Hoops: Freshmen Make Early Impact

Pictured: Joe Rosga, C.J. Bobbitt, & Thomas Neff

In an earlier LetsGoDU article, we argued that at least two of this year's freshmen need to be all-conference by the end of their junior and/or senior years if DU is to win a conference championship. Either 6'6" freshman guard Jake Holtzman or 6'7" forward Abiola Akintola may be the all-star players the Pioneers need to secure a conference championship. Holtzman received 15 minutes playing time per game in Santa Clara while Akintola is recovering from a leg injury.

But what about the starting three freshmen Joe Rosga, C.J. Bobbitt, and Thomas Neff?

All three were two-star recruits with solid high school careers. Let's start by looking at their combined numbers from the first 3 games before we look at them individually. Collectively, they are playing 80 minutes per game, averaging 19.6 points, committing 5.6 turnovers, earning 3.0 steals, and 8.7 rebounds per game. These early numbers are impressive for collegiate freshmen moving from high school to Division I level competition, playing in a new system, and working with new teammates. They are stat-stuffers - they can make things happen on the floor. That being said, it was clearly the upperclassmen that led the way in California with Nate Engesser catching fire from the 3-point line, Marcus Byrd playing well all-around, and Bryant Rucker the most improved player on the floor for the Pioneers. Finally, the bench, including freshman Jake Holtzman, chipped in 29.6 points per game.

Joe Rosga - 6'3" Guard
Smart, versatile, good blood lines, AAU hardened
First 3 games: 31.6 min per game, 9.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.6 steals per game, 2.3 turnovers per game

In the early going, Joe Rosga looks to be the most game-ready freshman on the squad. As a 6'3" guard he brings the versatility DU seeks for their team. His accomplishments include: Member of the National Honor Society... Led his Minnesota HS, Cretin-Derham Hall, to a 25-4 record as a senior... Averaged 19 points, 4.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds, hit 50.8% of his shots as a senior... 2015 Minnesota AP Boys Basketball Second Team ... Named Team MVP... 2015 All Tournament Team... Named All Conference three times.  Rosga had committed to Army but it was discovered he had an undisclosed medical issue that prevented him from being accepted into West Point. Rosga’s father, Jeff, was a Minnesota Mr. Basketball finalist in 1989 while playing at Cretin-Derham. Played AAU ball with the Howard Pulley Panthers.

C.J. Bobbitt - 6'7" Forward
Athletic, Stat-Stuffer, track record of success, 'producer', played for dad - can play for Joe!
First 3 games: 20.7 min per game, 5.6 ppg, 4 rpg, 0.3 steals per game, 2.6 turnovers per game

Good size at 6'7" and 210 lbs....Looks to have great tools with a big upside. Led Harker Heights H.S. to a District 8-6A First Team selection district championship as a senior... Played for his father at Harker Heights, and led his team in scoring, rebounds and assists, in addition to being second in steals. Averaged 17.9 points and 8.4 rebounds a game as a senior... Named All-Area Co-Most Valuable Player and also named to the Region II-6A Team as a junior... Also won a district championship as a junior. Cam Delaney and Royce O'Neal also went to Harker Heights H.S.- so this school produces D1 caliber players. Grew up up in Kileen, Texas - a hard working community located near Ft. Hood.

Thomas Neff - 6'5" Shooting Guard
Shooter, versatile, high level competition in H.S. & AAU, Basketball family
First 3 games: 26.3 min per game, 4.3 ppg, 2 rpg, 1.0 steals per game, 0.6 turnovers per game

Led Arvada West H.S. to a 19-6 record as a senior... Averaged 21.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a senior... Averaged 19.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists as a junior to advanced to the second round of the Colorado Class 5A state tournament. Named Jeffco Player of the Year as a senior... 2015 First Team All-State as a senior... named First Team All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State as a junior...Named First Team All-Conference as a sophomore and Honorable Mention as a freshman. Had an offer from Air Force. Played for the AAU Miners. His brother Luke has signed a letter of intent to play at DU next year. Their father, Tim Neff, a former Mullen star played college basketball at Princeton under Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril - Thus, the Joe Scott connection.

Thomas Neff Highlight Video

It will be interesting to see how they develop over time.


Dunker said...

Great recap and view of the future. There is hope, maybe sooner then we imagined. Don't get down if the 3 frosh mentioned can't do it every night. Defenses will adjust since they are now on opponents scouting reports.

Anonymous said...

That's exactly what I fear, dunker. Engesser will soon draw the top opponent;s top defensive specialist, and teams with bigs are going to pound us down low, which we don't have the personnel to really counter.

On the plus side, scrappy freshmen are learning more each time out and experience will start to enter the dexision-making process, which should reduce the typical welcome-to-college- ball growing pains of turnovers, bad spacing and blown coverages.

Having 11 players in the lineup each night will also keep guys fresh i=over the long grind and help to wear down other teams, especially at altitude.

Anonymous said...

What is Amigo's injury? He was hurt last season too. He fouled out of the Milwaukee game in like 12 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Amigo had his ankle on ice in the first postgame selfie photo.

timt89 said...

His ankle had huge swelling so he was going to a doctor yesterday. Not sure what they found but he can probably miss Utah Valley and rest.

It will be interesting to see how DU responds when the 3-point shots don't drop or teams play the three point shot.