- Jason King
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Editor’s Note: We took a poll of 59 actual national POY voters. Who are they picking? Click here to find out.
On Saturday I watched Anthony Davis score 28 points, grab 11 rebounds and block six shots in a win over Vanderbilt and was convinced he should win the Wooden Award.
Within hours, I had changed my mind.
In what was easily one of the most pressure-packed games in the history of Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas forward Thomas Robinson turned in a performance that should end any doubt that he is the player most deserving of this award. Robinson’s 28 points and 12 rebounds helped the Jayhawks rally from a 19-point deficit to beat then-No. 3 ranked Missouri in a win that clinched an eighth straight Big 12 title for the Jayhawks.
Robinson converted a traditional three-point play to tie the score with 16 seconds remaining in regulation. Moments later he blocked a game-winning lay-up attempt by Tigers guard Phil Pressey to send the game into overtime. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. Robinson did that Saturday -- just like he has all season.
Thomas Robinson, Kansas: The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 17.8 points and 11.8 rebounds -- both team-highs -- in what will almost certainly be his final college season. His 28 points against Missouri were two shy of his season-high. Robinson’s numbers are even more impressive considering he consistently faces double and triple teams.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky: Davis’ season-high 28 points against Vanderbilt came on a day when he missed just one of his 11 field goal attempts. Davis continues to improve offensively but, on the defensive end, he is one of the top players the college game has seen in quite some time.
Draymond Green, Michigan State: Can somebody give the big fella a little help? Green scored more than half (29) of his team’s points in Tuesday’s 70-55 loss at Indiana. And he made 10 of the Spartans’ 20 field goals. The senior won’t be able to get past Robinson or Davis in the Wooden Award race, but he’s the leading candidate to be the player of the year in the nation’s top conference.
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina: The Tar Heels’ 7-footer took a huge step toward claiming ACC Player of the Year honors with a dominating performance in Saturday’s win over Virginia. Zeller scored 20 points while holding Cavaliers standout Mike Scott to six points on 3-of-13 shooting. Something tells me Zeller will be motivated for Saturday’s rematch against Duke.
Jae Crowder, Marquette: A week ago Crowder’s teammate, Darius Johnson-Odom, occupied the No. 5 slot. Crowder, though, has been Marquette’s best player down the stretch. He’s averaging 26.3 points in the Golden Eagles’ last four games and 17.4 points on the season. Crowder leads Marquette in rebounds with 7.6 per game.
On the cusp:
Will Barton, Memphis: Not many players have flown under the radar this season quite like Barton, a 6-foot-6 guard who leads the Tigers in points (18.3) and rebounds (8.1). He’s the main reason Memphis is one win away from the outright Conference USA title.
Isaiah Canaan, Murray State: The senior All-American candidate averaged 21 points in his final two regular-season games, both victories. The Racers will take a 28-1 record into the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament thanks to Canaan.
Marcus Denmon, Missouri: The shooting guard put on one of the best performances of his career when he scored 28 points against Kansas Saturday. The senior is a second-team All-American at worst.
John Henson, North Carolina: It seems as if a different Tar Heel finds his way onto this list every week. This time the honor goes to Henson, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds against Virginia Saturday. He’s the top defensive presence in the country not named Anthony Davis.
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette: The senior sat out the first half of Friday’s win at West Virginia for violating team rules, but he returned after intermission and scored nine points in the Golden Eagles’ 61-60 come-from-behind victory. He averages a team-high 18.4 points.
Kevin Jones, West Virginia: Jones would be on his way to earning first-team All-American honors if not for the Mountaineers’ recent slide. West Virginia has lost seven of its last 10 games and is in danger of missing the NCAA tournament. Jones, however, is averaging 20 points and 11.2 rebounds.
Kris Joseph, Syracuse: With 21 points, Joseph was the main reason Syracuse was able to eke out a 71-69 win at Connecticut Saturday. He leads the nation’s second-ranked team in scoring with 14.2 points per game.
Doug McDermott, Creighton: After a brief semi-slump, the Bluejays forward is back to his old self on the offensive end. He’s averaging 24.3 points during Creighton’s current four-game winning streak.
Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas: No major-college point guard in the country has been as good as Taylor since the start of conference play. He’s averaging a team-high 18.4 points and shooting 50.4 percent from the field against Big 12 opponents.
Cody Zeller, Indiana: The Hoosiers tout wins against three top-five teams (Kentucky, Ohio State and Michigan State). Zeller is the main reason. The freshman averages 15.5 points. He had 18 in Tuesday’s victory over the Spartans.
Editor’s Note: We took a poll of 59 actual national POY voters. Who are they picking? Click here to find out. On Saturday I watched Anthony Davis score 28 points, grab 11 rebounds and block six shots in a win over Vanderbilt and was convinced he should win the Wooden Award.