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: Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
We try to spread the love evenly here in the Frosh Watch. That means we recognize and reward the accomplishments of mid-major and high-major players equally with no bias. Still, we try our best to steer away from making this a one-man weekly awards list. The lens with which we look through to evaluate rookies is wide with reason. This weekly ranking serves as a holistic examination of freshmen across the entire hoops landscape.
But Oklahoma State standout Cade Cunningham is sure making that hard to abide by. Cunningham is the USBWA Freshman of the Week for the third time this season, the first to earn that distinction. He is also the first back-to-back winner of the award. We had no choice; not bestowing him with this honor would've been malfeasance on our part.
Cunningham went for a career-high 40 points and added 11 rebounds Saturday in Oklahoma State's win over then-No. 7 Oklahoma. He then followed it up with another win over rival OU in the two-part Bedlam battle Monday, posting 15 points and seven rebounds.
"People know he's a really good player," OSU coach Mike Boynton said after Saturday's game. "I'm not surprised that on the biggest game on our schedule, on the road, he stepped up and was ready to go compete at the highest level."
It's OSU's first sweep of the Sooners since 2017, and has the program tracking as a 4 seed in Jerry Palm's bracket with five consecutive wins at its sails.
These are the top 10 freshman performers in college basketball for this season.
1. Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
Key stats: 19.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 41.8 3P%
Cunningham enjoyed the No. 1 spot in Frosh Watch for most of this season until he was overtaken recently by USC's Evan Mobley. But Oklahoma State's star forward reclaims the No. 1 spot this week after leading the Cowboys to a pair of wins over rival Oklahoma. There was a stretch early in conference play when Cunningham's shooting efficiency cycled down as Oklahoma State alternated between wins and losses, and looked like an NCAA Tournament bubble team. But during the Cowboys' recent five-game winning streak, he's hit 52.2% of his shots from the field while averaging 22.2 points per game to reclaim his spot as the nation's top freshman for a team that now looks like a lock for the Big Dance. Last week: No. 2
2. Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
Key stats: 14.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.6 BPG
Before Michigan's 23-day break between games that started in January, Dickinson appeared to be hitting a freshman wall as he averaged just 6.7 points and 4.7 rebounds over a three-game stretch. But since the No. 2 Wolverines returned from their break, the 7-foot-1 center has been phenomenal. He's averaging 14 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game while hitting 94.1% of his free throws in the five games -- all victories -- since Michigan's layoff ended. That a freshman is provided such essential contributions to a team that looks like a lock to earn a No. 1 seed is just incredible. Last week: No. 3
3. Evan Mobley, USC
Key stats: 16.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.9 BPG
Mobley loses his grip on the No. 1 spot this week and falls back to No. 3 after USC suffered a pair of losses to drop out of first place in the Pac-12. The 7-foot-1 center still managed to hit double figures in both the losses and should probably still be the frontrunner for Pac-12 Player of the Year, but he's cycled down a bit recently as the Trojans have lost three of their past four games. Points and rebounds are one thing, but USC relies on Mobley to protect the rim as an elite defender. He's the Pac-12 leader in blocks per game by a wide margin, but has registered just two over the past three games. Last week: No. 1
4. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
Key stats: 13.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.5 APG, 2.0 SPG
Suggs ends the regular season ranking first in the WCC in steals per game, fourth in assists per game and 11th in points per game. His play has provided No. 1 Gonzaga with an element of explosiveness all season during a 24-0 start, and it will be a thrill to see what he does in the NCAA Tournament. The 6-foot-4 guard would be the best player for most teams in the country, and the fact that he's thrived as the Bulldogs' No. 3 scorer is an indication of his maturity and ability to impact the game in multiple ways. Last week: No. 4
5. Moses Moody, Arkansas
Key stats: 16.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 36.5 3P%
Moody is hitting just 38.5% of his shots from the field during Arkansas' streak of nine wins in 10 games, but the 6-foot-6 forward has been great defensively and on the boards while still averaging 15.2 points during the team's hot streak. As of late, Moody's been feasting at the free-throw line. In huge victories over Alabama and LSU this past week, he attempted a total of 33 free throws, making 27 of them to provide the Razorbacks with valuable contributions against two of the league's top offenses. Last week: No. 7
6. Cameron Thomas, LSU
Key stats: 22.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 29.9 3P%
It's hard to lead any conference in scoring, much less the SEC -- as a freshman. But Cameron Thomas' 22.8 points per game gives him a substantial 2.3 points per game lead on No. 2 in that race. He's been LSU's gunner all season. The week that was didn't slow those efforts as he scored 21 and 25 points in losses to Georgia and Arkansas, respectively. The Tigers are still tracking towards the tourney, however, because of how impactful Thomas this season has been as an all-around bucket-getter. Last week: No. 6
7. Sharife Cooper, Auburn
Key stats: 20.2 PPG, 8.1 APG, 4.3 RPG
The limits of Sharife Cooper's impact have been tested of late as Auburn has hit an end-season wall with the Tigers losing six of their last eight. Now Cooper is dinged up, with an ankle injury in practice keeping him out of Auburn's last two games. We still can't dock him too much here. He leads the SEC in assists and has the No. 1 assist rate in the country. When healthy, he's easily one of the 10 most impactful newbies in the game. Last week: No. 5
8. Jaden Springer, Tennessee
Key stats: 12.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, 47.4 3P%
Tennessee has alternated between wins and losses for three weeks now, culminating with Saturday's 77-72 loss to a Sharife Cooper-less Auburn team. But its struggles have come as Springer has surged. He posted consecutive 20-point outings over the last week while functioning as the Vols' primary producer on offense. If this team around him figures itself out, he'll be the star of a supporting cast capable of making a nice tourney run. Last week: NR
9. Jalen Wilson, Tennessee
Key stats: 12.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 34.2 3P%
Kansas mauled No. 2 Baylor on Saturday in handing the Bears their first loss of the season. Wilson played a key role in that effort, crashing the boards to tie for a season-high 14 rebounds. He had just seven points on six shots in the win, but it was a very Wilson-like outing; he is the chameleon capable of fitting in everywhere on a KU team cruising with confidence down the stretch. Last week: 8
10. Mike Miles, TCU
Key stats: 14.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, 38.0 3P%
In a 76-72 road win over Iowa State this week, Miles turned in 19 points, five assists and six boards. It was his highest-scoring game in a month and his most complete outing on both ends of the floor in weeks. He continues to show himself as a key part of TCU's future under Jamie Dixon with his shot-creation and ability to wreak havoc keeping him in our frosh rankings. Last week: 9