College basketball is loaded with talent this year, and you could probably argue 10 other guys that could be on this list. It’s not often the projected #1 overall pick isn’t up for the Wooden, but Markelle Fultz ain’t getting his team to the tourney this year, and that’s a big problem for me. So if Fultz isn’t in the running, who is? Let’s find out.
#5 Dillon Brooks, Junior, Oregon:
Not many people have Brooks in the conversation for the Wooden, and I just don’t see why. This kid is the heart and soul of the #6 team in the country, and right in the thick of it to win Pac 12 POY. Brooks is averaging 15.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 2.9 RPG which aren’t nearly as impressive of numbers as the rest of the field. But this kid is ice cold and always shows up in crunch time, and that’s more important than any stat in my book.
#4 Caleb Swanigan, Sophomore, Purdue:
A lot of people are much higher on Swanigan than I am, and I can’t blame them. He’s putting up 18.8 PPG and 12.6 RPG. He’s a nightmare to deal with in the paint, and is the engine for his team. Swanigan will likely find himself going in the 1st round this June, and could build a strong case to go in the lottery if he take his team dancing in March.
#3 Lonzo Ball, Freshman, UCLA:
Lonzo is doing everything he can to catch Markelle Fultz at the top NBA big boards, and don’t look now but I think this kid’s starting to put together a serious case to go #1 in June. Most players coming in as high recruits can’t live up to the hype, but Lonzo is one of the rare breads that’s been able to exceed everyone’s lofty expectations.
#2 Josh Hart, Senior, Villanova:
A lot of people thought Hart fucked up by not entering the draft last year, thinking his stock would never be higher after winning the Natty. Well, Hart has made it very clear to everyone that he made no such mistake. He’s putting up 18.6 buckets per game and adding 6.5 boards as a guard. He’s the go-to man on a 27-3 Wildcats team that seems destined to make another deep run in March.
#1 Frank Mason III, Senior, Kansas:
Mason has become a do it all kinda guy for Kansas this year. He’s always been a solid player as a 3 year starter at the point, but this year he’s turned into a different kind of animal. He’s jumped from averaging 12.9 PPG to 20.2 this year. Mason often looks like a man against boys on the court, constantly making game changing plays on both ends of the court. The Jayhawks offense runs through Mason as he’s the unquestioned leader of his team. This team has the talent to go all the way this year, but they’ll only go as far as Mason takes them.