Part 1 – posted yesterday – included some big names and studs who are putting up crazy numbers. Those ballers have earned their stripes. They are insanely athletic and are having fantastic years. The next 10 on the Wooden Award consideration list are having just as crazy years and are just as insanely athletic. Let’s dig back into the next studs on the list.
Wowza. This man has some numbers to share so hold onto your socks. First, He is averaging 25/4/4. Second, he’s shooting 43% from three point land. Third, 3 of his last 4 games, Howard has put up 30+ points. Lastly, he’s played 24 games this season and in 21 of them, he’s finished with at least 15 points. In 16 games he has played, he has scored at least 20 points. Howard has had 7 games with 30+, 2 games with 45 points, and his high scoring game this year is 53. Fifty-fucking-three. Marquette has been playing at an insanely high level and they’ll continue that as long as Howard stays healthy and continues to play at about the highest level as everyone on this list.
Hunter joins Cavalier teammate Kyle Guy on the watchlist. Hunter is averaging 14 points, 5 rebounds and is shooting 52% from the field this season. That includes 41% from behind the arc. Hunter has been very consistent this season and has only 3 games all season with under 10 points scored. A big, lanky part of the pack line defense that Tony Bennett runs, Hunter has been shutting opponents down. Virginia’s studs will remain on this list as they continue to dominate opponents and stay ranked in the top 5 in the AP Poll.
One of the best NCAA National Championship games of all-time came between Memphis and Kansas in 2008. Ironically, Lawson has transferred from the loser of that game, Memphis, to the winner, Kansas. In what has been a down year for Kansas, Lawson has been elite. Averaging 19 points and 10 boards and shooting 51%, Lawson has been a bright spot. Now with Lagerald Vick out indefinitely, we’ll see if Lawson can put the team on his back and lead Kansas into March.
Another Nevada Wolfpack member on the list of the Wooden Award Top 20, Martin is the leader of this very successful Wolfpack team. In the NCAA tournament last year, Nevada found their way into the Sweet 16 as a surprise. They were cut short by the Cinderella story in Loyola-Chicago, but nonetheless Martin is at the forefront of Nevada’s successes. Nevada is at 23-1 this season and that’s in part to Martin averaging 19 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal a game. You will see Nevada as a high seed and you will see them deep into the tournament. That means you will hear about Caleb Martin and see his great leadership on display.
Temetrius Jamel “Ja” Morant, is the guy who is from a mid-major who lights it up, has insane highlights and makes himself a lottery pick. The 6 foot 3 inch, sophomore is the best definition of a human highlight reel I think we’ve seen other than someone else on this list in a long while. He will be the only player to average 20+ points and 10+ assists if he continues this pace. That being said, that’s not all he does. Morant is also averaging 5 boards a game and is shooting 50% from the field AND 2 steals even a night. WOWZA. He’s my favorite not-my-team player and a favorite for this award.
A good contender for the All-Name team, Shamorie will be on a number of other teams that will mean a lot more like the All-Big East team. Averaging 20, 5, 5 and 2.7 steals A GAME. Elite level defense from the guard position and a well-rounded talent, Ponds has St. John’s as a Big East power again. They’re looking to earn a trip to the big dance and you’ll know about Shamorie sooner rather than later.
I’m not sold on Tennessee as the best team in the country, but I am sold on the this man’s talent. Admiral Schofield is a 6 foot 6 inch baller who has continually gotten better over his 4 years in school. This year, as a senior, Schofield is averaging 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal per game. Shooting 49% from the field and 40% from downtown, Schofield is a big reason that the Volunteers have maintained their top rank recently. Like I said, I’m skeptical on how good the Volunteers are as a team, but I am very sure of how talented and good Schofield is as an individual.
Another pair of teammates on the list, Williams follows his teammate, Admiral Schofield. Schofield has been a model of consistency for the Volunteers over the last couple years and now they have Williams who is playing out of his mind this season. Putting up great numbers across the entire stat sheet, Williams is averaging 20 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, and 1 block and steal a piece per night this season. The 6 foot 7 inch forward is using his big frame to shoot 58% from the field. A stud for the Volunteers, Williams can continue to put his name on this list as long as he continues to fill the stat sheet.
It’s hard to not hate Duke. Whether you’re a UNC fan or not, it’s hard not to hate how good Duke continues to be over the years. However, you can’t hate Zion. Arguably the most athletic basketball player I’ve ever seen, Williamson has continued his phenomenal highlights from high school into his freshman year at Duke. Putting up crazy numbers like 20 points and 20 boards in some games, Williamson has lived up to the hype. Overall, Zion is averaging 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals a game. That’s incredible, absolutely incredible. All you need to know is that this hype train isn’t slowing down as long as he keeps playing well. If he can develop that outside shot, watch out.
The last player on this list, Winston isn’t the least important on this list. Winston is averaging 18 and 7 assists for a really good Michigan State team this year. Shooting 44% from downtown, Winston is running the point for the Sparty and doing it really well. Tom Izzo’s teams usually make deep runs into March so don’t be surprised when you hear Winston’s name being called for going on a run of a few 3 point shots made or for making some picture perfect passes and facilitating the Spartans offense.
The Top 20 players in the country right now is what this list is about. However, there’s something to be said for the fact that these guys are also making their teams really, really good. It is going to be so fun to see some of these guys facing each other in March and very possibly in late March when things get fun. There is no doubt that these players all have a good shot to shine on the national stage and will showcase their incredible talents. I can’t wait for this list to be shortened over the next few weeks.