Dick Vitale has now joined the ranks of many other college basketball writers/announcers who have thrown out some early predictions for next season. Vitale’s predictions from today are in regard to which players he thinks will be frontrunners to contend for the National Player of the Year Award. Vitale mentions that the race is wide open, despite his favorites, while also conceding that though it’s nearly impossible to gauge the precise impact of a talented freshmen– Nerlens Noel is worth mentioning– though not as one of his candidates.
The race is pretty wide open. Last year, diaper dandy Anthony Davis was a dominant defensive performer as he walked away with most of the POY honors. This season, it is again possible for a freshman to come in and make some major noise.
Nerlens Noel of Kentucky and Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA come to mind. I don’t like to pick diaper dandies as my preseason player of the year. I thought it was unfair for Harrison Barnes of North Carolina to be on the AP preseason All-America team before he ever played a game at Chapel Hill.
Vitale then listed his three leading candidates, all of which showcase to me exactly how weak the overall landscape of college basketball will be next season: Cody Zeller (Indiana), Isaiah Canaan (Murray State) and Doug McDermott (Creighton). While all of those players are returning players who have had very successful college campaigns thus far, not a single one of those players is in the same echelon for me as Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, or some of the other super stars who have been the best player in college basketball in recent memory.
Would you have picked any of those players ahead of the top 5-10 players selected in this year’s NBA Draft? Perhaps you would have, but not with certainty. This year could be one of the more wide open in recent college basketball history. The freak athlete/super-star players just aren’t really there. A few freshmen have the potential, but they are unproven and do not come in with the same guaranteed feeling that say an Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did.
I took one look at Vitale’s list and thought to myself, “those can’t be the 3 best options for that award next year.” And then I thought about it a little longer and couldn’t necessarily come up with a list much longer of players who were head and shoulders above the 3 on the list. Tom Crean might throw Will Sheehey on the list.
Who do you see as being the potential winners of the National Player of the Year Award in 2012-2013?