GREEN BAY - Top-flight freshmen like Anthony Davis, Greg Oden and Carmelo Anthony have proved young players can certainly excel in college basketball. A new NCAA rule may allow more freshmen to make an impact, even ones not destined to be NBA first-round picks.
"The older guys are like, we feel for you, because we didn't have to go through this," said Green Bay freshman point guard Carrington Love.
What the freshmen are going through might benefit them in the long run. The NCAA now allows division 1 basketball teams two hours of practice during the week over the summer. Teams can split the practice up however they want – one two hour session, several shorter sessions, even break it up by position, as long as each individual player doesn't go over the two hour limit.
"Having them here this summer, being able to work them out, is a huge advantage for them," said Phoenix head coach Brian Wardle. "They get to feel that [intensity] all summer, so once we start workouts in the fall, which is normally what they walk into, they're going to be that much further ahead."
The three Phoenix scholarship freshmen are already feeling the benefits.
"By the time the season starts, I'll know, have a little chemistry with these guys, get acclimated to the system we run here," said Phoenix freshman forward/center Nick Arenz. "It'll definitely be a big help being able to be here in the summer."
The benefits could be seen not only in the Resch Center, but across college basketball. Wardle believes this season, freshmen who take advantage of their summers will be more equipped to contribute right away.
"If they take what they learn, apply it for a couple weeks when they come back, I think you'll see freshmen a little bit more prepared for the impact and the intensity of the college game," said Wardle.
With fast-paced, high-intensity workouts over the summer, the new Phoenix players are already envisioning the end of practice, and beginning of their college careers.
"Just looking forward to the games now," said Phoenix freshman guard/forward Jordan Fouse. "Just want to walk out there, get our jerseys, just see what the first game's like."
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