Freshman tracker: Simmons ahead of the pack in nonconference play

Through the previous five weeks of the Freshman Tracker, players have been ranked based solely on their performance in a given week. With nonconference play coming to a close and the stakes about to rise in conference play, today's "freshmen 15" will be ranked on their overall performance this season.

Again, keep in mind this list isn't about potential NBA draft status -- so there will be no Skal Labissiere from Kentucky even though he's considered by most experts to be a top-five pick if he submits his name.

It's not about the hype and the name some players built before arriving on campus -- so Mississippi State's Malik Newman did not make the list.

And it's not about simply who is putting up the most points -- so there will be no Marcus Evans from Rice, who is currently the top freshman scorer in the nation averaging 19.7 points per game.

A number of factors are taken into account including level of competition, performance in big games and overall team success.

Next week, the tracker will return to rating which freshmen had the best week. But for now, consider these players as having had the best seasons so far. Included with the first five is one NBA scout's take on each player:

First five

1. Ben Simmons, F, LSU Tigers

19.1 points per game, 13.1 rebounds per game, 5.8 assists per game

Simmons has continually impressed with his ability to fill out a stat sheet. And he could stand to be even more single-minded when it comes to scoring.

Best performance: 43 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks, 5 steals in a win over North Florida.

Scout's take: "He's got the natural gifts. The athleticism is there. He'll never be Ray Allen, but his shooting will improve. The thing he's got to understand is he's got to play at a high level at all times and take no prisoners."