Wooden Watch: Week 11
The college basketball season is starting to heat up in the midst of conference play. The shift in power from the ACC to the Big Ten is evident, but the best players in the nation continue to garner the most attention. The Wooden watch is better than ever with certain players separating themselves from the pack. Let’s look at some of the candidates for this year’s Wooden Award.
Jordan Nwora, Louisville
Louisville is undoubtedly one of the top teams in the country, and Jordan Nwora is the reason why. Nwora is the exact model of the stretch forward in today’s version of basketball that will simply help a team with just his presence on the court. He shoots 48% from the field and averages an impressive 20 points while often being the main ball-handler.
The consistency in the ability to make shots while playing lock-down defense simultaneously makes him a special player. The confidence he has as the alpha of the Cardinals program allows him to pull up and hit shots many other talented players can’t make. Nwora is the frontrunner for ACC Player of the Year, but he has bigger goals in mind for his Cardinals program, such as winning the national championship.
Luka Garza, Iowa
Luka Doncic is apparently not the only basketball star with the first name Luka with Iowa’s Luka Garza making a name for himself. It is crazy to think that Garza is not mentioned by people when considering the best players in college basketball because his stats certainly stand out. The 6-foot-11-inch center leads a 12-5 Hawkeyes team in scoring and rebounding while averaging a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Garza dominates every single game he plays in the Big Ten, arguably the best conference in the nation. Unfortunately for Garza, the lack of a supporting cast will hinder his chances at the Wooden Award, but he certainly deserves a chance at the award with his powerful game.
Markus Howard, Marquette
The senior guard from Marquette has been one of the most electric players to watch in college basketball since Zion Williamson and Trae Young. Howard is a walking bucket, averaging 27 points per game, and his scoring totals have improved every single year at Marquette. The biggest question about Howard is if he will be able to lead his Golden Eagles to a win in March, as he got torched by Ja Morant and Murray State last year.
The Wooden Award is Howard’s to lose with the entertaining game style he has, but he will need to be consistent with his scoring all year to secure it. Keeping the same scoring prowess while leading Marquette to a top-25 season would give him a better-than-average chance to win the award.
Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Before the season started, Cassius Winston was the frontrunner for every award he could possibly win. He is one of the best guards in the nation and one of the best team leaders. Winston got off to a rough and emotional start earlier in the season with the death of his brother, which clearly affected his form and resulted in people hopping off the hype train.
All Winston has done to respond to the critics is average 18 points and six assists per game while continuing to be the leader for a Michigan State team that ranks first in the Big Ten. If the 6-foot-1-inch point guard continues the stellar play, he will give himself a great chance to win the Wooden Award.
Ben Geller is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.