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: Marcus Williams, Wyoming
We've been tracking Wyoming freshman Marcus Williams since his debut with the Cowboys in November when he dropped 20 points and eight rebounds in a season-opening win. And all he's done since is proven to be amongst the most steady and consistent freshmen in college hoops. So this is some well-warranted and long overdue pub for the Dickinson, Texas, native, who left us no choice but to bestow upon him our weekly honors after his big week.
Williams led Wyoming to two big wins over Nevada topped with a Sunday special in which he scored 28 points and went 3-of-4 from the 3-point line in a 93-88 victory. Twenty of his 28 points came in the second half against the Wolf Pack on Sunday, and if that doesn't underscore his ability to come through in the clutch, this should: 15 of his points came in the game's final six minutes of play. Only three players in the game outside of Williams scored 15 or more points the entire game.
It's a remarkable accomplishment on its own to step into a Division I team as a true freshman and make an immediate impact, but what Williams has done -- this week and all season -- is truly special. An unranked high school prospect, he garnered a handful of small, local offers in Texas, but instead opted to take his talents more than 1,000 miles away to play for Jeff Linder. Now he's fifth among all freshmen in points per game on the season and one of the driving forces behind Wyoming's quick rebuild under Linder. In just 15 games this season the team has already won more than all of last season, and that's in no small part because of how impactful Williams has been as a newcomer from the jump.
These are the top 10 freshman performers in college basketball for this season.
1. Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
Key stats: 17.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.2 SPG
It's been two weeks since Cade Cunningham last played after missing Oklahoma State's last two games due to COVID-19 protocols. Still, his body of work speaks for itself to keep him afloat at No. 1: He leads the Big 12 in scoring and ranks top 10 in the conference in assists, rebounds and blocks. All eyes will be on him Saturday as he seems likely to return to the court to face potential lottery pick Moses Moody of Arkansas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Last week: No. 1
2. Evan Mobley, USC
Key stats: 16.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.9 BPG, 29.3 PER
With every new week seemingly comes a new career milestone for USC star Evan Mobley. Last week it was a career-high six blocks in a dominant outing against UC Riverside; this week it was a career-high 25 points vs. Cal in a game he went to the free-throw line 15 times and converted 80% of his attempts. Mobley's dominant season continues to trend upwards, and he's still scratching the surface of his potential -- a remarkable feat considering he already leads the Pac-12 in rebounds and blocked shots. Last week: No. 3
3. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
Key stats: 13.9 PPG, 4.9 APG, 5.2 RPG, 2.3 SPG
No. 1 Gonzaga recorded a 95-49 win over Pacific on Saturday -- its largest blowout in a season where Gonzaga has had plenty of them. Suggs played 30 minutes in the win and wasn't a major factor as a scorer, racking up only nine points. But he again showed his competitive drive in a game where he didn't necessarily need to do so by posting a career-high 11 boards and tying a career-high in assists with eight. Suggs' placement on this list is a bit volatile because his team is so loaded and his role can fluctuate more than others on this list, but it's a testament to his impact that he's maintained top-five status all season. Last week: No. 4
4. Sharife Cooper, Auburn
Key stats: 21.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 9.0 APG
There's only five games of tape on Sharife Cooper this season after his NCAA clearance came later than expected. That's all our eyes needed to see before vaulting him into our top five. He leads all of college hoops in assists per game already and is second among all SEC players in points per game. Last week: No. 6
5. Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
Key stats: 15.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.4 BPG
Michigan is in the midst of a two-week shutdown because of a newly-discovered COVID-19 variant, so we'll wait to see how that affects his standing on our rankings. But Dickinson dropped three spots in this week's update after two unspectacular outings (by his own standards) last week in which he had eight points, three rebounds and six turnovers against Purdue after being held to just three points and six rebounds vs. Maryland in the game prior. The brief hiatus may do him well to reset for the stretch run as Michigan looks to distance itself as the favorite in the Big Ten. Last week: No. 2
6. Cameron Thomas, LSU
Key stats: 21.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 28.6 3P%
Though mired in an outside shooting slump, Thomas continues to be the nation's highest-scoring freshman by a wide margin because of his ability to reach the free-throw line. Thomas ranks 10th nationally in free throws attempted with 102, and he's made 90 of them, which translate to a stellar 88.2%. For LSU to reach its full potential, Thomas will need to regain his outside shooting touch, but his continued productivity amid the slump is incredibly impressive for a freshman. Last week: No. 5
7. Moses Moody, Arkansas
Key stats: 17.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.7 APG, 36.3 3P%
Moody rebounded from a quiet night during a win over Auburn last week to explode for 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting in a dominant victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Such scoring outbursts have been common for the 6-foot-6 playmaker this season as he's surpassed 20 points on five occasions for the Razorbacks. The former four-star prospect has also been a solid rebounder and is firmly in the conversation with Thomas and Cooper to be the SEC Freshman of the Year. Last week: No.7
8. Jalen Wilson, Kansas
Key stats: 13.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 36.5 3P%
Wilson has averaged just seven points per game during Kansas' three-game losing streak. He also managed to play 31 minutes without grabbing a single rebound or dishing out an assist in a loss at Oklahoma on Saturday. His body of work for the year is still solid, but the Jayhawks might need to prioritize getting Wilson more involved if they want to bounce back during conference play. Last week: No.8
Key stats: 11.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.4 BPG
No. 5 Texas is led by a trio of veteran guards who have kept Brown from needing to take a heavy scoring load. The versatile 6-foot-9 forward also has not played since Jan. 13, and the Longhorns have only played once since then. But don't let his recent absence from your TV screen and a relatively low-key freshman season fool you. He's living up to his hype as a top-10 prospect and making critical contributions to a team with Final Four aspirations. Last week: No. 9
10. Ziaire Williams, Stanford
Key stats: 12.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.8 APG, 32.1 3P%
Williams missed Stanford's thrilling overtime win over UCLA on Saturday, just as he appeared to be finding his offensive stride. Ignited by a triple-double in a win over Washington on Jan. 7, the 6-foot-8 forward has reached double figures in his last four games. But his turnover issues also become readily apparent during that stretch and will need to be remedied moving forward. Last week: No. 10