Georgetown's Otto Porter has a chance to be the first sophomore to win the Wooden Award winner since Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin in 2008-09.
Editor's Note: Over the next three days, we’ll be making the case for each of the top five finalists for national player of the year. Coming Tuesday: Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk and Creighton’s Doug McDermott: Wednesday: Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Michigan’s Trey Burke.
It can be argued that Porter is as valuable to his team as any player is in college basketball, at least according to Win Shares (which estimates the number of wins contributed by a player due to his offense and defense).
Porter is the only player in Division I averaging at least 16 points, seven rebounds and two steals per game and shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent on 3-point attempts. In fact, he's the only D-I player to put up those numbers since New Mexico's Danny Granger in 2004-05.
Most Win Shares
Big East Conference
Porter improved dramatically as a scorer after Greg Whittington was ruled academically ineligible following Georgetown's loss to Pittsburgh on Jan. 8. Porter averaged 12.8 points per game with Whittington in the lineup, but is averaging 19 per game without him.
In one of the Hoyas’ biggest games of the season -- Feb. 23 at Syracuse -- Porter put together arguably the best game of his career. He scored 33 of Georgetown’s 57 points on 12 of 19 shooting, including 5-of-10 on 3-point attempts. He set career highs in points, field goals, field goal attempts, 3-pointers and 3-point attempts.
A lot of the talk has been about Porter’s offense, but his defense might be even more valuable to the Hoyas. When Porter grabs at least seven rebounds, Georgetown is 17-0 this season. Porter has the second-best defensive rating among Wooden Award finalists, behind only Kansas center Jeff Withey.
So why is Porter so effective?
He averages 1.54 points per play in transition, the second most in Division I (minimum 50 plays), and 1.23 points per play on catch-and-shoot jumpers, the fifth most in the Big East (minimum 75 plays).
Porter allows 0.67 points per play in man defense as an on-ball defender, seventh best in the Big East (minimum 115 plays).
Porter has a chance to be the first Georgetown player to win the Wooden Award, and would be the third Big East player to win it (Walter Berry in 1985-86 and Chris Mullin in 1984-85, both from St. John's).