First ever televised College Basketball Player of the Year Awards featured the greats from this past season
SPECIAL NOTE: This blog is dedicated in the memory of Lauren Hill (no, not the one-time Playboy Playmate who shares the same name), but the 19 year old Mount St. Joseph’s forward who died this past Friday from brain cancer, who famously scored her team’s first and last points of their team’s season.
Lauren was definitely a true inspiration from all who knew her best. Too often, we hear how courageous and wholesome these student-athletes turn out to be in their daily lives. No question, she will be remembered with a big heart and a boatload of memories to carry on the rest of our time on Earth and beyond.
Hosted by Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg, Jay Williams, and Michelle Beadle from Los Angeles–Wendy’s was the chief sponsor of the event.
The show moved at a rather methodical pace, but it did feature plenty of dunks. Lots to fill an entire book worth, if you asked me as an over 36 year superfan of the sport.
For those that might have missed out on the ESPN telecast, the winners were:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year:
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
I figured Frank would win, largely because how he could change how opponents play the game. He could beat you inside and outside. In other instances, he would shut down the opponent’s ability to get inside the paint. Considering he wasn’t well known around campus, let alone in the Big Ten when he was a freshman–this guy certainly has proven many people wrong.
Jerry West Shooting Guard:
D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State
Only a freshman, Russell has made quite an impact for the Buckeyes. Will it lead to future Final Four glory if he sticks around all four years? Stick around and see.
Bob Cousy Shooting Guard:
The only Hall of Famer that was not able to attend the ceremony, but he had some kind words to share via video.
The winner was:
D’Angelo Russell, Utah
Another key freshman, the Utes are definitely national contenders going forward after their surprising Sweet 16 run this past March.
Julius Erving Small Forward:
Stanley Johnson, Arizona
Johnson was a key drive to Arizona’s repeat run to the Elite Eight, although his team was stopped short twice by the Wisconsin Badgers in southern California. However, he really shined the most when his team needed key stops on the defensive end of the floor in crunch time. That’s the hallmark of what separates a good player from the very best–almost cut like Amare Stoudamire was in 2005 during that Sweet 16 game besting Oklahoma State in the Midwest Regional that took place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois (just a few short roads away from O’Hare, for all of you jet-setters reading this on your smartphones).
Karl Malone Power Forward:
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (yes, the L is silent).
A Second Team All ACC member, he definitely can be a first teamer depending on how his off season workouts and his early play can help things come November.
Women’s John R. Wooden Player of the Year
This is the 12th season of the women’s award.
The nominees were:
Nina Davis, Baylor
Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina
Kaleena Mosqueto-Lewis, Connecticut
Breanna Stewart, Connecticut
This was a no-doubter, with Breanna being the first ever women’s player to win three consecutive Most Outstanding Players at the Final Four. Just before she possibly attempts to bring more gold for the United States in Rio, will UConn be able to make it 4 for 4 next April? For the time being, what memories she has created and we all can do as fans is simply admire and salute everything that she has accomplished. Nice job, Breanna.
Men’s Wooden Award:
The nominees were:
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Jahill Okafor, Duke
D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State
If you managed to catch the taped piece of Frank raising the height of a plastic basket and hoop, some random people outside of Staples Center managed to make the shot 20 feet above the ground.
And even Seth Greenberg had to quip this little gem of a comment:
“You managed to become one of the few guys to score on Frank Kaminsky.”
Standing 7 feet and weighing 242 pounds, here were Frank’s impressive college statistics for future posterity.
All stats compiled by CBSSports.com.
|Career Shooting Stats|
Want some final proof? Notice how his senior season was simply magical:
|11/14||vs. Northern Kentucky||W 62-31||31||7-12||1-5||1-4||0||11||11||4||2||1||1||2||16|
|11/16||vs. Chattanooga||W 89-45||26||5-11||3-5||2-2||2||8||10||4||2||0||1||1||15|
|11/19||vs. Green Bay||W 84-60||32||8-13||0-3||4-6||5||10||15||2||1||7||1||1||20|
|11/22||vs. Boise State||W 78-54||30||11-13||4-5||0-0||2||3||5||1||1||3||2||0||26|
|11/26||vs. UAB||W 72-43||27||7-12||0-1||2-2||0||8||8||3||2||3||0||4||16|
|11/27||vs. Georgetown||W 68-65||37||1-8||0-4||4-8||0||4||4||2||3||1||2||2||6|
|11/28||vs. Oklahoma||W 69-56||24||6-11||3-4||2-3||2||6||8||1||3||1||1||2||17|
|12/03||vs. Duke||L 70-80||35||5-12||2-4||5-8||2||7||9||2||2||1||0||2||17|
|12/06||at Marquette||W 49-38||38||5-9||1-1||4-4||2||8||10||1||2||3||4||2||15|
|12/10||at Wisconsin-Milwaukee||W 93-54||23||7-14||0-1||4-4||0||4||4||1||1||1||0||1||18|
|12/13||vs. Nicholls State||W 86-43||23||5-8||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||4||0||0||1||1||10|
|12/22||at California||W 68-56||31||5-13||1-2||3-3||1||7||8||1||2||1||1||0||14|
|12/28||vs. Buffalo||W 68-56||38||9-16||1-3||6-7||3||8||11||2||3||6||1||2||25|
|12/31||vs. Penn State||W 89-72||33||7-13||0-2||4-4||2||12||14||2||1||0||1||2||18|
|01/04||at Northwestern||W 81-58||24||6-13||0-2||4-6||1||9||10||6||2||1||2||0||16|
|01/07||vs. Purdue||W 62-55||36||5-9||0-2||11-14||1||3||4||0||0||1||1||2||21|
|01/15||vs. Nebraska||W 70-55||30||7-11||4-5||4-4||3||2||5||2||1||2||0||2||22|
|01/20||vs. Iowa||W 82-50||30||5-10||1-3||2-3||3||8||11||6||2||1||0||0||13|
|01/24||at Michigan||W 69-64||43||8-13||0-0||6-8||2||7||9||1||1||0||0||2||22|
|01/31||at Iowa||W 74-63||36||7-14||2-4||8-9||1||8||9||1||3||0||0||1||24|
|02/03||vs. Indiana||W 92-78||30||9-12||0-0||5-7||1||5||6||3||1||2||0||0||23|
|02/07||vs. Northwestern||W 65-50||31||3-7||1-2||5-6||1||6||7||5||3||0||0||3||12|
|02/10||at Nebraska||W 65-55||38||4-9||0-2||5-7||2||10||12||4||2||3||0||1||13|
|02/15||vs. Illinois||W 68-49||35||11-16||0-0||1-3||2||9||11||1||1||0||1||0||23|
|02/18||at Penn State||W 55-47||37||4-12||1-3||7-8||1||8||9||2||0||1||1||3||16|
|02/21||vs. Minnesota||W 63-53||36||9-13||2-3||1-2||0||5||5||3||1||3||1||1||21|
|02/24||at Maryland||L 53-59||36||7-14||0-2||4-7||2||6||8||2||2||1||0||2||18|
|03/01||vs. Michigan State||W 68-61||37||11-17||3-4||6-8||2||6||8||3||1||3||2||1||31|
|03/05||at Minnesota||W 76-63||40||10-15||2-4||3-4||0||6||6||7||2||1||2||2||25|
|03/08||at Ohio State||W 72-48||31||9-13||0-2||2-2||0||5||5||3||2||1||1||5||20|
|03/13||vs. Michigan||W 71-60||31||6-12||0-1||4-4||3||9||12||2||0||0||0||2||16|
|03/14||vs. Purdue||W 71-51||34||6-12||0-3||0-0||2||3||5||5||1||3||3||1||12|
|03/15||vs. Michigan State||W 80-69||42||8-16||2-4||1-1||0||5||5||4||3||1||0||0||19|
|03/20||vs. Coastal Carolina||W 86-72||35||10-14||3-5||4-5||3||9||12||4||0||1||0||2||27|
|03/22||vs. Oregon||W 72-65||38||6-13||0-0||4-5||2||5||7||2||2||0||1||1||16|
|03/26||vs. North Carolina||W 79-72||39||5-11||1-1||8-8||2||6||8||2||2||0||0||2||19|
|03/28||vs. Arizona||W 85-78||38||9-20||1-2||10-12||1||5||6||1||4||1||1||3||29|
|04/04||at Kentucky||W 71-64||37||7-11||1-3||5-6||1||10||11||2||3||2||0||3||20|
|04/06||vs. Duke||L 63-68||39||7-16||2-4||5-6||1||11||12||2||1||1||1||2||21|
Outside of Michelle Beadle and R2D2 of Star Wars fame presiding a rather lackluster slam dunk competition with four guys pretending to shoot dumb layups on video, the award show was a fun one to watch.
I surely hope it will become a staple of early April television viewing when it is mostly become Golf Central with everything Masters related like the major American cathedrals of sports do that capture our minds and our imaginations, just like the Kentucky Derby and the Indianapolis 500 every May, the Rose Bowl every January 1 (or 2nd), and of course, the NCAA Tournament for those 2 1/2 weeks every March spilling into the first days occupying April.
As I leave you all for the time being, another big splash happened in the coaching ranks as former two-time champion point guard from Duke in Bobby Hurley has left Buffalo take over for another former Duke great in Jeff Capel as the new head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils in the rebuilding Pac-12.
Depending on what type of players Hurley recruits, it will be very interesting to see if they manage to make my list come the last week of October for my annual college hoops preview blog.
At least, there promises to be no shortage of key news. I will try my best to chime in periodically if there is any other coaching moves or players transferring and maybe staying eligible after next season. Look also for my commentary on any rules changes which could be adopted by the NABC. And coming in June, I will have some thoughts about the “One and Done” rule implemented by the NBA a few years back and why it is so difficult to keep track of your favorite college players which end up collecting bigger and fatter paychecks and delaying their real chance of earning a solid education in the building blocks, one chain builds the link game we all call life.
Thanks again to all who read my blogs on your smartphones or in my case, with the TV like monitors on your laptops and trusty desktops.
It was both an honor and a pleasure to be your guiding force on all key developments that affected men’s college basketball during a truly memorable 2014-2015 season.
When we all gather again in about seven months, who knows what will happen and which 68 teams will hear their names called in time for Selection Sunday of March 13, 2016?
Hope to see most of you then. In the meantime, if you want to simply kick off your shoes/sandals and just relax, please again point your browsers to the most calming and relaxing music anywhere north of the Amazon River and that is all things Samba and Bossa Nova in the ever evolving world of Brazilian Legends and Rising Artists:
For now, the best song I can close this season out with is a classic from 1981 by legendary rock group Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, since “Waiting Is The Hardest Part”:
Take care, everybody!