/Frosh Watch: Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham No. 1 in final rankings; Johni Broome is Freshman of Week
Frosh Watch: Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham No. 1 in final rankings; Johni Broome is Freshman of Week

Frosh Watch: Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham No. 1 in final rankings; Johni Broome is Freshman of Week

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.

Freshman of the Week: Johni Broome, Morehead State

Morehead State pulled off one of the most incredible postseason runs of the year this week when it ran through the Ohio Valley Tournament to clinch the league’s automatic bid by beating the seventh, third and first-seeded teams from the league. The sweep of their conference foes was aided in large part by stellar showings from freshman Johni Broome, who was named tournament MVP. Broome posted double-doubles in each tournament game and saved his best effort for last, defeating No. 1 seed Belmont behind his career-high 27 points (while adding 12 boards, two blocks and two assists.)

The Eagles’ tourney run clinched the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in a decade, and thanks to the late-season rise of Broome, it may not be the only magic this team has up its sleeve in March.

Frosh Watch

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

Key stats: 19.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 42.5 3P%

Cunningham was named Big 12 Player of the Year and Big 12 Freshman of the Year this week to put a capper on his remarkable freshman season. He joins Michael Beasley, Kevin Durant and Marcus Smart as the only players to win both awards in the same season. The Cowboys have won six of their last seven games entering the postseason. Last week: No. 1

2. Hunter Dickinson, Michigan

Key stats: 14.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.4 BPG

Dickinson’s consistency as a freshman is a huge reason why the Wolverines are projected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament entering conference tournament week. The 7-1 center went toe-to-toe with the Big Ten’s deep well of quality big men all year to help Michigan win the league’s regular season title. The difference between the way the Wolverines play when Dickinson is in rhythm versus the way they play when he is struggling is massive. Depending on matchups, he could end up being the most dominant big man in the NCAA Tournament. Last week: No. 2

3. Evan Mobley, USC

Key stats: 16.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.9 BPG

The seven-footer didn’t turn in any statistically dominant performance over the final two weeks of the regular season, but he did finish with a solid 13 points and 11 rebounds in a big win over UCLA on Saturday to help the Trojans get back on track entering the postseason. Mobley had a nice offensive stretch during the game that showcased his ability to score at multiple levels. USC looks like a lock to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017, and Mobley’s scoring, rebounding and perhaps most importantly, his defense, are one of the primary reasons why. Last week: No. 3

4. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

Key stats: 14.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.5 APG, 33.3 3P%

The last time undefeated Gonzaga won a game by less than 11 points was Dec. 2, and perhaps the Bulldogs’ dominance has made it easy to overlook Suggs’ brilliance. But if you’ve forgotten the bouncy 6-4 guard, now is a great time to start remembering him. After keying the Zags during a historic season, he’s poised to become an NCAA Tournament star thanks to his otherworldly passing vision and execution. Suggs is also electric when attacking the basket and third nationally among all freshmen in steals per game. Last week: No. 4

Key stats: 17.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, 38.6 3P%

Moody put the finishing touches on his campaign for SEC Freshman of the Year — and potentially for SEC Player of the Year — with consecutive 28-point scoring outbursts in wins over South Carolina and Texas A&M. Those victories sent Arkansas into this week’s SEC Tournament with 11 straight league victories, and Moody’s play has been a driving force during the run. He’s leading the Razorbacks in scoring and is second rebounding while also proving to be a capable and versatile defender. Last week: No. 5

6. Cameron Thomas, LSU

Key stats: 23.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 30.5 3P%

Thomas closed the regular season by scoring 23 and 29 in wins over Vanderbilt and LSU to help the Tigers get some momentum heading into the SEC Tournament. The 6-4 guard enters the postseason leading all freshmen in scoring by a wide margin and is fourth nationally in points per game among all players. He is not the world’s most efficient volume 3-point shooter, but Thomas’ propensity for reaching the free-throw line has provided a steady source of scoring during a solid season for the Tigers. Last week: No. 6

7. Sharife Cooper, Auburn

Key stats: 20.2 PPG, 8.1 APG, 4.3 RPG

With Auburn on a self-imposed postseason ban, Cooper’s freshman season is over with just 12 games on his ledger. But in those 12 games, the 6-1 guard managed to become a likely first-round NBA Draft pick. If not for the NCAA’s requirement that players participate in at least 75% of their team’s games, Cooper would far and away be the national leader in assists per game in the official NCAA stats. His knack for penetrating and finding open teammates is uncanny, and his ability to reach the free-throw line made him nearly impossible to defend at times. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to see Cooper until January and that we won’t see him in March, because he’s a special player. Last week: No. 7

8. Jaden Springer, Tennessee

Key stats: 12.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 46.2 3P%

Springer played the fewest minutes (20) in nearly two months in Sunday’s regular season finale win over Florida. But he’s been one of Tennessee’s most steady and consistent forces on offense for much of the season, as the Vols have positioned themselves to make the tournament for the third time under coach Rick Barnes. He exits the regular season as the team leader in points, becoming the first Vols freshman to accomplish such a distinction since Ed Gray in 1993-1994. Last week: 8

9. Mike Miles, TCU

Key stats: 13.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 37.0 3P%

TCU dropped six of its final seven games, but behind Miles, Jamie Dixon and Co. have someone to build around for the future. He finished averaging nearly 14 points per game for the Horned Frogs in the regular season. Last week: 10

10. Jalen Wilson, Kansas

Key stats: 12.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 33.9 3P%

There were some peaks and valleys during Jalen Wilson’s redshirt freshman season, but his impact as a rebounder, defender and scorer for a resurgent Kansas team must be recognized. He finished with a double-double on nine separate occasions on the regular season and enmeshed himself perfectly into KU’s guard-heavy rotation because of his profound impact without the ball in his hands. Last week: 9

Previous FOTW winners: