Friday, December 10, 2010

No Respect: Top POY Candidates You Hear Nothing About

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Every year, an established player that returned is usually nabbed as a Preseason All-American, or placed in some elite group heading into the season.

Then, there are the freshman that are coming on strong, and usually get looks as a possible player of the year candidate. Or, some athletes that were lurking in the shadows have come out ready to showcase their skills.

That is a consistent theme in college, and we witness it year-in and year-out.

This year, you can make a case for Jared Sullinger from Ohio State as a POY contender, or freshman Kyrie Irving from Duke.

How about established players like Derrick Williams from Arizona, or Jimmer Fredette from BYU.

You have players like Tyler Honneycutt, and Kemba Walker having coming out seasons, which steals the spotlight away from other contenders that don't get enough attention.

Here is my selection of players who aren't getting enough love as a POY candidate:

Purdue Boilermakers (8-1) - JaJuan Johnson 6'10'' 220 lbs F
Purdue's JaJuan Johnson has been in double-figures in every game they've played this year. He has also racked up four double-digit rebound games, which translates into four double-doubles on the season.

Johnson has career totals in points with 17.6, rebounds with 8.1, blocks with 2.4 and assist with 1.2 per game.

Johnson led his team over Virginia Tech in OT, and continues to be impressive on the offense end. Johnson certainly has the caliber to become a POY recipient, if he can continue to attack the glass, and keep Purdue in the winning column, I think you'll hear more from him.

Washington State Cougars (6-1) - Klay Thompson 6'6'' 200 lbs G
Nobody expects a Naismith winner to come out of the Pac-10, at least while the conference is in turmoil. But, Klay Thompson is putting up some eye-popping numbers, as well as, leading this Cougars attack.

Thompson currently averages 21.6 points, five assist, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. I haven't seen numbers similar to that since Evan Turner.

With impressive performances to help the Cougars keep things interesting against Kansas State, and to watch Thompson come away with 24 points, six assist, and six rebounds, to go along with seven steals against Gonzaga, Thompson deserves to be in the conversation.

Kentucky Wildcats (6-2) - Terrence Jones 6'9'' 245 lbs F
Terrence Jones is the only freshman from the power six conferences to average a double-double. Jones currently averages 20 points, and pulls down 10.5 boards per game.

Interesting fact, Kentucky's freshman star Jones played less than thirty minutes in both losses this season because of foul trouble.

However, with Jones on the court for 30-plus minutes Kentucky is (6-0). Jones is such a freak of nature, and has the physical gifts of a second-level Lamar Odom. If Jones can continue to put Kentucky in position to win, he shouldn't be absent when talking about POY candidates.

Illinois Fighting Illini (9-1) - Demetri McCamey 6'3'' 200 lbs G
The Illinois Fighting Illini have taken care of business this season against Maryland, Gonzaga, and UNC.

Demetri McCamey, their senior leader, has stepped up big time for the Fighting Illini. He has become a better decision-making guard, which is one of the reasons why the Illini has one loss. McCamey isn't taking bad shots, or throwing the ball away on key possessions; for the most part.

This year, you're seeing a better decision-making McCamey, which will translate well in March. Everyone understands how beneficial point guard play is to a team, and the Illini possesses that with McCamey.

Pittsburgh Panthers (10-0) - Brad Wanamaker 6'4'' 210 G
Brad Wanamaker has the Panthers off to their best start since Pittsburgh was heartbroken later in the season on a last second layup by Scottie Reynolds.

This season, Wanamaker has been the most consistent player on the team. He averages 12.8 points, 5.7 assist, and 5.3 rebounds. This is all coming in 26.8 minutes of play, meaning his stats could rise with more playing time.

Wanamaker means a lot to this Pitt team, if he continues to stay consistent with his contributions, as well as keeping the Panthers in the winning column, Wanamaker can make a case for a Naismith award.

Kansas State Wildcats (8-1) - Jacob Pullen 6'0'' 200 G
Jacob Pullen was an early Preseason All-American, and should have been in the talks as of now. However, after turning in a four point, four turnover night, Pullen has dropped out of the talks.

However, Pullen is still averaging 16 points, four assist, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. Not to mention, he has three 20-plus games, and high assist nights.

Nonetheless, if Pullen wants to join the POY talks again, he has to step up on the big stage. He showed poise against Virginia Tech, and Gonzaga but not against Duke. He has to step his game up big time during conference play.

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