Wooden Award Watch: Week 2
As we conclude the second half of the college basketball regular season, we are beginning to see who could potentially take home this year’s Wooden Award. Although this season may not have the depth of players that past seasons have had, there have definitely been a few standout performers. Here are two of the favorites for college basketball's most prestigious award:
Ja Morant, Murray State:
Much has been made recently of Ja Mortant’s ability and NBA stock. However, not enough has been said about the run he has the Racers on this season. Murray State has a 21-4 overall record and are 12-2 record in conference play. Most of this is because of Morant’s incredible play, averaging 24.3 points, 10.2 assists, two steals and 5.5 rebounds per game. Morant certainly has the numbers to justify winning the award.
Morant has elevated the level of Murray State as a whole and gives them the ability to beat any team in the country. Even in losses like the one against a big program such as Auburn, Morant’s 25 points in a near triple-double effort saw the unknown Racers lose by five points to one of the better teams in the country at the time. What makes this even more impressive is that Morant still nearly led his team to victory when two starters didn’t score a single point in Murray State’s eight-man rotation. Since then, the Racers have only improved and are playing basketball that can contend with any team in the country. As a result, Morant deserves serious consideration for the Wooden Award despite his team playing in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Cassius Winston, Michigan State:
The Big 10 is unanimously recognized as one of the most talented and competitive conferences in all of college basketball this season. In first place is the always dangerous Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans would not be nearly as good as they are if it wasn’t for their star player Cassius Winston. Winston leads the team in points, assists and steals. In addition to this Winston is an incredibly efficient shooter shooting 46 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3. However, nothing proves Winston is qualified for the Wooden Award more than his consistent output every game. Regardless of the opponent Winston will always have the Spartans offense run extremely efficiently. Michigan State is 15th in the country in field goal percentage. That’s an incredible mark for a team that plays in a conference as competitive as the Big 10 is. It's all due to the looks Winston creates for himself along with his team mates. If Winston continues his production and Michigan State can win the rest of its remaining games, which includes two games against rival and top-10 ranked Michigan, he will just better his chances to take home this prestigious award. Winston’s consistency, efficiency and leadership is what could earn him the Wooden Award at the end of the season.
Nicholas Prince is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email him email@example.com.