At this point of the season, you need to have a closer. A guy you can give the nod and say, “Hey, I need you to take over this game”. Those guys are players that are usually finalists for the Wooden Award.
So today, I will be taking a look at 3 guys who are the favorites. This year, my top 3 favorites come from 3 different conferences, which in the past few years, one of these conferences has been a bit dull. So let’s get down to business.
The guy who is the favorite in this field has to be Lonzo Ball, the 6 foot 6 inch point-guard from UCLA. Ball is a remarkable player, who has come up clutch this season for the Bruins. Just look at that game against Dillon Brooks and the Oregon Ducks for an example. Ball is a guy who will go in the top 3 of next year’s NBA draft. He is the favorite based off the fact that he can take the ball to the rim and be lethal from downtown. He has a bit of an unorthodox stroke, but when it rains, it pours if you know what I mean. Ball could be the reason why UCLA could make a deep tourney run; he is the best player in the country.
Many people have this next kid in the top 10, but I have him in my top 3, that kid is Luke Kennard of Duke. Kennard has been averaging 20 a night for the Blue Devils, and has really taken this team over. This was Grayson Allen’s team, but now I think with the emergence of Kennard, Allen has sort of taken a backseat and Kennard is at the wheel. Kennard is in my top 3 because of his emergence. This expanded role for the sophomore is something I really did not see coming. With some more of the clutch gene, Kennard could be seen as the best in the country, which will come next year. But for now, he is easily in my top 3 for the Wooden.
Speaking of guys who average 20 a night, Frank Mason III, Kansas’s star PG, is my third name on the favorites list. Mason, even though it seems he’s been there since the Paul Pierce days, is in his senior year at KU. Mason may be considered to be the most reliable guard in all of college basketball due to the fact that his 3 point percentage is at 50%. Mason is one of the many reasons why Bill Self’s team has been successful this year. But consider him the quarterback of the Kansas team. When it comes to tourney time, Kansas will not need to fully rely on him, and that’s actually a good thing. But that will eventually hurt his chances at this award.
Honorable mentions goes to Malik Monk of Kentucky. With Monk, I think it’s one of those things where he needs De’Aaron Fox to be successful. Monk is a star, but he needs a partner to work off of to be a superstar.
I think the winner of the award is going to be Lonzo Ball. Ball is the favorite, but do not count out Kennard. I am not a fan of Frank Mason, nothing against him, but I am not a Kansas guy. I think it’s going to come down to the clutch gene, and I think that’s where Ball wins it.
So write it in, Lonzo Ball will be the Wooden Award winner.