The world of athletics can be likened to a grand cycle—one where, as old players retire, new generations emerge to occupy the open void. Whether still in college or emerging as standout professionals, upstart athletes are the players that get sports’ fan base energized; eager to watch the latest young sensation.
And, as a part of the RSVLTS Yearbook13 event; we have gathered a list of all the latest—as Dick Vitale phrases it—“Diaper Dandies” that look ready to electrify the sports world in 2014.
10. Kiko Alonso
The 46th overall pick in an NFL Draft that was largely considered to be underwhelming—especially when compared to recent years—Kiko Alonso entered the NFL with mixed expectations.
Labelled as a “reach” by ESPN Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr, the foresight-lacking pundit has since undergone a drastic paradigm shift—one that came about as a result of Alonso’ stellar play. Currently, he is seen as a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate and a definite draft steal for the Buffalo Bills.
9. Tomas Hertl
Originating from the Czech Republic and drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Hertl entered the league in a grandiose fashion—scoring 4 goals in one of his first NHL games.
At the age of nineteen going into the 2013-14 NHL Season, look for Hertl to take the mantle as one of the next sensations of hockey.
8. Mike Glennon
Recently, an article was published on RSVLTS writing off Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano as a shoe-in to receive a pink slip after the conclusion of the 2013 NFL Season. But, given the performance of Mike Glennon—and Tampa Bay’s shocking late season win streak—the aforementioned words are looking increasingly more edible with the passing of each week.
In 8 games played this season Glennon has a 62.5% completion, 1,782 yards, and 13 TD’s—all of which are against a mere four interceptions.
The probable starter going into the 2014 NFL Offseason, look for Glennon to make the NFC South a very interesting division, with the Panthers and the Saints both having memorable seasons. And, if the Falcons can right the ship, then the NFC South may feature four playoff-worthy teams in 2014.
7. Pac 12 Quarterbacks
There has been much talk made of quarterbacks like Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and Tajh Boyd. However, the Pac 12 is home to three outstanding quarterbacks who look poised to be selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Brett Hundley from UCLA, Marcus Mariota from Univeristy of Oregon, and Kevin Hogan from Stanford, are all underreported athletes who have the potential to change the fortunes of three teams who desperately seek a franchise quarterback.
6. Xander Bogaerts
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe recently wrote that Xander Bogaerts—the young infielder for the Red Sox—is a “big part” of the 2013 World Series champion’s plan. And rightly so, Bogaerts pervades every major baseball analyst’s report as one of the top 5 hardball prospects. In addition, Bogaerts was pivotal in the World Series—scoring the go ahead run in Game 5.
5. Marcus Smart
There is a certain trio of freshman in college basketball that will appear later on this RSVLTS list. However, Marcus Smart—the sophomore at Oklahoma State University—has been turning heads throughout the basketball world. Fellow basketballer from the state of Oklahoma, Kevin Durant said about Smart, “Marcus can play in the league right now, definitely.”
4. Oscar Taveras
Recently added to the St. Louis Cardinals’ 40-man roster, Oscar Taveras has been reputed as one of the most up and coming baseball prospects. Such hype is justified when addressing Taveras’ last season in the Minor Leagues—one that saw him hitting for a batting average of .306 and achieving an OPS of .803.
3. Julius Randle
The next three players are classified in the “no particular order” category. This is due to the fact that they all have equal potential to be the number one overall pick in the next NBA Draft.
However, in Highlander fashion, there can only be one number one. Hence, the first freshman phenom on this RSVLTS list is Julius Randle. Jay Bilas tweeted on November 13th that Randle was the most physically dominant of the freshman trio. And, at 6’9, it is reasonable to see why Bilas made such analysis.
2. Andrew Wiggins
A University of Kansas Jayhawk, Andrew Wiggins—a small forward—is another player who NBA Draft Analysts say could easily be the number one overall pick in the next selection. With a three point percentage at .400 and an average of 6 rebounds a game, look for Wiggins to make an impression on an NBA team in 2014. Alternatively, he could further the fortunes of one of NCAA basketball’s most storied teams.
1. Jabari Parker
Coming from one of basketball’s most hallowed high schools, Parker has already made a name for himself at Duke University. Parker’s numbers are—to put it bluntly—otherworldly, with a three-point percentage above .500 and a field goal percentage of .580.
If Parker isn’t the number one pick in the NBA Draft—pending his decision to go pro—then he will certainly be the number two selection.