Wooden Watch: Week 13
With just 45 days until Selection Sunday, the college basketball season has finally taken its shape… well, sort of. With all the ridiculous upsets that there have been this year, the final shape of the season requires plenty more basketball to be played. However, it is clear who some of the best players are this season. With no true dominant team this year, the door is open for a wide variety of players to showcase to the nation why they are worthy of the John R. Wooden Award for college basketball’s best player. Here are four potential candidates who have a shot at bringing home this coveted award.
Udoka Azubuike, Kansas
Coming into this season, Udoka Azubuike was commonly regarded as the best center in all of college basketball. Azubuike hasn’t been unstoppable like some thought he’d be, but there is no question how important he is for Kansas and their success. The 7-foot center from Nigeria has only improved his game over the past four seasons. Azubuike may be averaging only 13 points per game, but he’s seen increases in his field goal percentage, free throw percentage, rebounds per game, assist per game and blocks per game. He’s clearly taken his game up a few notches. It’s no wonder why Kansas has been one of the best teams in all of college basketball with Azubuike at center.
Jordan Nwora, Louisville
Louisville has been a bit of a shocker this season. No one doubted that the Cardinals were talented, but few expected this team to be as good as it has been. Much of that success has to be attributed to junior forward Jordan Nwora. After having a breakout sophomore season, Nwora has been nothing short of excellent this year. He’s averaging nearly 20 points per game and has improved his 3-point shooting greatly, from just 37.4% last year to 44% now. Nwora has his Cardinals right in the heart of the conversation for a potential No. 1 seed in March.
Cassius Winston, Michigan State
For many, Cassius Winston was the preseason favorite to win the Wooden Award. Up to this point, he hasn’t been as dominant as some hoped, but there is no question that Winston is still one of the premier players in college basketball. He’s averaging 18 points and six assists per game. More importantly, he has the Spartans in first place in a very competitive Big Ten conference. Although his stats are a bit down from last season, his leadership is what’s key, as he has Michigan State thinking that it can reach the Final Four in consecutive seasons.
Myles Powell, Seton Hall
The argument could be made that Myles Powell is currently the best player in college basketball. Powell has been awesome for the Pirates, which find themselves ranked in the AP top 10 for the first time since December 2000. This can be largely attributed to the play of Powell, who is averaging 22 points and five rebounds per game. The biggest factor for Powell is how clutch he has been, which is why many believe that he is the favorite to win the Wooden Award.
Mitch Broder is a sophomore majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Junior / Digital/Print Journalism
Mitch currently a junior at Penn State University in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications majoring in digital/print journalism. Mitch is currently a member of CommRadio, Penn State’s student-run radio station where he writes articles, hosts a radio talk show, beat writes/broadcasts live sporting events, contributes to Wednesday newscasts, and participates in podcasts about different sports. He’s also a contributor for the Buffalo Fanatics, which is a football blog focusing on the NFL and the Buffalo Bills in particular.