CBS college basketball writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish started a new feature this week in which they track this season’s Player of the Year race. It’s no surprise that Jared Sullinger is the leading candidate, but there’s only one team with two players on their radar and that’s your very own Kentucky Wildcats, whose starting frontcourt makes up 20% of the list. Here’s what they said about Anthony Davis:
5. Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
Key stats: 12.3 ppg | 9.1 rpg | 4.5 bpg
The consensus No. 1 freshman in the country has lived up to expectations. He’s long, skilled, athletic — and can do it on both ends of the court. Davis already showed he is ready for the big time with his last-second block of North Carolina’s John Henson to preserve Kentucky’s win over the Tar Heels. You’re almost certainly looking at the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA Draft due to his potential, but Davis is producing as well.
And his partner in owning the paint, Terrence Jones:
8. Terrence Jones (Kentucky)
Key stats: 15.0 ppg | 7.5 rpg | 2.5 bpg
He’s certainly playing harder this season than he did last year as a freshman, but Jones remains inconsistent from game to game and even, at times, from play to play. But having said that, he’s more reliable this season, and while his overall numbers have dipped, his decision-making has improved.
It’s not really a shock that either of them are on the list, although before the season it might have seemed a little unlikely that Davis would end up ahead of Jones as far as POY hype this early in the year. Of course, if we really are just scratching the surface of what Davis can do on the court then we might see him ahead of everyone before it’s all over. And it wouldn’t be a surprise for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to be mentioned in conversations like these before the season is finished. He may not put up the numbers that Jones and Davis do (although he’s not too far off), but he is the catalyst for the best team in the country and that has to be worth something.
So as of now, Kentucky has two legitimate candidates for Player of the Year and one guy who could easily get in the discussion. Indiana has a Zeller. No, Dan Dakich. This would not be an upset.