Ranking college basketball’s best freshmen: Alabama’s Brandon Miller earns Freshman of the Week honors

Ranking college basketball’s best freshmen: Alabama’s Brandon Miller earns Freshman of the Week honors

There were 13 players in the 2022 class who placed ahead of five-star prospect and freshman from Alabama Brandon Miller. None, however, has been nearly as impactful and productive as Miller for the Crimson Tide this season.

Six weeks into the season, Miller was a mainstay at the top of our rankings of the best freshmen in college basketball, and that continues this week after going 24 and 36 in two games last week against Memphis and Gonzaga respectively scored points. He now scores 3.1 points per game more as the next-nearest freshman in the sport, leads all freshmen in 3-point field goal percentage (among those with 70 or more attempts) and also leads all SEC players in scoring regardless of classification.

Simply put, there aren’t 13 college basketball freshmen who have done better than Brandon Miller this season in Alabama. It’s not even 13 total player who have a better season than him.

Of course, after another productive week, he (finally and deservedly) takes the honors of CBS Sports/USBWA Freshman of the Week, beating out an invited class that included South Carolina’s Gregory “GG” Jackson II, Baylor’s Keyonte George, Baylor’s Kyle Filipowski Duke, Nick Smith of Arkansas and others. Unsurprisingly, he stayed at the top of our rankings throughout the season as well.

Let’s dive into this week’s results.

Freshman of the week: Brandon Miller, Alabama

Welcome back to Frosh Watch, our weekly ranking of college basketball’s five most impressive freshmen. CBS Sports has teamed up again with the United States Basketball Writers Association and their Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award to bring you this Tuesday feature. Each week we begin by announcing the national Freshman of the Week award winner. The cycle for FOTW runs from Tuesday to Monday.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look: Brandon Miller has been #1 in our freshman rankings all season, but has finished runner-up multiple times in our Freshman of the Week pick, not getting first place in our weekly rankings between me and David Cobb . . . until now.

He left no doubt this week with 24 points, eight rebounds and 4-of-8 shots from a 3-point range in a win over Memphis last Tuesday, followed by a season-high 36 points in 12-of-22 Shots – including 6-of-11 from 3-point range – in a loss to Gonzaga.

“We thought he was going to do something like that,” Gonzaga told Big Man Drew Timme of Miller. “He’s a lottery-level guy. A damn good player. He really stepped up when his team needed him.

Let’s dive into this week’s leaderboard. But first, here’s a look back at this season’s rankings so far and the winner of each Freshman of the Week.

Frosh Watch: Top Five Freshman Rankings

1. Brandon Miller, Alabama

statistics: 20.1PPG | 8.2 role play | 1.9 APG | 45.1% 3PT

Before exploding with two big offensive performances against Memphis and Gonzaga last week, Miller was on a slump. The freshman phenom has shot just 25.5% from the ground in his last four games, and it seemed like opposing defenses were going to figure him out. But against Memphis and Gonzaga he produced two of his best performances to date. Not only does Miller lead all freshmen nationally in scoring, he also leads the SEC in points per game and ranks first in the conference in 3-points made with 37.

2. Gradey Dick, Kansas

statistics: 15.8 PPG | 4.5 role play | 1.7 APG | 49.2% 3PT

Dick is first in the Big 12 for 3 points made at 31 after another great performance in Kansas’ 84-62 win over Indiana on Saturday. The sharp-shooting wing finished with 20 points, six rebounds and four steals while drilling 4 of 5 tries from 3-point range. The Jayhawks are quietly shifting into a scary gear as conference play approaches, and Dick has a big part in why this team appears poised to defend their national title.

3. Keyonte George, Baylor

statistics: 16.0 PPG | 4.4 Roleplay | 4.1 APG | 32.1% 3PT

The team best positioned to beat Kansas in the Big 12 is Baylor, and that’s largely due to how solid George was early on. Although his 3-point shot is still progressing, George excelled at finding his points inside the arc and now leads the Bears in the score. The 6-foot-4 guard is a freshman in a rotation full of veterans, but has the highest rating of any player on the team in evanmiya.com’s Bayesian Performance Rating.

4. Kyle Filipowski, Duke

statistics: 14.8 PPG | 9.2 role play | 1.3 APG | 33.3% 3PT

In 12 games, Filipowski has been a rock for the Blue Devils. The 7-footer has reached double digits in every game and has six double-doubles to his credit. He’s drilled a 3-pointer in nine games and made multiple 3-pointers four times. Filipowski has also proven to be a solid defender, even when tasked with playing forward during stretches when fellow 7-footer Dereck Lively II is down.

5. Jett Howard, Michigan

statistics: 15.5 PPG | 2.4 role play | 40.0% 3PT

With a final placement of 45th in the 247Sports Recruitment Class 2022 rankings, Howard is by far the least announced prospect on that list. But everything the 6-8 physical guard has done up to this point suggests he’s a five-star talent and likely an NBA prospect. Howard can shoot from the outside, distribute, get to the edge and is great at avoiding turnovers for a player of his age and usage rate. His defense is still a work in progress, but Howard has all the tools to master that trait as well.

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