions aimed at keeping students safe and healthy, colleges are scrambling to help them adjust. Zurmuehlen said daily practices, with masks, are “the one thing I look forward to,” so it was tough when campus sports were canceled for two weeks after an outbreak among student athletes and staff. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

© Provided by Associated Press
Madison Zurmuehlen poses for a photo on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. Amid pandemic restrictions aimed at keeping students safe and healthy, colleges are scrambling to help them adjust. Zurmuehlen said daily practices, with masks, are “the one thing I look forward to,” so it was tough when campus sports were canceled for two weeks after an outbreak among student athletes and staff. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

In these hardly normal times, when the quintessential college experience exists only in catalogs, freshmen are being challenged like never before.

Amid pandemic restrictions aimed at keeping students safe and healthy, colleges are scrambling to help them adjust. But many are struggling.

Social distancing requirements, mask mandates and daily temperature checks. Quarantine and isolation. Online learning glitches. Campus Black Lives Matter protests. Anxiety over whether to join partiers or hole up in dorm rooms or at home to stay safe.

This is freshman year 2020 for many college students nationwide.

“There is a lot of stress and distress among students now,” said Mary Ann Takemoto, interim vice president of student affairs at Cal State Long Beach near Los Angeles, where most classes are online.

Freshmen in particular “feel a little more fragile” than usual. “They feel overwhelmed by a lot of things going on as we approach this election. There’s this increasing national anxiety,’’ she said.

The Long Beach university offers an array of online resources on reducing stress, improving study habits, and where to go for counseling and other help. Takemoto said less than three months into the fall semester, almost 200 students — about 25% of them freshmen — have been referred to a campus counseling and crisis center. Five in one week went to psychiatric hospitals, a number more typical of an entire semester. While Takemoto didn’t have specifics on those students, she said some were likely freshmen.

“Sixty percent of our students are students of color. Many do not have technology hot spots, many do not have a good place at home for studying,” Takemoto said. The university has made efforts to loan laptops to needy students, but “we still know that it doesn’t always work.’’

Freshman Santiago Mayer, who moved with his family from Mexico to California two years ago, said he’s a naturally optimistic person trying to make the best of a “nightmarish’’ time.

He lives at home and said it’s often too distracting to focus on online classes so he spends his time on other pursuits. That includes a political campaign he helped create that encourages high school graduates to don their unworn prom clothes while voting in upcoming elections.

“At this point I’ve completely forgotten about having a normal freshman year,” Mayer said.

In this Sept. 30, 2020, photo provided by Victoria Ujunwa, Miracle Okoro poses on the University of North Carolina Asheville campus in Asheville, N.C. Some classes are being held in person at the university, but on many days the campus looks like a ghost town, said Okoro. “It’s not easy to be able to thrive in this environment where it’s your first year in college, your first experience in the real world and having to do it in such an isolating way,‘’ she said.  (Victoria Ujunwa via AP)


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What’s it like to start college in the middle of a pandemic? Here’s how freshmen at 5 Maryland schools are dealing.

For people making a major life transition in the middle of a pandemic, some incoming college freshmen have come to terms with the weirdness of their circumstances.

This is a snapshot of what it’s like for students at five Maryland schools who are logging on to “Zoom University” for the first time, on campus or from their childhood bedrooms.

Morgan State University

Iyana Gross made an unusual decision this spring — she chose an out-of-state university.

When the pandemic hit and students were left to make decisions about which university to attend without having visited many of them, they often flocked to schools closer to home or universities that were less expensive.

But Gross, who is from Chicago, decided on Morgan State University, which she described as being the perfect mix of everything she was looking for.

“I’m from Chicago, and so I enjoy being in a big city,” she said. “But I also wanted to be at a school that had a gender studies program, and they have a gender studies program.”

“In the future, I’d like to go to medical school, or at least be in the medical field,” Gross added. “I chose Morgan because the program I’m in, medical technology, all of their graduates, within six months of graduating, have a job in their field. And for me, that is great.”

Even though she’s attending virtual classes from several hundred miles away, Gross said she feels like the university has made a good effort to reach out and organize virtual events for students.

Morgan State University also has a peer mentorship program, where older STEM students are partnered with incoming freshmen for their first two semesters.

“I love talking to my mentor. She checks in on me every week and she always sends me a ‘Happy Monday, hope things are going well,” Gross said. “She’s just been very supportive.”

While Morgan State allowed a limited number of students to return to campus, Gross, who’s immunocompromised, felt it was safer for her to stay at home this semester.

“I wasn’t necessarily willing to risk it,” Gross said, noting that while she might be doing everything she can to keep herself safe, she can’t control who she might be exposed to.

She’s also not sure if she’ll come to campus in the spring, even if it does reopen.

“It’s just not something I’m willing to take a chance on,” Gross said. “But catch me there in August 2021.”

University of Maryland, Baltimore County:

When the pandemic hit in March, Chinenye Armstrong Christopher had to make difficult decisions about what college he wanted to attend.

“’Cause of COVID 1/8 19 3/8, I didn’t want to leave the state,” he said.

Christopher, who’s from Pikesville, had been accepted by University of Maryland, Baltimore County, University of Maryland, College Park, Towson University, Penn State University and Howard University, but ruled out the last two for their distance.

But Christopher is more than happy with his decision to attend UMBC.

“I didn’t

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Newcomer Impact Rankings – Which college basketball freshmen, transfers will lead teams in 2020-21?

Up until now, most preseason player rankings have been separated into categories. Best graduate transfers, best sit-out transfers, best freshmen, even best junior college transfers. But with roster turnover at an all-time high and transfer waivers being granted left and right this fall, it’s time to put all of these players on a level playing field.

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There are a couple of things to note. One, this is a ranking based purely on the impact during the 2020-21 college basketball season. Not recruiting ranking, not pro potential — impact during the upcoming season. For example, North Carolina freshman Caleb Love was ranked behind teammates Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler in the ESPN 100 for 2020, but Love is expected to be the Tar Heels’ starting point guard this season, while Sharpe and Kessler are going to start off as reserves behind established starters Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks.

Two, there are still several players waiting for official word on waivers and they aren’t included in the rankings. The biggest of those names is Kentucky’s Olivier Sarr, but other players who would likely find a spot in the rankings are Texas Tech’s Mac McClung, Oregon’s LJ Figueroa, Michigan’s Chaundee Brown, DePaul’s Javon Freeman-Liberty, Memphis’ DeAndre Williams, Maryland’s Jairus Hamilton, Minnesota’s Both Gach, Oklahoma’s Umoja Gibson and South Alabama’s Michael Flowers. We’ll just have to wait and see on the status of those players, and until that time, let’s get into the rankings.

1. Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State (freshman): We likely won’t get to see Cunningham in the NCAA tournament because of the Cowboys’ postseason ban, but he was the best high school player in the country last season and is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA draft.

2. Sam Hauser, Virginia (transfer): There’s an argument for Hauser to be the preseason Player of the Year in the ACC, after averaging 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds for Marquette two seasons ago.

3. Evan Mobley, USC (freshman): A game-changer at both ends of the floor, Mobley is a shoo-in to be selected in the top five of the next NBA draft. He’ll team up with his brother, Isaiah, for the Trojans.

4. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga (freshman): A two-sport star at the high school level, Suggs will get the keys to the offense of a national championship contender from day one.

5. B.J. Boston, Kentucky (freshman): With all the personnel losses for the Wildcats from last season, John Calipari will need someone to emerge as the go-to-guy offensively; my money is on Boston.

6. Joshua Christopher, Arizona State (freshman): Christopher enters college with one of the most complete scoring packages in the 2020 class and is now part of maybe the most explosive perimeter group in the country.

7. Scottie Barnes, Florida State (freshman): Barnes is so versatile at both ends of the floor and will be the best player on a top-25 team in Tallahassee. Don’t be surprised to see the 6-foot-8 Barnes playing the point.

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