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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sullinger takes over stats-based POY honors

By Eamonn Brennan

Last week, Ken Pomeroy -- the man who runs the site that makes you at least 50 percent smarter about college basketball -- debuted his kPOY award tracking. You don't have to be an acronyms whiz to figure out kPOY is Ken's personal, tempo-free-based player of the year award.

Last week's debut post featured Kentucky freshman Terrence Jones as the nation's top performer to date, with Wisconsin's Jon Leuer and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger close behind. Sullinger and Jones are more obvious selections, but Leuer's No. 2 spot (though aided by a probably-set-to-drop 48 percent mark from beyond the arc) shows the power of tempo-free stats. Leuer is underrated across the country, plays in a brutally slow offensive system, and probably won't get much more than the occasional dark-horse mention for player of the year honors this season. But if you're willing to look past all that, you get a player deserving of far more.

That's not the case in this week's standings, which Pomeroy released Wednesday. After figuring out a few historic would-be winners based on the current formula, Ken reveals that Sullinger has leapfrogged both Leuer and Jones for the No. 1 spot. After those three come Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette, Derrick Williams, E'Twaun Moore, Nolan Smith, Kawhi Leonard, and JaJuan Johnson.

In other words, while some (though not ESPN's own Doug Gottlieb, who made this proclamation Saturday) have seemed hesitant to crown Jared Sullinger as the best freshman in the country, let alone the best player, the stats tell otherwise. Sullinger hasn't just been a great freshman. He's been a great player, period.

Anyway, it's something to keep an eye on. And you should probably read Ken's post, if only to revisit just how unbelievably awesome Michael Beasley and Kevin Love both were in 2007-08. Looking at Beasley's college numbers is a sublime pleasure that only gets better with age.