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January 11, 2013

01/11/2013 - 8:57am

Their are a few NCAA most valuable player awards and the John R. Wooden award, named after the legendary UCLA coach, usually seen as the biggest. The Mid-Season Top 25 list was announced with these names:

Anthony Bennett, UNLV

Laurence Bowers, Missouri

Trey Burke, Michigan

Isaiah Canaan, Murray State

Michael Carter Williams, Syracuse

Jack Cooley, Notre Dame

Seth Curry, Duke

Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State

Erick Green, Virginia Tech

Elias Harris, Gonzaga

Pierre Jackson, Baylor

Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati

CJ McCollum, Lehigh

Doug McDermott, Creighton

Ben McLemore, Kansas

Brandon Paul, Illinois

Mason Plumlee, Duke

Otto Porter, Georgetown

Phil Pressey, Missouri

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

Russ Smith, Louisville

Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State

Jeff Withey, Kansas

Nate Wolters, South Dakota State

Cody Zeller, Indiana

The only two players on the list who were Wooden All-American's last season were Isaiah Canaan and Doug McDermott. Three freshman were chosen with Anthony Bennett, Ben McLemore and Marcus Smart garnering notice. The list will be trimmed to 10 during the Elite 8 weekend with the winner announced during the weekend of the Final Four. Here is what NCAA Daily predicts as the 10 man Wooden All-American team:

  • Doug McDermott
  • Trey Burke
  • Cody Zeller
  • Mason Plumlee
  • Michael Carter-Williams
  • Deshaun Thomas
  • Laurence Bowers
  • Pierre Jackson
  • Jeff Withey
  • Anthony Bennett

My ommission of Isaiah Canaan is due to Murray State not having the same type of season as last year. Others who were close to the top 10 were Jamaal Franklin, Brandon Paul, Nate Wolters, Marcus Smart and Ben McLemore. In a sign that the conference still has a little ways to go, the Pac-12 did not have a single top 25 selection. Also, nobody ranked within the top 5 during the final 2012 HS rankings made the cut for the Midseason Wooden list.

01/11/2013 - 7:57am

As we are entering the midway point of the college basketball season, some of the major awards are starting to take shape. Every year at this time, the Bob Cousy award for the NCAA's top point guard trims its list to 20. These finalists were announced and instead of just telling the 20 names, lets rank them on the likelihood of coming home with this award. This of course will be ranked on their play up to this point and predicted play for the rest of the college season.

1. Trey Burke, Michigan

2. Michael Carter Williams, Syracuse

3. Pierre Jackson, Baylor

4. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

5. Nate Wolters, South Dakota State

6. Isaiah Canaan, Murray State

7. Erick Green, Virginia Tech

8. Ray McCallum, Detroit

9. Phil Pressey, Missouri

10. Lorenzo Brown, NC State

11. Peyton Siva, Louisville

12. Keith Appling, Michigan State

13. DJ Cooper, Ohio

14. Jahii Carson, Arizona State

15. Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga

16. Kendall Williams, New Mexico

17. Quinn Cook, Duke

18. Aaron Craft, Ohio State

19. Andre Hollins, Minnesota

20. Mark Lyons, Arizona

Was a tough list to make, though ultimately it looks like a two horse race between Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams. Even with Carter-Williams putting up incredible assist numbers, seems like this is Burke's award to lose. If he keeps up his production and impact during conference season, he will be in the running for National Player of the Year, much less the Big 10 award that was once thought to be a lock for Indiana's Cody Zeller.

While I would not have thought Pierre Jackson would be this high in the rankings, his play has been incredibly impressive. If Baylor has a strong Big 12 season, which seems entirely probable, he could hold off Kansas' Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey for Player of the Year honors. Marcus Smart will be in the Big 12 POY conversation as well, though Oklahoma State might have a tougher time in conference. Smart's all-around play definitely has him in talks of possible All-American status.

Flip Pressey's inconsistent shooting is the reason he falls so low, though I expect Missouri to really play well in their inaugural SEC stint. Nate Wolters, Isaiah Canaan and Ray McCallum all should really boost their numbers once conference play begins. The question will be whether they are still not penalized for playing in smaller conferences. Wolters played the best against top competition, though his missing a chance against Minnesota was a shame. Either way, those three are all near the top of most NCAA PG lists.

Erick Green might have been quite a bit higher, though it seems ACC play will be incredibly hard on Virginia Tech as far as the standings are concerned. His scoring is still very difficult to overlook, much less his value to the team that had some nice wins in non-conference play. Lorenzo Brown may have been the favorite pre-season and can still get back near the top of the list with a strong ACC season from NC State.

CJ McCollum's unfortunate broken foot more than likely cost him a top 3 spot on this list had he remained healthy for the season. The list as a whole was solid, though arguments could be made that there were a few snubs. Matthew Dellavedova of St. Mary's may be considered a SG, though he seems to be much more of a PG than, for instance, Mark Lyons. Lyons has had a nice season for a good team, though his PG abilities are not necessarily omnipresent. One other player that could have made a case was Eric Atkins of Notre Dame, who has an excellent assist to turnover ratio as well as much improved shooting from the field for a really strong Notre Dame team that seems to follow his lead.