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Let me start with a disclaimer and say that I'm a Wooden Award voter.
|Victor Oladipo is as important to Indiana's success as any other Hoosier.|
I know the omissions on the midseason Top 25 list won't win the national player of the year award.
At this juncture, it looks like a three-person race for the honor, with Duke's Mason Plumlee, Creighton's Doug McDermott and Michigan's Trey Burke in the mix.
But I must add two players who were missed, but who made my ballot: Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk.
I've been touting the impact of Oladipo throughout this season. He is a game-changer. He makes winning plays and has altered the way Indiana plays the game.
Oladipo's energy is infectious. He reads the passing lanes and creates points off turnovers.
He is averaging 13.3 points and 5.9 rebounds, has picked off 35 steals, and is shooting nearly 48 percent on 3s.
But it is his ability to take Indiana to another level that has changed the Hoosiers.
Indiana will win the national title if Oladipo is heavily involved.
He is as integral to this team as any other starter.
Should he be on the Top 25 list? Yes.
And if he continues to play in the same manner, Oladipo must be included on some All-American lists at season's end.
Olynyk would be my choice from Gonzaga if you had to choose one.
|Kelly Olynyk has become a consistent scoring machine for Gonzaga.|
I'm not sure another player has come back from a redshirt year and changed his body as much as Olynyk has, while becoming more skilled and productive.
He gives the Zags one of the toughest matchups in the country because he can make a face-up shot and put the ball on the court and drive, and he also has post-up skills.
Olynyk leads one of the most versatile teams in the country in scoring (17 points per game) and is a solid rebounder (6.6 per game).
He has handled the challenges in the WCC. Olynyk scored 33 points at Santa Clara and put up 17 points in the first half against rival Saint Mary's on Thursday night, finishing with 31.
He has scored consistently in wins over Oklahoma State (21 points), Baylor (21), Kansas State (20) and Washington State (22).
I'm not sure how anyone watching Gonzaga wouldn't see Olynyk as the team's most valuable player. He may end up being one of the top forwards in the country, positioned next to Plumlee and McDermott on a first-team All-American list.
He is that important and has been critical to the Zags' sensational start.
I'm quibbling on two players, but they should have been given their due for the work they've done midway through the season.