Juju Watkins and the 5 best freshmen in women's college basketball this season

From JuJu Watkins to MiLaysia Fulwiley, here are the freshman phenoms who are lighting up the women's college basketball season.
NCAA Women's Basketball: Cal Poly SLO at Southern California
NCAA Women's Basketball: Cal Poly SLO at Southern California / Kirby Lee/GettyImages
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Nov. 9, 2022, saw some of what would be (in my opinion) the heaviest hitters coming into the women's college basketball scene since the 2000s. 

After the lengthy rollouts, graphics, press releases and content dust settled, we come in with a group of young women ready to shake the table. This ain’t Love & Basketball when Monica is struggling to solidify herself and gain minutes… the 2023 freshman class was coming full steam ahead for their collegiate debuts.

With the likes of JuJu Watkins, Hannah Hidalgo, MiLaysia Fulwiley and more leading the incoming class of freshman talent, it’s safe to say that women’s basketball is in good hands. So let’s take a quick starting five approach to five freshman notables in the DI circuit, starting with five-star JuJu herself…

1. JuJu Watkins, USC: The SoCal Floor General

Seven Pac-12 Freshman of the Week selections, second in the nation on points per game (26.8), AND part of a top-10 recruiting class under Lindsay Gottlieb, Watkins is the first name on our list. She came in with a slew of accolades before putting on a Trojan jersey ... so when you hear coaches talk about Floor Generals … she is definitely the photo they used in the basketball dictionary. 

With court vision that puts a Ring Camera to shame, Watkins uses her size, surroundings and skillfulness to ensure she and her teammates get the most out of each play on offense. We got a glimpse of this energy in her 32-point collegiate debut against Ohio State, which was an anomaly within itself.

Defensively, she's just as effective, racking up 57 boards and putting up at least a steal every game.

Watkins went on to rack up four 30-burgers over the course of six games to surpass Lisa Leslie's longstanding freshman record of 30-point games in the program. She leaves not one strip of wood untouched when the ball is in the Trojans' possession. Defensively, she makes her presence known as well, grabbing defensive boards and racking up steals to complement the transition offense.

But JuJu isn't the only one who can put on a show at the guard position from the class of 2023.