Four weeks into the college basketball season, the true freshmen class is finally starting to blossom as young kids grow into their roles and coaches begin entrusting their newbies with more and more. Nowhere is that more evident than at South Carolina, where 17-year-old Gregory "GG" Jackson II, once the No. 1 recruit in his class who reclassified to join college a year early, has gradually and consistently been doing more with his opportunities with the Gamecocks.
Jackson, this week's CBS Sports/USBWA Freshman of the Week, blew up for a career-high-tying 22 points last week in an overtime win over Georgetown, adding eight boards while draining nine of his 19 shots -- including two triples -- to guide South Carolina to victory. In the first half, Jackson struggled -- he had zero points on 0-of-5 shooting and his body language both on the court and on the bench was, in his words, not acceptable -- but that changed in the second half in overtime. All 22 points came in the second half as he came alive, providing an example of his maturity thus far this season.
"In the first half, mentally, I just wasn't there at all," Jackson said. "I took full blame for that. ...When I saw that first shot [in the second half] go in, I was like 'Give me that."
Jackson has not yet cracked the top five of our weekly Freshmen Rankings thus far this season despite his steady production, but in the third installment of the Frosh Watch, he is this week's earning Freshman of the Week honors in recognition of his destruction of Georgetown on the road.
The rest of this week's rankings -- led again by Alabama star Brandon Miller, is below.
Freshman of the Week: GG Jackson, South Carolina
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 every-Tuesday feature. Each week we'll start by announcing the national Freshman of the Week honoree. The cycle for FOTW runs Tuesday-Monday.
It was only a matter of time before GG Jackson earned recognition in this space. Jackson, the former No. 1 recruit in his class before reclassifying, decommitting from North Carolina and enrolling at South Carolina, has been sensational this season and that continued this week, winning FOTW honors after tying a career high with 22 points and adding eight boards, two assists and one steal in an overtime road win over Georgetown.
"He's really talented. He's really talented," South Carolina coach Lamont Paris said of Jackson after the win over the Hoyas. "He's an extremely talented guy. You have a 17-year-old kid that came up in this environment, acknowledged that his body language wasn't what it needed to be. He learns extremely quickly and has humility as a player."
Freshman GG Jackson comes up big for South Carolina in their OT win against Georgetown @_ggjackson @GamecockMBB pic.twitter.com/o5opXWRioX— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) December 3, 2022
Frosh Watch: Top five freshman rankings
1. Brandon Miller, Alabama
Stats: 19.1 PPG | 8.9 RPG | 1.9 APG | 46.6% 3PT
After a couple of rough shooting performances against UConn and North Carolina to close the Phil Knight Invitational, Miller got back on track Sunday with 16 points and nine rebounds in a win over South Dakota State. The versatile forward is second in the SEC in scoring behind only Ricky Council IV of Arkansas and is establishing himself as a likely NBA Draft lottery pick. At 6-foot-9 and with such a smooth stroke, he's going to be a matchup problem for opponents in the SEC.
2. Cason Wallace, Kentucky
Stats: 11.0 PPG | 4.1 RPG | 4.6 APG | 50.0% 3PT
Wallace's sharpshooting prowess helped lead Kentucky to a 73-69 win over Michigan in London on Sunday as he knocked down all four of his long-range attempts. He also pulled down eight rebounds and dished out five assists. He is proving to be the ultimate two-way combo guard, and Wallace's excellent 3-point shooting through eight games is merely the cherry on top.
3. Gradey Dick, Kansas
Stats: 15.3 PPG | 4.1RPG | 45.3% 3PT
Of all players in the Big 12, only Baylor redshirt senior Adam Flagler has made more 3-pointers this season than Dick. Kansas coach Bill Self anointed the 6-8 wing as an all-time great shooter before he'd ever played a college game. All he's done is deliver on the hype by making 24 of 53 outside attempts though nine games. Dick has also proven to be an all-around player capable of scoring at the rim and holding his own defensively.
4. Anthony Black, Arkansas
Stats: 13.4 PPG | 5.5 APG | 39.1% 3PT
Black's monster performances in the Maui Invitational continue to stand out as some of the best play we've seen from a freshman this season. The lanky point guard is not only a scorer and distributor but also a pesky defender. He's recorded multiple steals in six of eight games. Offensively, he's been efficient and shown a keen sense of when to generate offense for himself and when to facilitate for others.
5. Kyle Filipowski, Duke
Stats: 15.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 36.1% 3PT
Filipowski is proving impressively consistent for a freshman with 10 straight double-figure games to start his career and five double-doubles already on his resume. He asserted himself with a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds on 6 of 11 shooting in the Blue Devils' big win over Ohio State last week and followed up with a double-double in Duke's ACC-opening win over Boston College on Sunday.