Aaron Torres Media's Mid-Season Freshman All-American teams
We have now, somehow, hit February and with it - the second half of the college basketball season. That's right, the games feel bigger and the stakes feel higher, as everyone is trying to position themselves for March.
Yet while we're still a few weeks away from the madness, now feels like as good of a time as any to acknowledge what we've seen so far.
That week, we dropped our mid-season All-American teams, with the two teams voted on by Aaron Torres Media's Zac Krull and Aaron Torres.
Today, we look at the freshmen - as we honor the best freshmen in the sport, with our mid-season Freshmen All-American teams.
Keyonte George, G, Baylor: One of the most heralded prospects in the Class of 2022, George has impressed for a Baylor team that is starting to play their best basketball. George is fourth in the Big 12 in scoring, averaging 17.2 points per game, and is playing his best basketball in the Bears' biggest spots late.
That included a 24-point performance on Saturday as Baylor rallied to win against Arkansas, as George single-handedly willed them to victory with nine points in the final 3:01 of the win.
Brice Sensabaugh, F, Ohio State: Although Ohio State is struggling right now, it shouldn't take away from the fact that Sensabaugh has been one of the best players, period, in college hoops this year.
The freshman guard is currently fifth in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game, shooting over 50 percent from the field overall, and an incredible 47 percent from three. That included a career-high 27-point effort earlier this season in a must-win game against Iowa.
Brandon Miller, F, Alabama: Miller was a five-star, can't miss prospect coming into this season, so everyone knew he would be good. But I don't think anyone expected... this.
Miller is a bona-fide college superstar, averaging 19.5 points and eight rebounds per game, all while shooting over 45 percent from three-point land. In the process, he has become the focal point of one of the best teams in college hoops, and played his way into the top five of every NBA mock draft on the internet.
Gradey Dick, F, Kansas: While many of the players on this list were projected, Day 1 superstars at the college level, Dick has been one of the more pleasant, and more important surprises in the sport.
Ranked as the No. 22 player in America, Dick - again, unlike so many on this list - didn't appear on many mock draft boards in the preseason. Yet the 6'9 freshman from Wichita has been a revelation, averaging 15 points and five rebounds on a staggering 44 percent shooting from three-point land.
For a Kansas team that has struggled to get consistent player from its guards, Dick's scoring hasn't just been an added bonus - it's been needed.
Kyle Filipowski, F, Duke: While Filipowski wasn't the biggest name on the No. 1 recruiting class in college basketball last year, he has really been the only constant for the Blue Devils in year one of the Scheyer era.
Overall, Filipowski leads Duke in scoring and rebounding at 14.8 and 9.4 per game, the latter of which is fifth nationally in college basketball. However, he has really turned it on over the course of his last five games all in conference play, averaging 22 points per game during that stretch. This included 29 points in a narrow loss to Virginia Tech last Monday.
Anthony Black, G, Arkansas: Black was already one of the most highly-touted recruits in the 2022 class, and yet has taken on an even bigger role than expected, with injuries to fellow stars Trevon Brazile and Nick Smith Jr.
On the season, Black is averaging 13 points, five rebounds and four assists per game, all while shooting 34 percent from the three-point line. He had one of the iconic performances in all of college hoops this season, going for 26 points, six rebounds and six assists in a wild game against Creighton in the Maui Invitational back in November.
Cason Wallace, G, Kentucky: While the stats don't blow you away, Wallace has been arguably the most consistent Kentucky Wildcat all season long outside of Oscar Tshiebwe. On the year he's averaging 11.5 points per game, along with three rebounds and three assists per game, while shooting a blistering 39.8 percent from three.
More importantly, Wallace's move to the lead-guard spot in the Kentucky lineup completely changed the Wildcats season, as they are 4-1 in their last five games (although they are coming off a loss Saturday to Kansas at home).
Jalen Hood-Schifino, G, Indiana: It was an up-and-down start to the season for Hood-Schifino who had moments early, but also dealt with nagging injuries in November and December.
However, as the calendar has turned to January, Hood-Schifino has become a key cog for a suddenly surging Hoosiers team. He's averaging 13 points, four rebounds and four assists - and is coming off a game on Saturday against Ohio State, in which he dropped six three-pointers, on his way to a 24-point performance.
Jett Howard, F, Michigan: While Michigan has struggled for a majority of the season, Howard has lived up to the high expectations. The youngest son of head coach Juwan Howard is averaging 14.9 points per game, while shooting an efficient 39.9 percent from three. The freshman has proved to be a valuable piece for the Wolverines, scoring 21 points on an efficient 8-13 from the field and 5-6 from three in his first game back from injury, on Sunday at Penn State.
In addition, Howard scored a career high 34 points in Michigan’s heartbreaking overtime loss to Iowa on January 12th, showing he is capable of carrying the load as a scorer in the Big Ten.
Noah Clowney, F, Alabama: While Brandon Miller (rightfully) gets recognition as the star of this Alabama freshman class, Clowney has been one of the biggest surprises nationally from the high school class of 2022. And one of the sport's most underappreciated difference-makers.
Clowney is currently averaging 10.1 points per game, to go along with a team-high 8.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, quietly anchoring one of the sport's best defenses in the low post. In the process, Clowney has played his way onto NBA Draft radars, where many now have him projected as a one-and-done first round pick.
Fletcher Loyer, G, Purdue: One of two freshmen guards who is thriving for No. 1 ranked Purdue, Loyer has been a revelation, averaging 13 points and 2.5 assists per game, while shooting 36 percent from three from the Boilermakers.
That included a 27-point, six three-pointer effort against Nebraska a few weeks ago, and an 18-point effort against Duke back in November that put the Boilermakers on the map nationally.
Braden Smith, G, Purdue: Speaking of "revelation" there may be no bigger one in all of college hoops this year, than Smith. The 198th ranked player in the class of 2022, Smith was a three-star recruit who chose the Boilermakers over... Appalachian State and Montana.
Well, fast-forward and Smith is now a key cog on college basketball's top ranked team, averaging just under 10 points on 44 percent three-point shooting.
Taylor Hendricks, F, UCF: One of the best stories in college hoops this season, Hendricks also proves that you don't have to go to the biggest school to get the most notice.
That's because despite receiving offers from the likes of Florida, Florida State and LSU, Hendricks decided to head to UCF instead - where he has emerged as a star. He currently leads the team in points and rebounds per game, averaging 14 and 7.2, all while shooting 37 percent from three-point land.
With his success he's played his way onto the radar of quite a few NBA teams, where he is projected by some as a first round pick this season.
GG Jackson, F, South Carolina: Originally in the high school class of 2023, Jackson decided to reclassify and play for South Carolina late in the recruiting cycle. That decision has really allowed Jackson to take center stage for South Carolina in the SEC, as he is fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 16.2 points per game.
Jackson has also proved he can rebound the ball at a high level with seven rebounds per game, ranking seventh in the SEC in that category. Jackson will likely be playing in the NBA next season, and has put up pro-like numbers during his one season in Columbia so far.
Donovan Clingan, C, UConn: We mentioned earlier that the numbers don't tell the whole story with Cason Wallace, and they definitely don't tell it with Clingan.
The 7'2 center from Bristol, Connecticut is "only averaging eight points and six rebounds per game" - but doing it in just 13 minutes of play per game. That's due in large part to playing alongside preseason Big East Player of the Year Adama Sanogo, but still, it doesn't change the fact that Clingan is averaging a staggering 27 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks per 40 minutes.
That's just absurd production, let alone a player who few - outside the UConn fan-base - knew about coming into the year.
To see Aaron Torres Media's Mid-Season All-American teams, click here
Follow Zac Krull on Twitter @ZacKrull_
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