/Freshman rankings: Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson is the Freshman of the Week after shining to start Big Ten play
Freshman rankings: Michigan's Hunter Dickinson is the Freshman of the Week after shining to start Big Ten play

Freshman rankings: Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson is the Freshman of the Week after shining to start Big Ten play

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.

Not many freshmen are capable of increasing their productivity during their first taste of action in the nation’s toughest league. But that’s what Michigan center Hunter Dickinson has done for the undefeated No. 10 Wolverines in Big Ten play. After averaging 14.8 points and 7.4 rebounds off the bench in five non-league games, Dickinson earned a spot in the starting lineup to begin conference action. He’s averaged 19.5 points, nine rebounds and 1.8 blocks in the four games since. That productivity reached an astounding level this past week, when Dickinson made 18 of 23 shots and averaged 22.5 points in two victories over Maryland and Northwestern to earn Freshman of the Week honors.

Dickinson is more than replacing the production the Wolverines got from graduated 7-footer Jon Teske last season and is a big reason why Michigan is the Big Ten’s last unbeaten team. The next step for Dickinson will be proving his chops against the likes of Minnesota’s Liam Robbins, Iowa’s Luka Garza, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis and Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, just to name a few of the league’s elite bigs. But as he showed this past week, he is probably up to the challenge.

Frosh Watch

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

  1. Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

Key stats: 19.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 36.6 3P%

The story from Monday night’s Oklahoma State-West Virginia game was the Mountaineers’ comeback from a 19-point deficit to steal a road win in the Big 12. That’s a shame for Cade Cunningham, because he played arguably his best game yet, finishing with 25 points and nine rebounds on 10-of-16 shooting. The do-it-all 6-foot-8 prospect is averaging 20 points in his four Big 12 games to date. Last week: No. 1

2. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

Key stats: 13.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.4 APG, 44.4 3P%

Jalen Suggs has been hobbled by a couple of seemingly minor injuries, and the dominant Zags have not always needed him to serve as a primary scoring option. But there is no denying how special of a talent Suggs has proven to be early this season. He scored just five points and fouled out of a win over San Francisco on Saturday in what was his worst statistical performance yet. But even still, he managed to make the highlight shows with this candidate for pass of the year. Last week: No. 2

3. Hunter Dickinson, Michigan

Key stats: 16.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 71.8 FG%

Hunter Dickinson’s spectacular week included a memorable 26-point, 11-rebound effort against Maryland. Playing close to his home, the Hyattsville, Maryland, native and DeMatha Catholic product stared down the Terrapins’ bench after a few of his early buckets and was not shy about expressing his resentment for the apparent lack of attention he received from Maryland during his recruitment. Seeing Dickinson clash with Big Ten Player of the Week Liam Robbins from Minnesota on Wednesday night will be great. Last week: No. 4

4. Cameron Thomas, LSU

Key stats: 24.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 35.8 3P%

When Cam Thomas won Freshman of the Week last week, it was partially because the candidate pool was diluted after many teams did not play Christmas week. It also came with the caveat that Thomas had yet to play a major conference opponent. But if there was any doubt about the 6-4 scoring guard’s true credentials, he erased them this past week while busting onto the SEC scene with a vengeance and averaging 30 points in two league games. Iowa star Luka Garza is the only major conference player scoring more points per game than Thomas, who continues to outperform expectations. Last week: No. 8

5. Evan Mobley, USC

Key stats: 15.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.9 BPG

Similarly to Suggs, Evan Mobley did not have a spectacular statistical week but still managed to impact the game. Utah devoted its defense to double-teaming the talented 7-footer on Saturday, and it worked to the extent that Mobley did not attempt a shot from the field in 31 minutes. But ultimately, the Trojans won the game 64-46 thanks in large part to Mobley’s defense and the open looks that were created by the double-teams he attracted on the offensive side. Last week: No. 3

6. Jalen Wilson, Kansas

Key stats: 15.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 37.5 3P%

Jalen Wilson tried to will the Jayhawks back from an eight-point halftime deficit against Texas on Saturday. But Kansas’ redshirt freshman breakout star did not have enough help from the team’s other four starters. Wilson finished with 20 points — his third 20-point game of the the season — and continues to look like an all-conference performer for a team with title aspirations. Last week: No. 5

7. Moses Moody, Arkansas

Key stats: 16.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 42.0 3P%

Moses Moody has reached double figures in all 10 games and averaged 17 points in the Razorbacks’ first two SEC contests, despite shooting poorly in those two games. The 6-6 guard is also a solid rebounder and has shown the ability to reach the free-throw line, which has helped him to continue producing even during poor shooting games this season. Last week: No. 6

8. Josh Christopher, Arizona State

Key stats: 16.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.4 SPG

The Sun Devils are off to a disappointing start and have not played since Dec. 16. But ASU’s troubles are certainly not Josh Christopher’s fault. Though his 23.1% 3-point shooting percentage needs to improve during Pac-12 play, the 6-5 guard has been an incredibly efficient 2-point scorer and has shown the ability to impact the game defensively when he’s locked in. Last week: No. 9

9. Scottie Barnes, Florida State

Key stats: 11.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.7 SPG

Florida State is scuffling a bit with losses to UCF and Clemson in two of its last three games. But the Seminoles have the tools to make a run at another ACC title, and Scottie Barnes is a big reason why. The dynamic 6-9 guard is doing a little bit of everything and will only continue to improve under coach Leonard Hamilton’s tutelage. Last week: No. 10

10. Greg Brown, Texas

Key stats: 11.7 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.3 BPG

Greg Brown had a quiet game in Texas’ huge win at Kansas on Saturday, but the Longhorns did not need a monster effort from him. The 6-9 forward is fitting in nicely with a veteran team that is hitting its stride and looking like a national title contender. Last week: No. 7

Previous FOTW winners: