Rating faculty basketball’s finest freshmen: Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr. earns Freshman of the Week honors


We’re 5 weeks into the faculty basketball season and the pecking order for the highest freshmen within the sport is harder to resolve on than ever. The very best freshmen to start out the season proceed to pop up in our rankings once more this week — you may discover there are a couple of mainstays like Brandon Miller, Gradey Dick and Kyle Filipowski — however the competitors is immediately very crowded with Baylor’s Keyonte George approaching robust and each Cam Whitmore of Villanova and Nick Smith Jr. of Arkansas coming back from harm and making their presence felt.

Two of the three consequently pop into our prime 5 of the weekly Frosh Watch beneath whereas the opposite, Nick Smith Jr., earns recognition as the Freshman of the Week for his latest play. 

The Frosh Watch is a season-long tracker that accounts for manufacturing all year long and ever-so-slightly is weighted primarily based upon latest showings. That is why Whitmore, who has performed in solely three video games and appears like a top-two freshman, snuck into the rankings this week however was left at No. 5. That is additionally why Smith Jr. simply missed the reduce this week whereas regular producers all season who’ve performed in double-digit video games paced forward of him . . . for now.

Let’s dive into this week’s outcomes. 

Freshman of the Week: Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas

Welcome again to the Frosh Watch, our weekly rating of the 5 most spectacular freshmen in faculty basketball. CBS Sports activities has as soon as once more teamed up with the USA Basketball Writers Affiliation and its Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Yr Award to current this every-Tuesday characteristic. Every week we’ll begin by asserting the nationwide Freshman of the Week honoree. The cycle for FOTW runs Tuesday-Monday.

Smith Jr. has performed in simply three video games so far for Arkansas — 4 in the event you depend his 5 minutes off the bench in debuting in opposition to Troy in late November when he logged just one rebound and no factors — and but he is already dazzling in his one (and certain accomplished) season with the Hogs. His Frosh of the Week honors come after 22 and 21 level performances in opposition to UNC-Greensboro and Oklahoma, respectively, each of which resulted in wins in the course of the Tuesday-Monday cycle. In that two-game span he went 14-of-30 from the sphere, 13-of-15 from the free throw line and added six rebounds and 4 assists besides. 

“Nick can rating on the rim, he can rating midrange, and he can rating it from 3,” mentioned OU coach Porter Moser after the Sooners’ loss on Saturday. “Three-level scorer. I believed we did a very good job in ball-screen protection, after which [Arkansas] simply begins spacing you [out].”

Excluding Smith Jr.’s zero-point debut in opposition to Troy by which he performed simply 5 minutes, he truly leads all freshmen in factors per recreation at 19.7 — practically two factors away from Brandon Miller — after pouring in 16 factors, 22 factors and 21 factors in three straight video games for the Razorbacks. 

Let’s leap into this week’s rankings. However first, here is a glance again on the earlier rankings so far this season and the winner of every Freshman of the Week.

Dec. 6: GG Jackson | Nov. 29: Fletcher Loyer | Nov. 22: Anthony Black

Frosh Watch: Prime 5 freshmen rankings

1. Brandon Miller, Alabama

Stats: 17.9 PPG | 8.4 RPG | 1.7 APG | 42.9% 3PT

It was an fascinating week for Miller, who has been the No. 1 in our rookie rankings every of the primary 5 weeks of the season, as his Alabama crew took down No. 1 Houston on the street in its second win over an AP-ranked No. 1 crew this season. Miller was cash from the free-throw line — he made eight of his 9 makes an attempt — however for the primary time all season was held and not using a discipline objective, lacking all eight of his makes an attempt. His scoring and manufacturing on a now-ranked No. 4 Bama crew all season has earned him some cushion in our rankings to take care of his standing on the prime of our rankings.

2. Gradey DickKansas

Stats: 15.4 PPG | 4.4 RPG | 1.9 APG | 46.6% 3PT

Dick continues to show his consistency as a deep risk. Most just lately, he sank 3 of 5 makes an attempt from 3-point vary in Kansas’ street beatdown of Missouri, ending with 16 factors, seven rebounds and 5 assists. Whereas Dick’s exterior shot is what stands out, his all-around recreation as a two-way participant is what makes him one of many nation’s prime freshmen. He’s a dynamic wing who helps open up KU’s offense together with his playmaking skill and perimeter prowess.

3. Kyle FilipowskiDuke

Stats: 14.8 PPG | 9.2 RPG | 33.3% 3PT

At the same time as a few of Duke’s different touted freshmen begin to blossom, Filipowski continues to face out for his consistency. The seven-footer has reached double digits in all 12 of the Blue Devils’ video games this season, and he recorded his sixth double-double in an enormous win over Iowa final week. With a pleasant perimeter capturing contact for a participant of his dimension and the power to play the 4 or 5, Filipowski is a flexible weapon. There aren’t many others like him within the nation, and he is a major a part of the explanation why Duke is off to a 10-2 begin below first-year coach Jon Scheyer.

4. Keyonte George, Baylor

Stats: 15.7 PPG | 4.4 RPG | 4.2 APG | 32.9% 3PT

Some lengthy overdue shine on this house for Baylor’s breakout freshman. George’s 15.7 factors per recreation ties for the third-most amongst gamers on this week’s prime 5 and it is third-highest on a loaded, deep and skilled Baylor crew besides. He is been a microwave scorer as billed but in addition stepped up as a playmaker, averaging 4.2 assists per recreation — third-most amongst all freshmen within the energy convention construction this season. 

5. Cam Whitmore, Villanova

Stats: 15.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 35.3% 3PT

Whitmore has performed simply three video games since coming back from a thumb harm that pressured him to overlook the primary few weeks of the season. However he is rapidly supplied the injection of life that Villanova wanted following a 2-5 begin. The Wildcats are again to .500 with an ideal 3-0 report since Whitmore’s debut. He is scored 47 factors on simply 30 makes an attempt from the ground thus far, which is remarkably environment friendly for a participant who’s simply acclimating to school basketball. The 6-foot-7 ahead is wanting like an All-Massive East sort of participant in a small pattern dimension.



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