CBS Sports has once again teamed up with the United States Basketball Writers Association and its Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award. Every Tuesday throughout the regular season we post 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. The feature works hand in hand with the Tisdale committee and the USBWA. The winner of the award will be announced in March, and a ceremony for all USBWA honors will take place in early April. The cycle for Freshman of the Week consideration starts on Tuesdays and ends Monday nights.


Mohamed Bamba, Texas   

It's the second time this season Bamba has taken home the honor. Given how he's owning the boards and still arguably the best shot-blocker in college basketball, it's no surprise to see him take FOTW again. 

Texas has needed Bamba to play at a level above what he showed in the first two months. One of the reasons for that is the unfortunate news that Longhorn Andrew Jones is currently fighting leukemia (give us more of this, Andrew, and keep sending along some positive updates). With Jones out, Texas' offensive is only capable of so much. The defense, and rebounding, has become all the more critical.

So last week Bamba averaged 17.0 rebounds, 13.0 points and 4.0 blocks in Texas' games against Oklahoma and Baylor. Bamba's 18 rebounds against the Sooners (in 35 minutes) set a career-high. 

Bamba ranks fifth in defensive win shares according to College Basketball Reference (2.3) and third in block percentage (13.7). Most importantly, when you watch Bamba play as of late, you'll notice how active he is on both ends and how he's rim-running better now than what he showed in the first 10 games of the season. Texas doesn't win against Oklahoma if Bamba's not on the floor. No freshman in America has developed his overall game more in the past 10 weeks than this guy. 

Here are the top 10 freshman performers in college basketball through Feb. 20.                                       


1. Trae Young, Oklahoma

Key stats: 28.3 ppg, 9.2 apg, 3.9 rpg, 1.7 spg

Last week: No. 1

Monday night was the nadir for both Young and Oklahoma, as the Sooners lost by 30 points, falling 104-74. It was the most points OU has ever allowed in regulation in league play in the school's history. Young had a season-low 11 points. He had nine turnovers and five assists. When was the last time he scored so few points in a game? It very well might be middle school. 

Young's hold on the top spot in the Frosh Watch is loosening, but he's still the obvious choice. A reminder that this list, and Freshman of the Year, are a season-long view of statistical performance. Young is still leading the nation in points and assists (and yes, turnovers) as a freshman. It's fair to criticize him for his swoon, but it's ridiculous to discount what he did the first two months of the season. It's because of those first 20 games that Young is under such a microscope to begin with. 

Here's how rough it's been for Young in his past six games: 38-of-113 (33.6 percent) from the field and 11-of-56 (19.6 percent from 3). He's averaging 21.5 points, 8.2 assists, 5.2 turnovers and 3.2 rebounds. Young's been saved statistically by his ability to get to the foul line. He's made 42 of his 43 free throws in that six-game span. 

Next game: Saturday vs. Kansas State


2. Marvin Bagley III, Duke

Key stats: 21.2 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 1.7 apg, 63.8 2-pt FG%

Last week: No. 2

Bagley has now missed three consecutive games due to what Duke is calling a mild right knee sprain. The timing is poor from an individual standpoint for Bagley, who'd likely have a really strong case to be No. 1 in the the Frosh Watch had he been able to play to his averages the past three games. But by being in street clothes, he's clasping to No. 2 with Deandre Ayton still lurking over his shoulder. Bagley's time away has been good for Grayson Allen, but if he misses one more game it will officially be time to ask what's going on with that knee and question if he's going to be sat until the ACC Tournament. 

Next game: Wednesday vs. Louisville


3. Deandre Ayton, Arizona

Key stats: 19.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 63.3 2-pt FG%
Last week: No. 3

The Wildcats' big man would have had a great shot for his second FOTW award had Arizona played two games, but with Bamba getting two opportunities and putting up big numbers, Ayton missed out. He had a huge game against Arizona State, scoring 25 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, finding four assists and swatting three shots in 38 minutes. It's games like that which move people to believe Ayton's a more tempting choice than Bagley atop the 2018 NBA Draft. Ayton's per-40 numbers are very good, too. The 7-footer is putting up 24.2 points, 13.4 boards and 2.3 blocks. It's a terrific year for big men in college. 

Next game: Thursday at Oregon State.                


4. Brandon McCoy, UNLV

Key stats: 17.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg

Last week: No. 4

McCoy is at risk of dropping to fifth in the Frosh Watch, but he holds firm this week in the midst of his best defensive showings of the season. McCoy had nine blocks total against Air Force and San Diego State. Unfortunately for him, some improved defense came at the expense of offensive efficiency, as McCoy only averaged 9.5 points and was 5-of-22 total in those two games. Hard to imagine how someone so big could shoot so badly in the Mountain West against those teams. Still, overall, McCoy has done well for himself this season and has proven to be a top-five freshman of statistical impact. With him on the court, and if his defense gets better, UNLV is the dark horse to steal the auto bid in the MW. 

Next game: Wednesday vs. Fresno State


5. Mohamed Bamba, Texas

Key stats: 13.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 4.1 bpg, 60.0 2-pt FG%

Last week: No. 5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

The NCAA Tournament would be more fun if it had Bamba and his pterodactyl-like wingspan in it. So Texas' road win against Oklahoma was a necessary victory in getting the Longhorns closer to the NCAAs. Jerry Palm has the Horns in his group of the last four in at the moment. If UT can win its home games against Oklahoma State and West Virginia it will get to 18 wins and bolster is Quadrant 1 numbers. I do believe that will wind up being just enough to plop the Longhorns into the field.

Next game: Wednesday at Kansas State. 


6. Collin Sexton, Alabama

Key stats: 18.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.5 apg 

Last week: No. 7

Sexton is going to be a lottery pick, but he continues to be the type of college player that leaves you wanting more -- and I'm not saying that's always as great thing. From a confidence standpoint, from a physicality standpoint, Sexton's game leaves a heavy impression on anyone scouting him against point guards at the next level. He's got a great shot to be really good in the NBA because of his size, driving ability, athleticism and face-up defensive prowess. Yet if you watch his games against the best competition he's faced, he has a tendency to come up just a bit short. Or, rather, he never fully rises to the occasion. After playing well against LSU and Tremont Waters last Tuesday, Alabama had a big opportunity at Kentucky on Saturday. Sexton was just OK. Twelve points, three assists, two rebounds and a foul-out. Credit to John Calipari's coaching ability for keeping him in check. It still feels like Sexton's big moment is yet to come in college, I just wonder if we're ever going to see it.   

Next game: Wednesday at Auburn


7. Tremont Waters, LSU

Key stats: 14.7 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2.2 spg

Last week: No. 6

LSU is not going to be in the NCAA Tournament but it's getting enough morale-boosting victories that I believe the Tigers will be in the field of 68 come 2019. Waters helped LSU to a 64-63 win over Missouri on Saturday. Against the Tigers, and in a loss at Alabama, he averaged 13.0 points, 4.0 assists, 3.0 steals steals and 1.5 rebounds. Waters did not have a good game against Collin Sexton and the Crimson Tide. He was 2-of-12 from the field and had just five points. On the heels of that performance, Sexton earned to hop back above Waters. It's been more than a month since that was the case here on the Watch. 

Next game: Tuesday vs. Vanderbilt


8. R.J. Cole, Howard

Key stats: 23.7 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.9 rpg, 1.6 spg

Last week: No. 8

Cole stays steady at No. 8 following his average of 22.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists the past two games vs. North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central. To the readers who are just seeing this season's Frosh Watch for the first or second time this season and might be wondering about a MEAC player in the top 10, go check out Cole's stats in non-conference play. He's been valuable since game one for the Bison and has held firm in the Watch all season.    

Next game: Saturday vs. Delaware State


9. Wendell Carter, Duke    

Key stats: 14.4 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 60.1 2-pt FG%

Last week: No. 9

Grayson Allen is rightfully getting his due for stepping up and leading Duke in scoring over the past three games that Bagley's been out. But I'll continue to dole out dap to Carter, who I watch sometimes and think he'll wind up nearly as good in the NBA as Bagley. Great feel, can step up when asks, and looks to be an all-around valuable teammate. Last week, Carter averaged 14.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 32.0 minutes per game. Duke won at home vs. Virginia Tech and beat Clemson in Littlejohn Coliseum. Carter's offensive rating at KenPom is 124.6 -- better than Bagley (122.1). 

Next game: Wednesday vs. Louisville. 


10. Jaylen NowellWashington   

Key stats: 16.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg

Last week: No. 10

Nowell did not have an exceptional week. He averaged 10.0 points on 8-of-24 shooting and totaled seven fouls, six rebounds in four assists in two games. But the totality of his season has him barely, and I mean barely, edging out nine other players who are all just one huge week away from breaking into the Frosh Watch. Those players are: Colorado's McKinley Wright IV; Iowa State's Cameron Lard and Lindell Wigginton; Kentucky's Kevin Knox; Michigan State's Jaren Jackson; UTSA's Jhivan Jackson; Murray State's Ja Morant; South Dakota State's David Jenkins Jr.; Duquesne's Eric Williams Jr.; and Duke's Gary Trent Jr. 

Next game: Thursday at Stanford

Previous Freshman of the Week winners:

Dec. 5: Trae Young
Dec. 12: Deandre Ayton
Dec. 19: David Jenkins Jr. 
Dec. 26: Trae Young 
Jan. 2: Mohamed Bamba
Jan. 9: McKinley Wright IV
Jan. 16: Trae Young
Jan. 23: R.J. Cole
Jan. 30: Kevin Knox
Feb. 6: Trae Young
Feb. 13: Cameron Lard