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National Award Watch: Mid-season Leaders

 

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With the college basketball season flying by, I’d like to stop and take the time to hand out my mid-season awards. Of course these players might not finish strong, but so far they’ve done plenty to deserve the honors. Let’s get the ball rollin’.

To start off, let’s get it out of the way and crown forward Thomas Robinson (Kansas junior) the national player of the year. Robinson emerged as a frontrunner a few weeks into the season and hasn’t looked back since. The dominant big man has put up staggering numbers and deserves the honor more than any other player in the country. This one’s not even close.

Freshman of the year might need to be split in half this year. Last year in high school the two swapped spots as the number one overall ranked player a couple times, and this year we know why. Duke’s guard Austin Rivers and Kentucky’s center Anthony Davis have been nothing short of spectacular. Rivers has been a great scoring addition and surprisingly has been a leader for the Blue Devils as just a freshman. Davis has been the best inside defender in college basketball without a doubt. His rebounding and blocks numbers are off the charts.

Defensive Player of the Year will also be headed to Lexington, and will also go to Davis. He’s gone against some of the best in the country and has emerged as a star defender as just a freshman. I’m sure he’ll be headed to the NBA at the end of the year, but if not Davis could provide some excitement and national titles for Kentucky in the coming years.

Coach of the Year is always a toss-up, but this year one candidate really sticks out. Missouri’s Frank Haith took the job in the off-season, leaving Miami for Columbia. Haith inherited all of former coach Mike Anderson’s players, which really is a solid nucleus, but no one saw this coming. Haith has switched the Tigers’ style and has the senior-laden squad bought in. Haith currently has Missouri ranked 4th in the country and tied at the top of the Big 12,

Now, onto the First Team All-Americans.

Guard: Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (sophomore)
Marshall has starred for the Heels in his first full season as a starter, passing all over defenses in just about every contest this year. He’s currently second in the country in assists at 9.8 per game.

Guard: Marcus Denmon, Missouri (senior)
I really didn’t want to make this pick due to my biased love for Missouri but when I looked at all the other candidates, Denmon deserved it. He’s currently averaging 18.0 points per game along with 5.3 rebounds per game for the 4th ranked team in the country.

Forward: Doug McDermott, Creighton (sophomore)
Harrison Barnes’ high school teammate is actually having a better season than he is. Averaging 23.3 points per game (3rd in the country) and 8.4 rebounds per game, McDermott has been the catalyst for a Blue Jays squad currently ranked 15th in the country.

Forward: Thomas Robinson, Kansas (junior)
Robinson has been absolutely unstoppable for the Jayhawks this year. He’s torn apart opposing front courts, with averages of 17.8 points per game and 12.0 rebounds per game, second in the country.

Center: Anthony Davis, Kentucky (freshman)
This kid has lived up to the hype. Although his uni-brow is a little ugly, his numbers are far from it. Averaging 14.0 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game and 4.8 blocks per game (yes, you read that correctly), Davis is one of the best inside defenders we’ve seen in a while.

Second Team:
Guard: Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette (senior)
Guard: J’Covan Brown, Texas (junior)
Forward: Kris Joseph, Syracuse (senior)
Forward: Kevin Jones, West Virginia (senior)
Forward: Draymond Green, Michigan State (senior)

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