There are however 20 names on the most recent Watch List for the 2020-21 John R. Wooden Award. There are, after all, greater than 20 nice gamers in faculty basketball, together with a number of who’ve emerged in current weeks. With that in thoughts, ESPN.com’s panelists recognized a participant worthy of Wood consideration because the common season enters its ultimate weeks:
Not that you’re going to discover any filler on the present 20-player Wood Watch checklist, however should you needed to make a case for one unrepresented participant you thought belonged on the checklist, who wouldn’t it be?
Jeff Borzello, faculty basketball insider: So perhaps this is not the best week to demand his inclusion, however I used to be most stunned to see Virginia’s Jay Huff not on the checklist. He is coming off a four-point, two-rebound effort towards Florida State, however previous to that he was arguably the most effective participant within the ACC this season. His counting numbers aren’t as spectacular as these for Justin Champagnie or Ron Harper Jr. or somebody like that, however when accounting for Virginia’s tempo of play, he has been terrific.
In his first 12 ACC video games this season, Huff averaged 14.6 factors, 7.0 rebounds and a couple of.3 blocks — whereas capturing 46.7% from 3-point vary. He ranks within the prime 5 in ACC play in 2-point share, defensive rebounding share and block share, whereas rating tenth in 3-point share. And bear in mind, Huff is 7-foot-1. And he was doing all of that for a top-10 staff and the favourite to win the ACC.
Myron Medcalf, senior faculty basketball author: I feel I might go the non-Energy 5 route and add VCU’s Nah’Shon Hyland to the checklist. I feel the finalists are all particular they usually all have a legitimate case for inclusion, however Hyland has the uncooked numbers — 19.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.1 SPG and 39 % clip from the 3-point line — to warrant consideration and VCU can also be thirty third within the NET rankings after profitable seven of its final eight video games.
The sophomore has additionally turned VCU right into a defensive juggernaut. Mike Rhoades’ squad forces turnovers on 25 % of its opponents’ possessions with Hyland on the ground, per hooplens.com. He is additionally an 87 % shooter from the charity stripe. With Hyland, VCU has misplaced simply two video games since Dec. 2. The Rams may enter the NCAA match as one of many hottest groups within the nation, and Hyland may emerge as a star within the early rounds.
John Gasaway, faculty basketball author: I might humbly recommend to the Wood voters that they need to make room on the checklist for Utah State’s Neemias Queta. He is the main scorer for the Aggies, however in Craig Smith’s rotation there are 5 guys averaging between 9.5 and 12.5 factors. So by no means thoughts the counting stats and simply take a look at what Queta does.
If USU does make the match (proper now it is shut) he’ll be presumably the most effective rim defender within the subject of 68. His block share has ballooned since final yr, however he is making these swats whereas largely staying out of foul hassle and logging 70% of the obtainable minutes. Plus he is neck-and-neck with Rollie Worster for posting the best help charge among the many starters. Queta’s a flexible and never sometimes dominant 7-footer who does somewhat little bit of all the pieces (nicely, besides 3s).
Joe Lunardi, ESPN bracketologist: Am I the one one on the Cameron Krutwig bandwagon? The 6-9, 255-pound senior is similar participant who helped Loyola Chicago to the Closing 4 three years in the past, solely higher. Krutwig is an old-school faculty heart — suppose Villanova’s John Pinone within the early Eighties — who does the identical two issues exceptionally nicely: refill a field rating and win.
Krutwig is environment friendly (.582 FG share, .594 profession), he retains possessions alive (12.5 % offensive rebounding charge), he is among the many finest passing large males within the nation (26.2 % help charge) and he is sturdy (125 appearances and 121 begins in 126 attainable video games). And the Ramblers are a tidy 91-35 in his tenure (.722), together with the aforementioned Closing 4 and an virtually sure NCAA look subsequent month. If postseason honors are about faculty achievement and never professional potential, Krutwig belongs on the checklist.
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