Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Wooden Watch: Jason King's POY ballot
By Jason King
With one month remaining in the regular season, the battle for the Wooden Award appears to be a two-man race between Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. Right now I’m leaning toward Davis, the projected No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA draft. But you could definitely make an argument for Robinson, too. There are still plenty of opportunities for each to impress -- or regress. Here’s how I’d vote if the season ended today.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky - The 6-foot-10 Davis averaged 19 points, 7 rebounds and 6 blocks in the Wildcats’ most recent victories over South Carolina and Florida. He shot a collective 17-of-23 from the field in those two games. Davis’ presence alone affects the game on the defensive end.
Thomas Robinson, Kansas - Robinson had 20 points and 17 rebounds in a victory over Oklahoma before erupting for 25 and 13 in Saturday’s 74-71 loss at Missouri. When he’s playing his best, Robinson might be the toughest player in the country to stop in the paint. He’ll be tested Wednesday by Baylor’s Quincy Acy and Perry Jones III.
Kevin Jones, West Virginia - The senior forward continues to post gaudy stats - he’s scored 20 or more points in nine consecutive games - but his team is struggling. The Mountaineers have lost three of their past four contests, with the only victory coming in overtime against Big East bottom-feeder Providence. Impossible as it might seem, West Virginia may need Jones to do even more.
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State - The versatile Buckeyes forward averaged 21 points and 8 rebounds in victories over Wisconsin and Purdue. College basketball fans - and Wooden Award voters - have grown used to seeing Sullinger post impressive stat lines. It’d be a shame if they started taking him for granted.
Doug McDermott, Creighton - The Bluejays sophomore has averaged 21.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in the three games since the last Wooden Award ballot was released. Creighton, though, lost back-to-back contests at Northern Iowa and Evansville during that span. The setbacks certainly aren’t McDermott’s fault — but it’s definitely on him to make sure they don’t become a trend. Saturday’s home game against Wichita State is huge.
On the cusp:
Isaiah Canaan, Murray State - The leader of the nation’s only undefeated team had 32 points in last week’s victory over Southeast Missouri State. Canaan averages 18.9 points and shoots 47.1 percent from the field.
Draymond Green, Michigan State - Playing on basically one leg, the senior forward matched Michigan on the boards all by himself Sunday. Green had 16 boards while the Wolverines snared a collective 16.
John Henson, North Carolina - The junior had 17 points and 12 boards in Saturday’s victory over Maryland. Henson is averaging a double-double (14.3 points, 10 rebounds) on the season.
Perry Jones III, Baylor - Jones has scored 15 or more points in each of his past four games, but he’ll need to be more assertive than ever if the Bears have any hope of defeating Kansas in Waco, Texas, on Wednesday.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky - The freshman had 13 points and 13 rebounds in Tuesday’s win against No. 7 Florida. He’s one of the main reasons Kentucky is regarded as the nation’s best team.
Damian Lillard, Weber State - The guard had 40 points in Thursday’s win over Portland and 35 in a victory over Northern Colorado two days later. Lillard leads the nation with 25.5 points per game.
Scott Machado, Iona - The nation’s assists leader dropped 23 dimes and combined for 32 points in victories over Manhattan and Canisius. Machado leads the country with an average of 10 assists per game.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State - Moultrie’s presence - he averages 17 points and 11.1 boards - has taken some pressure off of highly scrutinized forward Renardo Sidney. As a result, both players have flourished.
Mike Scott, Virginia - The senior forward scored 16 points in Saturday’s 58-55 road loss at Florida State. He’s shooting an impressive 58.8 percent from the field on the season. Scott could burst onto the national scene with an impressive performance at North Carolina on Saturday.
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina - Most people are obsessed with Zeller’s younger brother, Cody, a standout freshman for Indiana. Tyler, though, has been equally impressive. He averaged 20 points and 12.5 rebounds last week.