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fotw sensabaugh

In the 2022 recruiting class, there were 85 players ranked higher than Brice Sensabaugh when he put pen to paper and signed with Ohio State. Twenty-one forwards were ranked higher than him. Even in his own recruiting class with the incoming Buckeyes, he was just the third-highest ranked signee.

Yet Sensabaugh has flourished immediately upon arrival in Columbus, Ohio, proving himself vastly more important than his four-star credentials and rocketing into one-and-done territory as a potential lottery pick. That surprising star turn culminated this week with Freshman of the Week honors from USBWA and CBS Sports after two huge conference outings capped by a career-high 27 points in a home win over Iowa.

Sensabaugh has the length to be a talented two-way player in the league for a long time and at Ohio State this season, he has bolstered his first-round credentials with a stellar shot to boot. After hitting seven of his 12 3-point attempts in two games this week he is now hitting 47.7% from 3-point range. Among qualifying players (min. 50 attempts), that accuracy rates third among players from major conferences pacing ahead even of Alabama superstar Brandon Miller. 

The Frosh of the Week honor this week is well-deserved and a long overdue shine on one of the most underrated players in college basketball.

Let’s dive into the rankings this week.¬†

Freshman of the Week: Brice Sensabaugh, Ohio State

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.

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In one of the more interesting prospect games of the Big Ten season, Sensabaugh this week outdueled Iowa star Kris Murray with 27 points and five boards while hitting four 3-pointers in a win over the Hawkeyes. The career-high scoring output came in true Sensabaugh fashion — efficiently — as he made 10 of his 12 shot attempts just three days after putting up 18 points and 10 boards inside Pinnacle Bank.

“He’s been so consistently good on the offensive end,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said after the Iowa win. “I thought Brice was so highly efficient. Once he settled in he was phenomenal.”

Let’s dive into the top five freshmen rankings but first, here’s a look at previous winners this season:

Frosh Watch: Top five freshmen rankings

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Some freshmen begin to struggle as conference play arrives. But not Miller. The 6-foot-9 phenom is scoring more in league play and shooting a higher percentage from the floor than he did in non conference action. He’s leading the SEC in scoring and just put together another stellar week. Miller totaled 45 points in Alabama’s road wins over Vanderbilt and Missouri as the Crimson Tide continued marching unbeaten through SEC play. He finished with 30 points and 10 boards on 10 of 16 shooting against the Commodores and produced 15 points and eight rebounds against the Tigers. He is looking like a first-team All-American for a team that is projected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm.

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Filipowski turned in another monster couple of games with 17 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Miami, then 29 points and 10 rebounds in a loss at Virginia Tech. The 7-footer now has 10 double-doubles for the season and has made 3-pointers in four straight games after a streak of four games without a make from beyond the arc. After a brief December slump, he is averaging 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds over his last six games and appears to be thriving in his role as Duke’s go-to guy. Filipowski was not the top-ranked prospect in the Blue Devils’ class but he’s turned out to be the best freshman in the ACC and one of the most versatile big men in the country, regardless of year.

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Now 20 games into his college career, Dick has made at least one 3-pointer in every contest. But what’s most encouraging about his game is the versatility he showed in Monday night’s loss at Baylor. Mired in a 3 for 16 shooting slump from behind the arc in KU’s previous two games, Dick turned into a driver against the Bears and finished with 24 points on 8 of 13 shooting. He made all six of his free-throw attempts and helped the Jayhawks stay within striking distance. The 6-8 wing continues to show that he is a versatile, all-around weapon capable of helping even on the rare occasions when his outside shot isn’t falling.

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George struggled a bit over Baylor’s last two games, but he was dynamite in last Tuesday’s win at Texas Tech as he racked up 27 points on 8 of 15 shooting. The five-star prospect is the leading scorer for a team that is suddenly on a hot streak, and he’s one of the most explosive scorers in the country. Sure, George goes through some dry spells, but he’s also surpassed 20 points on eight occasions and gone for 27 or more three times. He’s also learning to be effective on slow offensive nights. The last two times he’s failed to reach double digits (Jan. 14 vs. Oklahoma State and Monday night vs. Kansas), he’s combined for eight assists and no turnovers.

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Sensabaugh turned in one of the most efficient performances of the season in college basketball in Ohio State’s win over Iowa on Saturday when he piled up 27 points on 10 of 12 shooting, including a 4 of 5 mark from 3-point range. In seven games since the calendar flipped to 2023, the 6-6 wrecking ball is averaging 20.6 points on 49.1% shooting and a 48.6% mark from beyond the arc. Ohio State’s defense is a work in progress, and Sensabaugh must improve on that end of the floor to maximize his potential. But there are few better scorers in the country, and that was made evident against the Hawkeyes as Sensabaugh outplayed fellow NBA Draft prospect Kris Murray from Iowa.