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: USC's Evan Mobley
We've yet to see Evan Mobley put together a dominant two halves at USC, which is a scary thought considering he's been consistent as any, averaging 15.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. But this week's outings in which he notched consecutive double-doubles and had a dominant game against Arizona State in the paint is proof he's already made significant strides as his rookie season wears on. Mobley logged a season-high six swatted shots against the Sun Devils in addition to a season-high 13 boards as he left his mark on the game in a nice 73-64 road win.
"Their length really bothered us," Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said after the game.
"That was tough," added ASU senior Holland Woods of USC's length. "Evan is a really big guy."
His career performance came just two days after he posted 19 points, 11 boards, 2 steals and a block in a road win over Arizona. The Trojans are one of three Pac-12 teams with just one loss on their conference resume and hot on the heels of UCLA for the top spot in the league standings. With Mobley coming on strong and earning an even bigger role, USC perhaps has another gear to go to behind its one-and-done, and this week might've been his launchpad to a new level.
These are the top 10 freshman performers in college basketball for this season.
- Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
Key stats: 17.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.8 APG, 37.2 3P%
For the first time all season, Cade Cunningham didn't reach double figures in the scoring column this week, scoring just five points on 1-of-3 shooting against Kansas State. Yet he's still atop our season-long rankings because of the consistency he's displayed throughout the season. Sure, teams are starting to zero in on him and, sure, you'd expect a potential No. 1 pick to be able to overcome that challenge. But he's still averaging 17.8 points and 6.8 rebounds for a quality Cowboys club. How he responds this week should be plenty revealing. Cunningham gets his first career top-10 opponent Tuesday against Kansas followed by his first rivalry game vs. Oklahoma on Saturday. Last week: No. 1
2. Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
Key stats: 18.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG
Coming off his first Frosh of the Week honors last week, Dickinson followed it up with a career-high 28 points in an impressive 82-57 drubbing of No. 16 Minnesota at home against a massive, talented Liam Robbins. Now the Wolverines sit alone atop the Big Ten standings and boast a perfect 10-0 record on the season. That is in no small part because of Dickinson; he's been a revelation for Juwan Howard and Co. as he continues to shine as an efficient -- and dominant -- scorer and rebounder. Of the five Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors handed out this season, Dickinson is the rightful owner of 60% of them. Even that doesn't fully tell the story of how valuable he's been to UM's success. Last week: No. 3
3. Evan Mobley, USC
Key stats: 15.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 3.0 BPG
USC blocked 12 shots in a road win over Arizona State this week; Mobley was responsible for half of them. It was his most complete outing on both ends of the floor of his young college career as he continues to make his case as a potential No. 1 pick. He's the only freshman in college hoops averaging three blocks per game on the season, and he leads all power conference freshmen in rebounding as well. Last week: No. 5
Evan Mobley: once again, good in drop coverage (+ help defense) vs. Arizona State, walled off the paint (6 blocks, ASU 35 FG% rim with Mobley on) vs. Josh Christopher on multiple occasions. Ridiculous extension at the rim on this possession (Hawk action from ASU) to block Woods pic.twitter.com/0tWuVtBU5D— Brian Geisinger (@bgeis_bird) January 11, 2021
4. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
Key stats: 13.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.1 APG, 40.6 3P%
On a loaded Gonzaga roster, Jalen Suggs doesn't have to be a force on a nightly basis, but he continues to be a major factor on both ends as an on-ball defender, shot-maker and shot-creator. And this week he had arguably his best college highlight to date -- delivering a full-court dime, quarterback-style, in a flashback to his high school days. He played just 52 minutes in two games against BYU and Portland the last week, yet still managed 27 points, eight assists and seven steals in two blowout wins. Last week: No. 2
5. Cameron Thomas, LSU
Key stats: 22.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 32.9 3P%
The Cam Thomas breakout hit a snag this week as he left the Ole Miss game early with an apparent ankle injury after taking only one shot. Yet here's how bonkers Thomas' season has been: despite leaving the game early and scoring zero points, he still leads the SEC in scoring this season. The good news is that LSU coach Will Wade seems optimistic that the injury won't affect him long-term. Great news for one of the most prolific scorers in the sport. Last week: No. 4
6. Jalen Wilson, Kansas
Key stats: 14.7 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 38.9 3P%
Wilson is neck-and-neck with Ochai Agbaji in the effort to be Kansas' leading scorer, but he's the team's leading rebounder by a wide margin. That's an important and overlooked element to what the redshirt freshman is providing the Jayhawks. With Bill Self's club getting inconsistent contributions from its post players and sometimes playing small lineups, rebounding must be a team effort. Wilson is pulling plenty of weight in that area. Last week: No. 6
Key stats: 12.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.2 BPG
Brown's week included a 3-of-4 shooting night from 3-point range in a win over Iowa State and a 12-point, 14-rebound effort in a win at West Virginia. In four games against Big 12 competition, the 6-9 forward is averaging 14 points and 10.3 rebounds. So, in essence, he's bringing everything that coach Shaka Smart could have hoped for to one of the hottest teams in the country. Last week: No. 10
8. Moses Moody, Arkansas
Key stats: 16.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 40.0 3P%
Moody struggled in a loss at Tennessee last week but bounced back in a huge way as he scored 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting in a blowout victory over Georgia on Saturday. The 6-foot-6 wing has hit at least one 3-pointer in every game this season, and the Tennessee game was the first time he's failed to reach double-digits. Last week: No. 7
9. Ziaire Williams, Stanford
Key stats: 11.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.9 APG
Williams finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over Washington last week to notch the first triple-double for Stanford since Brook Lopez did it in 2007. Though the 6-8 forward has struggled to score at times this season, the performance was a reminder of his versatility and promise. The Cardinal are off to a 4-1 start in Pac-12 play, and it feels like Williams is just scratching the surface of his potential. Last week: NR
10. Josh Christopher, Arizona State
Key stats: 16.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG
With Arizona State decimated by COVID-19 related absences, Christopher played a huge role in two losses last week. The 6-foot-5 wing scored 22 in a loss to UCLA, but it took him 24 shots to get there while he missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Still, his 11 rebounds gave him his first career double-double. Christopher is shooting just 22.2% from 3-point range for the season, but if he ever gets going from beyond the arc, look out. Last week: No. 8