We're three months into the Frosh Watch this season and still discovering new names of rookies who are showing up and showing out as the season rolls along. In this week's Frosh Watch we have a first-time winner out of the American Athletic Conference as UCF's Taylor Hendricks takes home the honors coming off a 2-0 week with the Knights.
Hendricks led the way for UCF this week with two double-digit scoring outings to help put an end to a five-game losing streak in league play that spanned more than two full weeks. Against Wichita State early in the week, he scored 13 second-half points in leading UCF to a come-from-behind win, then followed it up with 12 first-half points vs. Tulsa three days later in helping the Knights open up a 20-point lead at halftime as UCF blasted Tulsa 96-52.
Taylor Hendricks' jumper is legit. I can see it translating to the NBA level very well.— Ersin Demir (@EDemirNBA) February 11, 2023
Loved the pick-and-pop sequence here to give UCF the lead in their comeback-win against Wichita State. pic.twitter.com/AnYbFlDRb6
There remains plenty of quality freshmen in college hoops which is making it increasingly hard to trim our weekly list to five, but David Cobb and I did the leg work for you and I have done exactly that.
Let's dive into the rankings this week with a brief detour on Hendricks.
Freshman of the Week: Taylor Hendricks, UCF
Welcome back to the Frosh Watch, our weekly ranking of the five 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 weekly feature. Each week we'll start by announcing the national Freshman of the Week honoree. The cycle for FOTW runs Tuesday-Monday.
Hendricks became the second-highest ranked signee in UCF men's basketball history when he joined the program in 2022 and he has immediately made his presence felt. The former top-100 recruit leads UCF in scoring, rebounding and minutes in his debut season with the Knights and his versatility inside and out has put him squarely on the NBA Draft radar to boot.
"Hendricks is, uh, he's good," said Houston coach Kelvin Sampson after facing him several weeks ago. "[He] doesn't look like a freshman. He's good. He's a pro. He'll play professional basketball for a long time."
Hendricks' 23 points vs. Wichita State on Wednesday matched a career-high -- which he set in his first game in a double overtime affair. Against Tulsa he finished 8 of 12 shooting from the field for 18 points, two blocks, one assist and his eighth turnover-free game of the season.
Now, without further ado, let's jump in to this week's rookie rankings -- with a brief pit stop highlighting the previous Freshman of the Week winners this season:
- Nov. 22: Anthony Black, Arkansas
- Nov. 29: Fletcher Loyer, Purdue
- Dec. 6: GG Jackson, South Carolina
- Dec. 13: Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas
- Dec. 20: Brandon Miller, Alabama
- Dec. 27: Cason Wallace, Kentucky
- Jan. 3: GG Jackson, South Carolina
- Jan. 10: Jarace Walker, Houston
- Jan. 17: Brandon Miller, Alabama
- Jan. 24: Brice Sensabaugh, Ohio State
- Jan. 31: Jarace Walker, Houston
- Feb. 7: Aidan Mahaney, Saint Mary's
Frosh Watch: Top five freshmen rankings
Miller exploded for 24 points and nine rebounds on 4 of 8 shooting from 3-point range in Alabama's win over Florida last week. Then, in a win at Auburn on Saturday, he finished with 13 points and six rebounds despite going 0 for 7 from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-9 forward is the best player on the nation's newly anointed No. 1 team and his ability to impact the game in a variety of ways even when his outside shot isn't falling is remarkable for a freshman. Miller is on a run of five straight games with at least three assists and has reached double figures in scoring during all but one game.
Filipowski was robbed of a chance to beat Virginia at the free-throw line because of a controversial officiating decision in the final moments of Duke's loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday. Ultimately, he finished scoreless for the first time in his career. It was a bad day for the seven-footer and for the whole Duke team. But in his nine games leading up to the UVA catastrophe, Filipowski was averaging 18.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He's been a monster for Duke. For a player of his size, Filipowski boasts rare versatility on both ends, and he should quickly bounce back from Saturday's poor showing.
It took 25 games but someone finally kept Dick from making a 3-pointer for an entire game. The 6-8 wing didn't even attempt a trey in Kansas' 78-55 win over Oklahoma on Saturday, but he still finished with eight points on 4 of 5 shooting while taking what the Sooners gave him. Dick was billed as a shooter, and rightfully so, but he's shown so much more while serving as the second-leading scorer for the reigning national champions. He can attack the basket, play solid defense and doesn't force outside shots when opponents are zeroed on him. And when opponents aren't properly focused on Dick? He's gone for 20 or more points on six occasions and has made three or more 3-pointers nine times.
George continues to serve as an offensive spark plug for a Baylor team that is suddenly tied with Texas atop the league standings after rallying from an 0-3 start in Big 12 play to win 10 of its last 11. The 6-4 guard totaled only 10 combined points in wins over West Virginia and TCU on Monday and Saturday, but he went off for 23 last Wednesday against Oklahoma and remains the highest-scoring freshman in the Big 12 by a significant margin. With Adam Flagler LJ Cryer also in Baylor's back court, the Bears can beat you with a different player every night. On a lesser team, George might be averaging 20 per game. But as it stands, he's a prolific producer for one of the nation's hottest teams.
Mahaney burst onto the national scene on Feb. 4 with his heroic late-game performance as Saint Mary's knocked off Gonzaga. But the 6-3 guard has been magnificent all season for the Gaels after entering as a three-star prospect, according to 247Sports. His play is a major factor in why Saint Mary's remains in first place of the WCC standings even after taking its first conference loss last week. Mahaney has reached 20 points seven times this season, which is particularly impressive considering Saint Mary's plays at one of the slowest paces in the nation.