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Thursday, February 24, 2011
Jimmer Fredette still atop POY poll

By Eamonn Brennan

The buzz surrounding Nolan Smith's player of the year candidacy has grown lately, but has it been enough to stop the runaway train that is Jimmer Fredette? Not so much, no.

Yes, Fredette is still leading Mike Rothstein's AnnArbor.com player of the year straw poll. (Which, for the uninitiated, is a just-for-fun poll of of 50 journalists who cast real-world votes on the various player of the year awards.) But Fredette isn't just leading. He's pulling away.

According to Rothstein, despite nine fewer voters participating than the previous time, Fredette still managed to expand his hold on the top spot. He received 40 of the 50 first-place votes and 133 total points, while the second-place recipient, Jared Sullinger, received a mere five first-place votes and 64 points. Despite a recent uptick in performance, Kemba Walker's candidacy now appears nascent. Walker didn't notch a single first-place vote and finished fourth overall in points. (Other candidates getting love: Derrick Williams, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Jordan Taylor, and Kenneth Faried.)

And what about Smith, whose still-budding candidacy (I think) probably presents the greatest challenge to the reign of Fredette going forward? Smith finished with five first-place votes and 52 total points, good for third place overall. If Smith keeps playing as well as he has in ACC play -- and he has been brilliant for months now -- the crazies who constantly tweet me links to his POY campaign might get some measure of return on their investment. But will it be enough to unseat The Jimmer? If Fredette keeps casually tossing 34 points at the board (even on off-shooting nights like Wednesday), it's hard to imagine him fading down the stretch.