College basketball is a young man's game. You have to pay close attention to the freshmen because you often have only a few months to know them. David Stern has a longer relationship with these kids than their college fan bases, but that's the way of the world in high-major college hoops.
This season's group of instant-impact freshmen has a mix of star power and blue collar. Shabazz Muhammad is the new prince of L.A., but to make his mark at UCLA, he's going to need to be cleared by the NCAA to get on the court. (Teammate Kyle Anderson, also on this list, was cleared Wednesday.)
Although Muhammad's status is uncertain, his talent dictates we profile him along with these nine other freshmen destined to make their presence felt this season.
(Note: While only freshmen from the "big six" power conferences made the top 10 here, colleague Paul Biancardi ranked his top 10 frosh outside the BCS leagues.)
2012 ESPN 100 Rank: No. 10
To best describe "Smartacus" -- the nickname Smart earned in high school -- we'll borrow a golf analogy: This kid would never concede anyone a "gimme" putt. One of the fiercest and most competitive players to enter college basketball in quite some time, Smart is singularly focused on winning. He truly believes the only measure of success comes in the win column. Oklahoma State doesn't have a point guard; it has Smart, and that's better.