It is time for me to unveil my picks for Conference Player of the Year for each of the Big Six conferences (Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC, and PAC-10). After the National Championship, I will announce my Player of the Year. Are you fired up?
Big East Connecticut Point Guard Kemba Walker
Before the season started, Connecticut was not an NCAA Tournament pick. Kemba Walker wasn’t an All-American pick. Now, UCONN is in the Final Four and Walker is a National Player of the Year contender. Times have changed for this team, and it all has to do with college basketball’s Mr. Clutch.
Just ask Pitt how amazing Kemba is. His dazzling shot to down them in the Big East Tournament at the last second was one of the many crazy shots that the star point guard hit in tough situations. The counting numbers show that he averaged 23 points per game, 5 boards, almost 5 assists, and almost 2 steals per game. Kemba Walker had the 4th best offensive rating according to KenPom. While Ben Hansbrough won the official award, Kemba was the one that deserved it.
Big Ten Ohio State Center Jared Sullinger
There isn’t much of an argument against Sully. The freshman sensation was rivaled to none, and he mowed over everybody that stood in his path. If you double teamed him, he showed his Shaq-like down-low passing and kicked it out to the many great shooters on his team. Sullinger was nearly impossible to stop. While guys like JaJuan Johnson deserve some merit, it was Sullinger who was the best rebounder in the conference and second most efficient scorer. All efficiency stats are from Kenpom.com.
Big 12 Kansas Power Forward Marcus Morris
Marcus and Markieff Morris are Kansas’s unstoppable twins. While Markieff had a terrific year, Marcus had the edge. There is a lot of talent in the Big 12, like Jordan Hamilton and Alec Burks, but it was Marcus Morris who was the league’s most efficient scorer. Morris was masterful on the inside, and he intimidated so many opposing bigs.
ACC Duke Point Guard Nolan Smith
All the hype was around freshman sensation Kyrie Irving, but it was Nolan Smith who had the big year. Irving missed most of the season with a toe injury, so Smith led the Blue Devils to another number one seed in the tournament. He was easily the team’s most important player, and Duke would have no hope without Smith on their team. Nolan was the second best passer in the ACC- behind Kendall Marshall- and he was involved in more possessions than any other player in the conference.
SEC Florida Small Forward Chandler Parsons
Parsons means everything to the Gators, and he is arguably the most versatile player in college basketball. He passes, gets boards, scores, and he is incredibly clutch. Parsons is one of the leaders and good guys of the game. While he isn’t a great shooter or scorer, he is unselfish and is one of the top ten rebounders in the SEC.
PAC-10 Arizona Power Forward Derrick Williams
I don’t think there is an argument against Williams for this award. Isaiah Thomas and Nikola Vucevic were great, but Williams was in a class of his own. He was everything to the Wildcats, and he was easily the the PAC-10’s most efficient player. Williams can shoot extremely well, get boards, draw an insane amount of fouls, and he has some really nice game-winning blocks.