Iowa State appears to have its next great point guard in Tyrese Hunter, a four-star prospect from the 2021 class who has helped the No. 20 Cyclones exceed expectations in T.J. Otzelberger's first season as coach. Hunter signed under previous coach Steve Prohm but has fit right in under Otzelberger and is coming off one of his best weeks of the season.
Hunter scored 18 points in Iowa State's 84-81 overtime victory over Oklahoma State on Wednesday and followed up with a 14-point, turnover-free outing in the Cyclones' win over Missouri on Saturday. Those performances from Hunter, which helped spearhead much-needed wins for ISU, earn him CBS Sports/USBWA Freshman of the Week honors.
While Hunter's game is already solid, it's tantalizing to consider what he could become in the future as he improves on his 21.8% 3-point shooting mark and cuts down on his 3.2 turnovers per game. He is already an impact defender ranked third in the Big 12 with 2.1 steals per game, and offensive performances like those he turned in against Oklahoma State and Missouri hint at a high ceiling.
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.
Previous FOTW winners
- Nov. 30: Paolo Banchero, Duke
Dec. 7: Reyne Smith, Charleston
Dec. 14: Aminu Mohammed, Georgetown
Dec. 21: Kendall Brown, Baylor
Dec. 28: Paolo Banchero, Duke
Jan. 4: Malaki Branham, Ohio State
Jan. 11: Blake Wesley, Notre Dame
Jan. 18: TyTy Washington, Kentucky
Jan. 25: Caleb Houstan, Michigan
These are the top 10 freshman performers in college basketball this season.
1. Paolo Banchero | Duke
Stats: 17.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.6 APG 49.6% FG
Banchero has reached double figures in all 21 of No. 9 Duke's games this season and has never made fewer than four shots from the floor in a game. He pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds to atone for an off-shooting game in a win at Louisville on Saturday and followed up with a dominant showing in the second half of the Blue Devils' win at Notre Dame on Monday. The 6-foot-10 forward continues to be a matchup nightmare who is playing well beyond his years.
2. Jabari Smith | Auburn
Stats: 15.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 40.4% 3PT
Smith finally showed that he is not invincible by going 2 of 15 from the floor in Auburn's narrow 55-54 win at Missouri last Tuesday. But he responded in style with 23 points and 12 rebounds in Auburn's 86-68 win over Oklahoma on Saturday. The versatile 6-10 forward remains the leading scorer for the nation's No. 1 team and the clear frontrunner for SEC Freshman of the Year.
3. Chet Holmgren | Gonzaga
Stats: 13.9 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 3.3 BPG, 45.6% 3PT
Holmgren is an absurd 13 of 20 from 3-point range in the calendar year as his production continues to increase against No. 2 Gonzaga's overmatched WCC foes. The 7-footer ranks seventh nationally in blocks per game, and he leads all true freshmen in that category. Will we see a points-rebounds-blocks triple-double from him during league play? Don't rule it out.
4. TyTy Washington | Kentucky
Stats: 13.1 PPG, 4.4 APG, 37.1% 3PT
Washington missed No. 5 Kentucky's overtime win over Mississippi State on Tuesday because of lingering effects from an ankle injury sustained against Auburn on Jan. 22. He returned for UK's impressive win at Kansas on Saturday but had an off day, going 1 for 9 from the field. The 6-3 guard did post five assists and three steals, though, as he continues to play a key role for a Wildcats' team that is rounding into form.
5. AJ Griffin | Duke
Stats: 9.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 50% 3PT
A knee issue limited Griffin during preseason practice and explains why he played a limited role earlier in the season. But the 6-6 wing has put his full potential on display during the ACC slate and just delivered another excellent week. He was unflappable with 22 points on 5 of 5 shooting from 3-point range in a win over Louisville on Saturday and is shooting a ridiculous 54.1% from 3-point range in Duke's nine games so far in 2022.
6. Blake Wesley | Notre Dame
Stats: 14.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.5 APG
Wesley had his worst week of the season with three consecutive rough shooting performances. Still, the 6-5 guard reached double figures in Notre Dame's wins against NC State and Virginia because of how often he reached the free-throw line. His ability to create offense is a big reason why Notre Dame is in the mix for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
7. Terquavion Smith | NC State
Stats: 15.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.5 SPG 35.5% 3PT
The headline from NC State's 100-80 loss to North Carolina on Saturday was the Tar Heels' offensive explosion. But Smith was actually the game's leading scorer with a career-high 34 points. It was a nice bounce-back from the 6-4 bucket-getter after a rough outing against Notre Dame on Wednesday.
8. Kennedy Chandler | Tennessee
Stats: 13.2 PPG, 4.7 APG, 2.3 SPG
Chandler is averaging 2.6 steals per game in SEC play and ranks second in steals per game on the season (2.26) among true freshmen. No. 22 Tennessee's defense has been stout aside from a blowout loss at Kentucky, and Chandler's tenacity is a big reason for it. His offensive numbers are down a bit in league play, however.
9. Kendall Brown | Baylor
Stats: 10.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 64.5% FG
After a stretch of six straight games without double figures, Brown has started contributing a bit more offensively as of late. He does much more than just score, but for a No. 8 Bears' team that's dealt with some injuries in the backcourt, it's nice when Brown provides some offense to go with the intangibles.
10. Malaki Branham | Ohio State
Stats: 10.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 39.1% 3PT
It remains tough to decipher who the top freshman in the Big Ten is, but Branham gets the nod for Frosh Watch this week after helping lead No. 16 Ohio State back from a 20-point deficit in a game the Buckeyes narrowly lost at Purdue on Sunday. At one point in a span of less than two minutes late in the game, Branham scored nine straight for Ohio State. Ultimately, he finished with 20 points on 7-of -10 shooting while showcasing his offensive explosiveness once again.