College Basketball has already delved into the wonderland that is conference play. Teams are beginning to gel. There are no more excuses for working out the kinks. Now is the time where you ride or die when building up that resume for the NCAA Tournament Committee. This is the point in the year where the boys get separated from the men. Over the next month and a half, bubbles will be formed and bubbles will burst.
So the question I pose to you all today. If the season ended today, who would be your National Player of the Year?
In my eyes, it is a 3 man race…
The first guy I have in mind is somewhat of a local guy. He played basketball in the Columbus area at Columbus Northland High School and now has taken his talents down the street to Buckeye Nation. I realize this kid is a freshman. But Jared Sullinger without a doubt has taken over the John Wall role. He is not only the top diaper dandy in the country, but also quite possibly the best all around player. Sullinger is averaging nearly 18 points and 10 rebounds a game. He is the unquestioned star of the undefeated and number 1 ranked team in the entire country. Jared is the cog that makes the Buckeyes roll. He is the reason why I guaranteed Ohio State would make the Final Four this year well over a year ago on this very blog. Rumor has it that Jared will be back for a 2nd year in Columbus. His return would be just as shocking as Andrew Luck deciding to stay at Stanford in my eyes. Either way, he has put himself in a great position to take home a National Title. Can the Buckeyes do it?
Another prime candidate is a guy that has really burst onto the national scene over the past couple of weeks. He probably has the coolest name of any of my top 3 candidates. I am of course talking about the scoring machine from BYU, Jimmer Fredette. This kid leads the country in scoring, and seems to only get better as the games get bigger. Just ask formerly undefeated San Diego State about what happened on Wednesday night. Fredette is scoring over 27 points a game and has gone for 40+ in the past 2 games. Now I realize Kobe had a much longer streak of games like this for the Lakers a few years back, but this is not the NBA. Jimmer is the Jimmy Chitwood of College Basketball. He is becoming a mega star.
Now the 3rd guy I have in mind, and this is also the frontrunner in my eyes, will come as no surprise to any of you. This was supposed to be a somewhat down year for the Connecticut Huskies. If there is such a thing. Well Kemba put a quick end to that with a phenomenal week in Maui. But the Kemba Show did not just end it Maui. It is still going. He currently is averaging 24+ points a game to go with 4 assists. UConn is currently ranked 5th and sports a 17 and 2 record. Many are saying that Kemba is the no brainer player of the year pick. And to that, I say, not so fast my friends. There is still plenty of basketball to be played.
In my eyes, Sullinger does not have the raw numbers at this point to overtake Kemba or Jimmer. Not to mention his team is stronger all around than either of the other candidates, so he is therefore just a hint less valuable. As for Jimmer, if he was at UConn, he would be my frontrunner. Sadly for Fredette though, he does not get to play under the bright lights nearly as often as Kemba. He is having a phenomenal year, but so is Walker. Therefore Kemba is my pick at this point.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.