basketball Edit

Freshman Tracker: Standouts shine in Thanksgiving MTEs

Brandon Miller
Brandon Miller (USA Today Sports Images)

In this season’s second installment of the Freshman Tracker, there’s a new player holding the top spot and three new names inside the top-10.

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Rivals Roundtable: Giving thanks, surprise player, Louisville

2023 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

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1. Brandon Miller, Alabama

Season averages: 21.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists

Analysis: Miller has been on an absolute tear through five games for the Crimson Tide. He currently touts shooting splits of 48/52/80 and is scoring at a high level from the outside. So far this season, he’s hit 19-of-36 from behind the arc and his shooting display combined with his size has him creeping up draft boards, with people now discussing him inside the top five of the upcoming draft. Miller was fantastic against Michigan State on Wednesday, scoring 24 points and grabbing nine boards.

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2. Keyonte George, Baylor

Season averages: 14.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists

Analysis: George has had good individual performances over the past couple of weeks, but has also had a dud as well. He scored 20 points on 50-percent three-point shooting against Virginia, and then was held in check against UCLA, which has definitely been his worst performance of the year thus far. George only scored four points against the Bruins and and three assists to four turnovers. In these two matchups with Power Five programs, he had five assists and nine turnovers, but bounced back with 17 points, five assists, and five rebounds against McNeese State.

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3. Gradey Dick, Kansas

Season averages: 16.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Analysis: Dick is second in scoring for the Jayhawks and has been shooting at a high level so far this season, posting shooting splits of 50/49/80 up until this point. He erupted for 25 points against NC State earlier in the week while shooting 6-of-12 from the outside. He then came back down to earth a bit after being held to single digits for the first time this season against Wisconsin. His combination of size and shot making has him shooting up draft boards early on in the season.

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4. Anthony Black, Arkansas

Season averages: 14.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists

Analysis: Black was good but not great through the first three games of the season, but he really turned it on in the Maui Invitational, averaging 22.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists through three contests. His creation ability really opened up in the matchups against Louisville and Creighton due to his outside shot falling. He went 4-of-8 from three in those games, but is just 2-of-10 from behind the arc in games outside of those. If Black can continue to shoot it well from the outside, he could be pushing for the number one spot on this list in no time.

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5. Kyle Filipowski, Duke

Season averages: 16.2 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Analysis: Filipowski and Duke haven’t played any big name programs since the last update, even though they did survive a scare against Oregon State. However, the former five-star has been productive nonetheless. He’s scored 55 points over the last three games and is still rebounding at a high level. The biggest takeaway could be that Filipowski is finding his stroke and becoming comfortable from the outside in these matchups, as the Duke big man has shot 40-percent from three in the last three contests.

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6. Judah Mintz, Syracuse

Season averages: 18.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists

Analysis: Mintz has arguably been the most pleasant surprise for this freshman class early on. He’s leading the Orange in scoring through five games, and his outside shot isn’t even falling yet. He’s been doing most of his scoring from the midrange and by getting paint touches. Mintz has scored 16 or more points in every game this season, and while his assist numbers are improving, he’s been hit and miss in terms of ball security.

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7. Cason Wallace, Kentucky

Season averages: 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists

Analysis: Wallace has probably had the roughest adjustment of any player from two weeks ago until now. With ball dominant Sahvir Wheeler back in the rotation for Kentucky, Wallace has had to change up the way he’s played as compared to the first couple of games. His defense has been terrific early on and he’s shooting 48-percent from three, but he hasn’t had as many opportunities to get downhill the last couple of weeks. Wallace has played very well in marquee matchups against Michigan State and UCLA early on.

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8. Jarace Walker, Houston

Season averages: 12.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists

Analysis: Walker has accounted for 29 points and 12 rebounds over the last two games for Houston, and is playing a key role for the No. 2 team in the country. He’s hit all three of his outside shots in the last two matchups against Texas Southern and Oregon, and if you take out the first game of the season, he’s shooting 5-of-8 on the year. Even as it stands today, Walker still has shooting splits of 50/42/71.

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9. Brice Sensabaugh, Ohio State

Season averages: 15.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists

Analysis: Sensabaugh has been consistent all season long for the 5-1 Buckeyes, and you could definitely say he was snubbed from the first installment of this series a couple weeks back. He’s scored in double figures in every game this season and has been scoring the ball in a variety of ways. His shooting splits have been very efficient at 53/46/81 and it’s no surprise that he’s leading Ohio State in scoring up with the shooting ability he’s shown from all over the court.

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10. J.J. Starling, Notre Dame

Season averages: 14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists

Analysis: Starling has been backing up his five-star status early in the season with the Fighting Irish. He’s been one of the key pieces to Mike Brey’s team that is 5-0 through five games, currently sitting third on the roster in scoring. His best game of the season game against Bowling Green on Tuesday, where he went 10-of-11 from the field and scored 23 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out three assists, and came up with three steals.

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