This year, the Naismith Award, the award for the most outstanding division one basketball player in the Nation will shun some well deserving candidates, and contrary to Jimmer-mania, this isn’t a no- brainer.
If you had to pick just one player in college basketball, who would it be? There’s an entire nation of people that will cry bloody murder if Jimmer Fredette doesn’t get the award. And if this were an award that took popularity into account, then the Jimmer should have this award locked up.
Jimmer lead the nation in scoring at 28.5 points and 4.2 assists per game and he lead his team to a decent tournament run considering what he was working with. There’s no question he’s a talent, but is he the best player in college basketball? Nolan Smith, Jared Sullinger and Kemba Walker might have something to say about it.
Duke’s senior guard Nolan Smith had an extremely productive season and for much of the year many believed Smith was the best player in the country averaging 21.3 points and 5.2 assists per game. Smith was named the ACC Player of the Year and was one of just three players in the NCAA to average over 20 points and five assists this season.
Jake Sullinger and the Ohio State Buckeyes were dominant all season long. Sullinger emerged as the premier big man in the NCAA and recorded 17 double-doubles as a freshman for the Buckeyes. Sullinger was also awarded the 2011 Big 10 Tournament Most Outstanding Player award.
And then there’s Kemba Walker, the only one of the finalists still playing. In a perfect world, that should make him the winner, but that’s not how this works. Kemba has had an outstanding year, and is on the verge of having one of the single greatest seasons ever for a UCONN Huskie player.
Walker has been blistering down the stretch, he put on a show in the 2011 Big East Tournament, lighting it up from all angles en route to becoming the first player in the Big East to score 130 points in five games.
Kemba ended the Big East tournament championship run with an epic game winner and he’ll have an opportunity to get himself a National Championship in the final against Butler. Without question, if UCONN wins the National Championship, Walker will be named the tourney MOP.
Don’t expect to see any other name on the 2011 Naismith Trophy except Jimmer’s. With AT&T fans allowing fans to vote, Jimmer should have it taken care of, not one of the other finalists have the dedication in fan support like Jimmer -mania does.