Duke's Zion Williamson is the national Freshman of the Week and debuts at No. 1 in Frosh Watch rankings
The debut of the top 10 freshmen in college basketball isn't all about the Blue Devils, but Zion has to be No. 1
CBS Sports is once again teaming up with the United States Basketball Writers Association and its Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award. Every Tuesday we'll announce a Freshman of the Week winner in addition to our Frosh Watch, which is a ranking of the top 10 most statistically impressive freshmen in men's Division I college basketball.
Zion Williamson, Duke
If we'd been handing out Freshman of the Week honors since the start of the season, chances are good this would be Zion Williamson's third time getting the nod. But the Frosh Watch is patient. We wait until four weeks worth of play before assembling our list. (You can check out the 1-10 below.)
As for Freshman of the Week, Williamson edged out Michigan's Ignas Brazdeikis and Detroit's Antoine Davis. As a reminder, our weekly cycle for FOTW consideration runs from Tuesday through Monday. Duke's 2-0 run vs. Indiana and Stetson led Williamson to average 21.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 3.0 assists and a silly 75-percent field-goal percentage in just 47 minutes total between both games.
Williamson's efficiency, more than anything, clinched him earning Freshman of the Week for Nov. 27-Dec. 3. All told, it's remarkable that Williamson has managed to vastly exceed his hype. He was the most famous high school player in years, and through the first month of the season he's been far more dominant than even his most ardent supporters could have anticipated.
If you missed some of the Indiana game -- which was his best single-game aerial display yet -- here you go.
Now, the Frosh Watch. Here are the top 10 freshman performers in college basketball through the first month of the season.
1. ZION WILLIAMSON, Duke
Key stats: 20.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 44.1 PER
Williamson isn't even the leading scorer on his own team -- that honor goes to RJ Barrett -- but in terms of overall production and impact for Duke, Zion Williamson is leading the way. He's a physically dominant force who is the most efficient scorer among the team's starters, and he simply can't be stopped when he's going downhill at the rim. He's making an impact on defense, too, swatting a team-high 2.3 shots per game while also leading the team in steals at 2.0 per game.
2. RJ BARRETT, Duke
Key stats: 23.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.0 apg
Plain and simple, Barrett is a professional bucket-getter. He's leading Duke with 23.1 points per game and making 34.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. He's getting a lot of shots, too. According to KenPom.com, he takes 38.2 percent of the team's shots when he's on the court, which ranks ninth among all players across 353 Division I programs. So he's getting high volume and translating it into quality production.
3. LUGUENTZ DORT, Arizona State
Key stats: 21.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 49.1 eFG%
Physically gifted and already merging his potential with quality production, Dort is leading undefeated Arizona State in scoring and steals per game. Physically, he's been a load for virtually every team he's played. When he slashes to the rim he can do so gracefully or forcefully, dependent upon the situation, and he plays bigger than his 6-4 frame suggests. He's second in points per game in the Pac-12 behind only Wazzu senior Robert Franks.
4. IGNAS BRAZDEIKIS, Michigan
Key stats: 16.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 60.9 eFG%
In terms of total entertainment and competitive value among all freshman, I'd be hard-pressed to find any ahead of Brazdeikis on this list. He's been an unexpected revelation for Michigan, leading the Wolverines in scoring all while playing only 27.5 minutes per game. His ability score it at every level and his overall impact for a team that finished runner-up in the national championship race last season has been astounding.
5. ROMEO LANGFORD, Indiana
Key stats: 18.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.3 apg
Langford has been both awesome and important for Indiana, leading the Hoosiers in scoring and ranking second in steals and blocks per game. He leads all freshmen in the Big Ten in points per game and is fourth in the conference overall behind only Carsen Edwards, Lamar Stevens and James Palmer Jr.
6. ANTOINE DAVIS, Detroit
Key stats: 29.6 ppg, 3.5 apg, 57.1 eFG%
You're seeing a few unexpected names on our debut list, and Davis qualifies. He's got an interesting story: wound up at Detroit because his father, Mike Davis, got the job after leaving Texas Southern earlier this year. Davis is No. 2 in the country in scoring, trailing only Campbell's Chris Clemons, who's averaging 32.1 points.
7. BOL BOL, Oregon
Key stats: 21.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 34.5 PER
He's been a good player on offense at times this season but, as Rob Dauster at NBC Sports points out in this piece, Bol's defense is extremely problematic. We'll keep that in mind as we evaluate the Frosh Watch on a weekly basis this season. There are two ends to the floor, and even if Bol's getting his swats in, he's still a huge liability in other facets defensively. His impact overall, though, has been top 10-quality.
8. COBY WHITE, North Carolina
Key stats: 15.3 ppg, 3.6 apg, 41.9 3-pt%
The UNC staff was confident in the preseason that it would be White -- not fellow freshman and more touted NBA prospect Nassir Little -- who would step up and make big impact almost immediately. They were right. White has been a quality addition almost immediately, and it's been important since UNC needed to replace Joel Berry II.
9. KELDON JOHNSON, Kentucky
Key stats: 15.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 54.4 eFG%
The Wildcats haven't been as good as expected right away, but Johnson's done what NBA scouts were counting on. He's been Kentucky's most valuable and consistent freshman. Johnson briefly tapped into his dominant streak over the weekend when Kentucky erased a second half deficit at home vs. UNC Greensboro and went on to win by 17. Last season, UK didn't have a freshman step up and be dominant. Johnson can fill that void in 2018-19.
10. LAMINE DIANE, Cal State Northridge
Key stats: 25.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 2.3 spg, 40.9 usage%
You might be -- OK, almost certainly are -- saying, "Who?" Well, Mark Gottfried's now the coach at CSUN and he's apparently got a stat beast in Diane, who hails from Senegal and is a redshirt frosh. The Matadors are seemingly doomed to be a bad team this season, but if Diane winds up being a stat monster, he'll maintain his top-10 status on this list. Just ask Howard's R.J. Cole,.
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