Resetting the Year of the Freshman

Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

12.3 PPG | 5.4 APG

Peaks: He obliterated California with a career-high 28 points in the Maui Invitational. He's made it a habit of torching former Big East foes, dropping 21 points and six assists on St. John's and 20 points on Villanova. Mainly, it's his steadiness that has helped the Orange stay unbeaten: Ennis has had zero or one turnover in nine games.

Valleys: Ennis' shot was suspect, especially early in the season, when he was shooting just 25 percent from the field through his first five games. He had a four-turnover game against North Carolina, but it is the only time he's had more than two all season.

Key stat: Take away his first five games and Ennis is shooting 48 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from 3-point range.

Preseason quotable: "I've started four freshmen point guards since I've been the head coach at Syracuse. I'm as comfortable with this point guard as any of the point guards I've started. I've had some pretty good ones." -- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on Oct. 16.

In-season quotable: Tyler Ennis is that good. I told our players this is when he starts to attack. Six, seven minutes left in the game. He did it up (at the Carrier Dome) when we played them. He did it against Pittsburgh. He did at Boston College. He's just an outstanding freshman; he doesn't appear to be a freshman. In fact, he's so calm out there you don't really see that in a college player unless he's just so highly skilled and Tyler Ennis is." -- Miami coach Jim Larranaga on Saturday after Ennis powered a 15-2 run to beat Miami.

Joel Embiid, Kansas

11.4 PPG | 7.6 RPG

Peaks: He had his eye-opening performance Jan. 5 against San Diego State with 12 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Embiid recorded a school and Big 12 record eight blocked shots against Oklahoma State and nearly notched a triple-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Valleys: His first start also turned out to be one of his worst games. Embiid had just six points and six rebounds at Florida. Like Randle, Embiid has trouble taking care of the ball. Over his past eight games, he's committed 26 turnovers.

Key stat: Embiid averaged 8.2 points and 5.8 rebounds coming off the bench. In 10 games he's started, he's averaged 12.5 points and 8.2 rebounds.

Preseason quotable: "He's made a lot of progress in a short amount of time since he's been with us. If he continues to improve at this rate, he could be a guy that could not only really impact our league, but impact the landscape nationally a little bit. He's young and green and doesn't really know what he's doing, but there is obviously a skillset there that few 7 footers have." -- Kansas coach Bill Self on Oct. 22.

In-season quotable: "I think Embiid is the best player in the country ... Did you see him play (against Iowa State)? That's why. He's huge and he's got great length and he can shoot and he's got incredible footwork and he's been playing the game for about two years." -- Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg on Jan. 13 after Embiid had 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting, nine rebounds and five blocks in the Jayhawks win.

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