With so much focus on the transfer portal, incoming or redshirt freshman are sometimes overlooked. Over the past few seasons, the WAC really hasn’t had that standout freshman due to teams turning to the transfer portal to win now.
In 2023-24, that narrative may be changing. Two true freshman and a redshirt freshman are putting up some impressive numbers early on in their college basketball careers.
UT Arlington head coach KT Turner has a shooter in 6’2 guard Kade Douglas. Jon Judkins has one of the highest recruits to ever attend Utah Tech in Aric Demings. And Rob Jeter inherited talked redshirt freshman Braden Housley to be his floor general.
Let’s take a look at each one of these talented youngsters and what they have done to start the season.
Kade Douglas – UT Arlington
Quick release. Green light whenever he touches the ball. And a high-five for his head coach whenever he hits a 3-pointer in front of the UT Arlington bench. That is what you get with 6’2 freshman guard Kade Douglas. In his first action of the season, Douglas hit five 3-pointer. On Wednesday night, Douglas hit six 3-pointers and had a game-high 21 points.
Now, both of those performances were at home at College Park Center…against lesser competition. In two road games at New Mexico and at Arizona, Douglas was just 2-6 from 3-point land combined.
So, while Douglas is red hot at home from distance, it is a small sample size. The freshman from Lancaster, Texas has a lot of confidence as well as the confidence of his head coach. Now, it is just a matter of being consistent as the season goes along.
Currently, in four games, Douglas is averaging 11.0 points and has hit 14 3-pointers. If Douglas can be consistent moving forward, it just adds another scoring option for the Mavericks.
Aric Demings – Utah Tech
“What I like about Aric is he knows how to win.”
That is how Utah Tech head coach Jon Judkins described the 6’0 guard out of DeSoto, Texas. Demings led Duncanville to a 31-1 record in 2022-23 and a USA Today national title. In his first season in St. George, Demings has started all four games for the Tralblazers, averaging 32 minutes per game.
Along with that, Demings has been a catalyst as the floor general for the Trailblazers..
In an overtime win at Jacksoville State, Demings hit big shot after big shot, including the game-winner.
ARIC DEMINGS IS LIKE THAT‼️
WE LEAD WITH 1.3 TO GO pic.twitter.com/e9hwuTrRRj
— Utah Tech Men's Basketball (@UtahTechMBB) November 11, 2023
Through the first four games, Demings is averaging 12.0 points and shooting nearly 42 percent from 3-point range. The Trailblazers are at Washington State on Friday night so keep an eye on that ball game.
Braden Housley – Southern Utah
It has quietly been a solid start to the 2023-24 season for the 6’4 redshirt freshman out of Lehi, Utah. Housley has started all five games for Rob Jeter. And out of those five games, Housley has scored in double figures in four. Housley went for 22 points in the season opener at CSU Bakersfield. And on Tuesday against Louisiana Tech, Housley had 16 points.
House hits his third three ball of the afternoon !! 👌🏽👌🏽👌🏽 pic.twitter.com/rqzweKxzzE
— SUU Men's Basketball (@SUUBasketball) November 21, 2023
Housley is shooting 43 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point land. Along with the points, Housley is also averaging 4.4 rebounds. At 6’4, Housley has the size to be a matchup problem. Add in the scoring ability, and Rob Jeter has a good one in Cedar City. The T-Birds are off until Wednesday when they host California Baptist in the WAC opener.