Every year, the NCAA Basketball Tournament awards a prize to the player judged to be the “Most Outstanding Player” for that year. Last year, the top spot was taken by Kyle Guy from Virginia – who has now gone on to bigger and better things as a team member at the Sacramento Kings. But as the NCAA March Madness bracket printables get downloaded and the season hots up, who’s in the running for the award this year?
The prize, which like many such leading player awards is given by the Associated Press, looks set to come at the end of a tough race. There are plenty of amazing candidates in the running, including everyone from Jordan Nwora to Vernon Carey Jr. The top players are located at colleges across the country, and they’re all at the top end of the records when it comes to statistics. This article will explore the options and offer some tips on who might surge ahead.
Vernon Carey Jr.
Vernon Carey Jr. has been tentatively described by some as the frontrunner in the race, but there are certainly no guarantees for him. He’s part of the Duke Blue Devils, although as a freshman he’s managed to make a real name for himself in a short space of time. His performance statistics so far have been quite something. He’s been managing to average just over 18 points per game, for example, while his average block level is 2.1.
This Louisville junior student has already managed to get a few accolades under his belt – not least the ACC Preseason Player of the Year award, which has obviously given his star a rise. His average points level is superb at 20.9, while he’s also – notably – been averaging 7.7 rebounds per match. The Louisville Cardinals are up there as one of the most popular and also most successful teams in the league, although this could end up being either a blessing or a curse for Nwora.
It could, on the one hand, give him a chance to shine even further and show just what he can do. But there’s also a risk that his talents will end up being overshadowed by the other players on his team, many of whom are in a similar league to him when it comes to talent and quality. In short, only time is likely to tell just what position Nwora might be able to achieve.
No analysis of potential winners of this title would be complete without thinking of Filip Petrusev. He plays for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, which again – given their standing – puts him in the same sort of position as Jordan Nwora. Petrusev also boasts some great statistical prowess: he is both the leading scorer and the main rebounder for his side, so it’s easy to see why he is on the list.
Obi Toppin is a name which is still not quite so well known on the national stage, although it’s not clear why. Toppin, who plays for Dayton, is a prime example of a player who has a range of top statistics under his belt without actually getting the kind of national recognition he deserves. This top 40 player is phenomenal and has the averages to prove it. In an average game, for example, Toppin will come out with 1.3 blocks, more than two assists and even one steal. And he’s also a great shooter, with a record of shooting over 60% from the field.
Last, but certainly not least, is Luke Garza from Iowa. Rebounds are this guy’s strong point, and he’s managed to end up in the list of the leading 20 college players nationally thanks to his great average of 10.1 rebounds per game. He’s a reliable option for Iowa and has managed to secure nearly ten double-doubles in just 14 games. However, he is being outpaced on the statistics lists by some of his competitors for the top spot – and while that doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be able to get there in the end, it could be more of a fight for him than it is for some of the others.
There’s no way of knowing just yet which player will end up being the Most Outstanding Player, but there are certainly some good contenders. One thing’s for certain: whoever ends up scooping the title, they’ll have put up a good fight against the other high-quality competitors.