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Providence’s Kris Dunn leads our National Player of the Year Rankings
- Updated: January 14, 2016
Who’s the National Player of the Year in college basketball?
We’re breaking down the race, every Thursday, right here on RoundballDaily.com.
1. Kris Dunn, G, Providence. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield and LSU’s Ben Simmons might get more headlines, but Dunn is truly the best player in the country. The Greatest Providence Player Since Marvin Barnes does everything for the Friars, putting up 17.9 points, 7 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game. He’s like a college version of Gary Payton. Oh yeah, and he’s got a knack for taking over at the right time, too. Just ask Creighton:
2. Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma. Buddy took over the top spot in the national conciousness after his spectacular 46-point performance in the Sooners’ triple overtime loss at Kansas, and he hasn’t let up since, hanging 31 in a win Saturday over Kansas State and putting up 26 in OU’s 74-72 win at Oklahoma State. The Bahaman ranks second in the nation in scoring (26.6 ppg), but he doesn’t bring as much to the table as Dunn, who fills up statsheets like a Clark Kellogg dream.
3. Ben Simmons, F, LSU. The freshman is averaging a double-double (20.6 ppg, 13.1 rpg), and putting up numbers rivaled in recent times only by Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley. LSU isn’t winning enough (they’re 10-6), and may very well miss the NCAA Tournament, which will hurt Simmons’ chances. Still though, there’s no question that this kid is special. He will be the top pick in next year’s NBA Draft.
4. Brice Johnson, F, North Carolina. The senior forward burst onto the scene with an insane 39-point, 23-rebound performance at Florida State on January 4. Unfortunately for Brice, that was the same night Buddy Hield went for 46 at Kansas. He’s been solid otherwise, averaging 16.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. North Carolina is 15-2.
5. Denzel Valentine, G, Michigan State. This year’s Draymond Green is far and away the most important player for Michigan State, and the Spartans have struggled when Valentine went down with a knee injury, needing overtime to beat Oakland in Auburn Hills and getting blasted on the road at Iowa. He returned Sunday at Penn State, putting up 10 points, 4 assists and 4 boards in 23 minutes. For the season, Valentine is averaging 17.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.
6. Grayson Allen, G, Duke. He’s the latest in a long line of annoying white Duke players (Dickie V is already comparing him to John Havlicek before every commercial break), but you’ve got to admit: this kid can ball. Allen’s averaging 20.5 points per game and shooting a ridiculous 48 percent from the field and 40 from three. And he’s just a sophomore. He’s going to be annoying for two more years.
7. Georges Niang, F, Iowa State. Niang is one of the most versatile forwards in the country, as he can take you down low and drain a three in your face. The senior is averaging 20 points and 7 boards per game, though the Cyclones have struggled to start Big 12 play (1-3).
8. Stefan Moody, G, Mississippi. The senior guard is carrying the Rebels (12-4), averaging 23.9 points and 4 assists per game. On Thursday night, he pulled up and drained shots from the “L” and the “U” of LSU’s midcourt logo. He’s like a smaller, shiftier Jimmer Fredette. Moody is shooting 41 percent from the field, and put up 29 and 33 in his last two games, against Georgia and at LSU, respectively.
9. Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah. He’s the best pure big man in the country this season, averaging 17 points and 9.4 boards to go along with 2 blocks per game. The Austrian native had 19 and 14 in a win over Duke at the Garden earlier this season, and put up 26 and 13 in a win over BYU. He can take over any game, and will be the key for the Utes come NCAA Tournament time.
10. Nic Moore, G, SMU. This guy doesn’t get enough love. The 5-9 senior is one of the best passing point guards in the country, averaging nearly 5 assists per game. He’s also putting up over 16 points and shooting 44% from three-point range. SMU is the nation’s last undefeated team.