MJ's opening tip: POY candidates
This week’s list:
The talent pool in college basketball took a major hit, with most of the game’s top players from last season bolting to the NBA or exhausting eligibility. Here’s a look at 10 players who could be in the conversation for National Player of the Year:
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
The 6-foot-8, 235-pounder has broken a couple of backboards and is lobbying to play football for the Cardinals. But the likely lottery pick, who averaged 14 points and 8.4 boards last season, should stick to hoops.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona
The talented sophomore is regarded as one of the country’s top small forwards, and with an improved jumper, he’s going to be a lottery pick.
Stanley Johnson, Arizona
The freshman from southern California impressed at the LeBron James Skills Academy and likely will be one-and-done in the desert.
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
No returning player had more buzz about him after the NCAA tournament than the Lisle big man, who was named the West Regional’s Most Outstanding Player.
Caris LeVert, Michigan
The skinny wing had a breakout sophomore campaign and will be asked to do a lot with Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III off to the NBA.
Georges Niang, Iowa State
Averaged 16.7 points and 4.5 rebounds before breaking his foot in the NCAA tournament, and the big man has sculpted his body since, losing 25 pounds this offseason.
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
The News-Gazette’s All-State Player of the Year is the centerpiece of a Blue Devils squad some are saying might be Coach K’s most talented.
Marcus Paige, North Carolina
After being pressed into action early in his career, the junior guard is now comfortable in his role as the go-to guy for the Tar Heels.
Karl Towns, Kentucky
The 7-footer was named the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year, one year after top draft pick Andrew Wiggins received the same honor.
Fred Van Vleet, Wichita State
Everyone loves a point guard who wins, and that’s all the Rockford product has done with the Shockers his first two years.