Naismith Award Watch
As we are only a little more than a month away from Selection Sunday it’s time to start looking ahead to yearly awards including the Naismith Award, awarded to the nation’s top player. Here are my five favorites at the moment.
1. Trae Young (Guard, Oklahoma)
The clear frontrunner for the Naismith award this season is Trae Young. The freshman guard from Oklahoma has been the best player in America by a longshot. Young has been kind of a surprise this season, but is now clearly on the national stage.
Young is leading the country in scoring (30.3 ppg) and assists (9.5 pg). He also ranks third in the nation with 90 3-pointers and is shooting them at a 40 percent clip. One negative to his game has been his turnovers, most in the NCAA at 5.3 per game.
Young has had four 40-point games this season and had a 22-assist game against Northwestern State. Young’s big games this season have pushed him to the front of the Naismith award race and looks to stay there.
2. Marvin Bagley III (Forward/Center, Duke)
The No. 1 recruit out of high school has led the Blue Devils to the No. 4 ranking in the country. Bagley had high expectations coming to Duke as he reclassified to enter college a year early. It’s safe to say he has lived up to the hype.
Bagley is averaging 21.5 points per game to go along with 11.4 rebounds a game. He has been superb on the offensive and defensive end, including being Duke’s best player by far. Bagley is a huge frontrunner for freshman of the year and will look to make up some ground on Young with a month left in the regular season.
3. Jalen Brunson (Guard, Villanova)
The best team in the country usually has someone to contend for player of the year and this year it’s going to be Jalen Brunson. The Nova guard is averaging 19.4 points to go along with five assists and three rebounds.
Brunson’s numbers aren’t the best in college basketball, but he is arguably the second-best point guard in NCAA behind Young. Brunson will continue to lead the most consistent team in the country.
4. Deandre Ayton (Forward, Arizona)
One of the best freshman in the country comes from Tucson. Deandre Ayton was a top-ten recruit coming into this season and has proved his worth.
After Arizona’s slow start, Ayton and the Wildcats have rebounded to their expected form. Ayton is averaging 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Ayton along with Alonzo Trier will look to push Arizona to a top seed in the tournament.
5. Jock Landale (Center, Saint Mary’s)
This is a little bit of a sleeper pick in center Jock Landale for Saint Mary’s. The Gaels don’t gain much national attention because they are on the West Coast and in WCC conference, but they are sneaky at No. 13 in the rankings with a 21-2 record.
Landale has been the leader for Saint Mary’s this season as he is averaging 22.1 points along with 10.4 rebounds. He probably win this award, but definitely deserves consideration for an All-American selection.
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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