Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Top 10 biggest impact freshmen from the 2023-24 season

Iowa v Illinois
Iowa v Illinois / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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8. Gavin Griffiths, Rutgers

Stats: 16.7 MPG, 5.1 PPG, 2.0 RPG

With a 25-point outburst in a win over Boston University in just his second career game, it looked like Gavin Griffiths could be in store for a special freshman season in Piscataway. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to build on that the way I'm sure he would have liked, although he's still found himself to be a capable piece of the bench for the Scarlet Knights in 2023-24.

Griffiths was consistently playing minutes in the high teens and low 20s throughout most of the non-conference slate before seeing his playing time cut in the early Big Ten schedule. Yet, Steve Pikiell has appeared more willing to go to the freshman as of late, as he played 25 minutes against Purdue and 22 against Maryland.

A 32% field goal percentage may not look great, but Griffiths is still adjusting to life in the Big Ten and you can see the offensive potential. In the Purdue loss, he also showcased the ability to impact the game beyond scoring, snatching six boards and dishing three assists.

7. Coen Carr, Michigan State

Stats: 13.1 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG

It can be very difficult to earn minutes as a true freshman playing for Tom Izzo, something freshman forward Coen Carr has undoubtedly learned over the course of the 2023-24 season. Even so, Carr has still found a way to make an impact, and his acrobatic slam dunks make him a highlight reel player to watch for years to come. Even though it wasn't in a game, his two-handed jam from the free throw line is still one of the most impressive things I've seen this winter.

The key for Carr will be growing his game beyond the highlight-reel jams and evolving into a more well-rounded contributor. He has shown excellent defensive potential, including his fair share of ferocious blocks, and he's a pest on-ball, leading to steals and easy run-outs for the Spartans. The offensive game is a work in progress but who better to learn from than not only Tom Izzo, but the veterans on this roster like Malik Hall and Tyson Walker?