/Frosh Watch: LSU’s Cameron Thomas leads freshmen in scoring and earns Freshman of the Week honors
Frosh Watch: LSU's Cameron Thomas leads freshmen in scoring and earns Freshman of the Week honors

Frosh Watch: LSU’s Cameron Thomas leads freshmen in scoring and earns Freshman of the Week honors

Welcome back to the Frosh Watch, our weekly ranking of the 10 most impressive freshmen in college basketball. CBS Sports has once again teamed up with the United States Basketball Writers Association and its Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award to present this every-Tuesday feature. Each week we’ll start by announcing the national Freshman of the Week honoree. The cycle for FOTW runs Tuesday-Monday.

Some detractors may look at what LSU freshman guard Cameron Thomas is doing and point out that the nation’s top-scoring freshman hasn’t played against a major-conference foe yet. While that may be a fair critique, it’s impossible to dismiss production this staggering solely as a byproduct of weak competition The No. 25 overall prospect in the 2020 class continued his torrent start by scoring 29 points in LSU’s 86-80 win over Nicholls State on Saturday to earn Freshman of the Week honors.

That effort merely extended Thomas’ already significant lead in the race for the freshman scoring title. With an average of 22.8 points per game, Thomas led Cade Cunningham (19.1 points per game) in scoring average entering the week. The next step for Thomas will, indeed, be translating his productivity to conference slate. But as he showed again this past week, Thomas has been deserving of his five-star billing thus far while serving as a driving force behind LSU’s 5-1 start.

Frosh Watch

These are the top 10 freshman performers in college basketball for this season.

1. Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

Key stats: 19.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.6 APG

Oklahoma State did not play last week, but Cade Cunningham maintains his grip on the top slot because of his body of work to this point. While a couple players on this list still haven’t proven their merit against conference competition yet, Cunningham is averaging 21 points in two games against Big 12 foes. The next step for the dynamic 6-foot-8 guard is translating his 3-point shot to league play after he connected on just 1-of-9 tries from beyond the arc in Oklahoma State’s first two conference games. Last week: No. 1

2. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

Key stats: 15.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, 55.6 FG%

Jalen Suggs’ explosive athleticism and ability to do so many things well for a veteran-laden Gonzaga team is incredibly impressive. He finished with just eight points in the Bulldogs’ win over Virginia on Saturday but led the team in plus/minus rating because he finished with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. That Suggs is so multi-faceted for the best team in the country speaks volumes to his case for being a top draft pick in 2021. Last week: No. 3

3. Evan Mobley, USC

Key stats: 17.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.0 BPG, 61.1 FG%

USC hasn’t played since Dec. 8, but it’s hard to drop Evan Mobley after what he showed in the Trojans’ first five games. The 7-footer is hitting 61.1% of his shots from the field and has even made 4-of-9 attempts from 3-point range. He’s also proven to be the strong rebounder and shot blocker he was expected to be. But it will take a strong showing in league play from Mobley if the Trojans are going to make the NCAA Tournament. Last week: No. 2

4. Hunter Dickinson, Michigan

Key stats: 15.3 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 69.4 FG%

Michigan’s 7-1 beast is proving his game translates to the Big Ten. Hunter Dickinson scored 13 points and pulled down 15 rebounds (and blocked two shots) in the Wolverines’ Christmas Day victory over Nebraska. He did it all while attempting just seven shots from the field. If there’s a knock on Dickinson, it’s that he hasn’t shown the ability to hit from 3-point range. But the Wolverines must be thrilled with what the No. 42 ranked player in the class is giving them. Last week: No. 5

5. Jalen Wilson, Kansas

Key stats: 14.6 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 49.5 FG%

It’s been a by-committee effort for Kansas this season after the departure of the dominant duo of Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike, and Jalen Wilson is the surprise of the group. The redshirt freshman forward continued his strong early-season showing by scoring 17 points in Kansas’ 79-65 win over West Virginia’s stingy defense last Tuesday. He is making an efficient 59.2% of his 2-point attempts while continuing to keep defenses honest with a seven-game streak of at least one made 3-pointer. Last week: No. 4

6. Moses Moody, Arkansas

Key stats: 16.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 41.7 3P%

On an Arkansas team littered with upperclassmen, Moses Moody has already assumed the role as the No. 1 scoring option just eight games into the season. His breakout continued this past week as he dropped 21 points, four boards and a pair of assists in pacing the Razorbacks past Abilene Christian. He’s doing it efficiently, too, making 51.2% of his shots from the field while averaging 41.7% from distance on high volume. Arkansas gets Auburn in its first road test of the season on Wednesday, so Moody’s mettle in a big spot will be put to the test in a big way. Last week: No. 6

7. Greg Brown, Texas

Key stats: 12.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.5 BPG,

Last we saw Greg Brown was well over a week ago, but his performance against Oklahoma State — a team he nearly committed to join because his AAU teammate, Cade Cunningham — is still fresh on the mind. He scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds in the win, notching three key blocks to boot. The Longhorns have length aplenty in their front line, but Brown’s already rounding the corner as their most talented two-way force. Last week: NO

8. Cam Thomas, LSU

Key stats: 22.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 34.8 3P%, 117.3 KenPom ORTG

We’ve given Cameron Thomas his due all season as a top-10 performer because he’s been just that, but this week was special. He dropped a career-high 29 points on Nicholls State when LSU needed it most. The Tigers escaped an embarrassment, winning 86-80, thanks to Thomas’ 10-of-21 shooting on the day. He made all seven of his free throw attempts, six of which came in the game’s final four minutes as LSU closed it out. Last week: No. 8

9. Josh Christopher, Arizona State

Key stats: 16.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.4 SPG

Arizona State is in the midst of a two-week-long hiatus, but the Frosh Watch is a ranking of a players’ body of work, not just their recent showings. And Josh Christopher’s done plenty to earn a slot inside our top 10. He’s tied with Remy Martin for the team lead in points per game (16.9) this season and leads the team in steals, with his long frame allowing him to be a nightly force on both ends of the floor for the Sun Devils. ASU’s next game is Thursday against Washington State. Last week: No. 10

10. Scottie Barnes, Florida State

Key stats: 10.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.2 APG

The last two outings for Scottie Barnes have been unspectacular — he scored six points against Gardner-Webb and eight points against UCF in a surprising loss — but he’s clinging to our top 10 nonetheless because of how valuable he’s been to the Seminoles this season as an initiator, scorer and defender. FSU is in action Tuesday night against Clemson. Last week: No. 9

Previous FOTW winners: