JAY BILAS MID-SEASON AWARDS
Midseason All-America, First Team
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John Wall has instantly transformed Kentucky into a title contender.
Guard: John Wall, Kentucky. Wall is the most explosive player in the college game, has led his team to an undefeated start and might just be the best player on any team, of any age. He is averaging 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game, all while shooting an impressive 51 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the free throw line. Sure, Wall also averages four turnovers per game, but he has spearheaded an incredible turnaround in Lexington that would not have occurred without his presence. The fastest player in the country with the ball in his hands, Wall is more explosive and more efficient than Derrick Rose was in his rookie season, and so far, he has been every bit the same winner.
Guard: Jon Scheyer, Duke. No player in the country has been as efficient with the ball as Scheyer has been. While not a true point guard, Scheyer has proven to be next to impossible to speed up, and he keeps his dribble and makes plays on the floor. He is not a great passer; he consistently makes good passes and good decisions. Scheyer leads the nation with a 4.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, and when guarded by smaller point guards he will work off the ball and take advantage of defenders not used to playing off the ball. The only defenders who have had success against Scheyer are athletic guards with size, but they haven't had much success against him this season. Scheyer is averaging 20 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.2 steals, and he is knocking down 46 percent of his shots, 41 percent of his 3-balls and 91 percent of his free throws. He is making three 3-point field goals and five free throws per game. There are several other guards who are having great seasons and will be better pro prospects, but there aren't many who have had comparable seasons to date.
Forward: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse. Not many transfers enter college basketball, especially on a good team, so seamlessly. Johnson, in his first season in orange after leaving Iowa State, plays on both ends of the floor, and is very good in the open court. He has been the go-to scorer for Syracuse and has been an outstanding back-line rebounder and defender in Jim Boeheim's zone. Johnson is super athletic and very skilled, and he reminds you of a better shooting and rebounding version of Shawn Marion. Johnson is averaging 17.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.5 offensive rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 2 blocks per game. He is shooting 57 percent from the field, 48 percent from long distance and 75 percent from the line, and he does not take bad shots.
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Damion James is ranked in the top 10 in the nation in rebounding.
Forward: Damion James, Texas. James is a great advertisement for staying in school and making more money as a result. Instead of just going to the NBA, James will get there and stay there as a result of coming back to college. James is averaging 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 offensive rebounds, 1.5 steals and an assist and a block per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field, 34 percent from 3-point range and 67 percent from the line. James has been a vocal leader, and nobody plays harder. He has made winning plays in many of the Longhorns' biggest victories.
Center: Luke Harangody, Notre Dame. Some may believe that Harangody has not won at the same level of the other first-teamers, but it is not his doing. At times a volume shooter, Harangody has continued to be impossible to shut down and as productive a player as there is in the nation. Barring something strange befalling him, Harangody will lead the Big East in scoring and rebounding for the third straight season. As conference play begins, Harangody is averaging 25 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2 assists, while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the line. Harangody can step away, he can face you up and drive, and despite the best interior defenders and detailed scouting reports, nobody in the Big East can shut the big redhead down. Harangody will leave Notre Dame as the most productive big man ever in South Bend, and only Austin Carr will be in his category as an achiever on the stat sheet.
Best Perimeter Defender of the Midseason: Tie, Chris Kramer, Purdue and Dogus Balbay, Texas. Kramer is one of the toughest individual defenders to go against because he will not allow an easy catch, and he fights the opponent's best offensive player game in and game out. Balbay puts the best pressure on the ball of anyone I have seen all season long. With his ball pressure, teams have a difficult time running offense against Texas, and Balbay has taken more than one quality point guard out of the game this season.
Best Interior Defender of the Midseason: Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State. The long-armed, athletic shot-blocker and rebounder has averaged 11 rebounds per game and a national-best 80 blocks on the season, which comes out to 5 blocks per game. Varnado's presence is felt even more by the shots changed and discouraged, which far outnumber the amount of blocked shots.
Best Coach of the Midseason: John Calipari, Kentucky. The job that Calipari has done in Lexington is nothing short of remarkable. To have the Wildcats, a team so young it should be referred to as Kittens, still unbeaten is an amazing job. Kentucky is getting better and better, and with the talent assembled by Calipari, there is little reason to believe that the Cats will not be playing in the NCAA tournament's second weekend or beyond.
Most Improved Player of the Midseason: Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh. Gibbs has emerged as the Panthers' best player, and has been truly outstanding all season long. He makes great reads, comes off screens well and consistently knocks down shots under pressure. Pittsburgh has changed its offensive focus to get Gibbs jump shots, and his effective use of screens and reading defenses has opened up opportunities for teammates. No way is Pittsburgh this good without Gibbs.
I would agree with most of those picks good job jay.
Scottie Reynolds is playing absolutely out of his mind, I know its tough to put only 2 guards in the midseason awards, but i think he deserves a spot as well. He isn't a super athlete but every time I watch him play he always gets the job done, very crafty and extremely clutch
i agree scottie has been doing his thing. i think him and maybe another player could be on there if there were more spots
Scottie Reynolds was lights out last night v. Louisville...He's a good scorer in college.
Jimmer Fredette...can't say it enough guys.
hes a good player but no one knows how good because of the omp hes playng against so he cant be put in the same catagory as those other guys. if you include him you have to include the guy who leads thenation in rebounding and scoring and the kid from seattle
He poured 33 and 6 assists on Armon Johnson who is an NBA prospect in his own right. Last season he put up 23 and 9 assists while being guarded by Jeff Teague. He is the real deal. And I am sorry but 49 points is a huge deal no matter who yoou are playing.
I think Scottie Reynolds deserves some consideration, but then again, Jon Scheyer has been doing his thing and we know about John Wall. Pittman of UT has done a very good job as well.
you would think its a huge deal but it obviously isnt to nba scouts since hes not high on anyones list. scouts tend to liek a guy putting up 18 in a big conference more then a guy putting up 30 in a smaller conference. i mean you can argue as much as you want for him and maybe he is as good as some of these other guys but its not gonna change what scouts or writers think about him. there are many other fans of low major teams who have the same arguement as you do. 49 points is alot of points but there have been guys who have lead college in scoring who didnt even get drafted. its always gonna be hard fro a 6'2 or possibly 6'1 pg who's more of a sg to get respect when they play in the mountain west instead of the big east,acc,big 12, pac 10
and not to pik on him or jeff teauge but just because a guy has nba ability on offense doesnt mean they are good defenders. we tend to get that a lil mixed up. most of the time the best offensive player on teams arent there best defenders. and many times they arent really that good on defense because they spend so much energy on offense
We are talking about college awards here not NBA potential. He is averaging 21 points and 5 assists for a 16-1 team. With convincing wins over solid teams like Arizona State, Nebraska, UNLV, and UTEP. I don't see why his hype can't be similar to Steph Curry's in terms of a college player. Curry's team did worse last season and he was still and all-american. Fredette is for real and deserves to be at least a second team All-American.
arizona st nebraska unlv utep?..how good do you think those teams are?..we arent talking about arizona st last year or unlv with larry johnson or nebraska with erick piakoski ..come on now if you wanna talk college players heres a few
ill take all those guy son the college level over the byu kid. and that doesnt include nba potential
nebraska is at the bottom of the big 12 arizona state is in the middle of a very down pac 10 leauge utep is in the middle of conference usa although unlv is in the middle of the moutain west. each team has lost a good 3 or four games and im not talking about loses to teams like unc have played (excluding college of charlston). i know u like the guy but thees also reality as well. curry proved what he could do against duke and in the ncaa tournament. youre boy is no curry
fredette's a tough player but if he played in a better conference his numbers would be significantly lowered
Curry proved what he could do in the tourney. Fredette has proven what he can do against legit NBA prospects. Let's just ignore the fact that he dropped 23 and 9 on Jeff Teague and 33 and 6 on Armon Johnson. I can't wait until tourney time when he explodes and really makes a name for himself. The guy is a threat from everywhere on the court and everyone will be asking where he came from and I will say I told you so.