college basketball awards: Porter is Player of the Year


It's time to give out some awards. This time it wasn't nearly as clear-cut as it has been in recent years. The Player of the Year race was wide open, as was Freshman of the Year. Putting together the All-American teams wasn't easy, either.

Player of the Year

Otto Porter, Georgetown: We gave Porter the nod over the other guys in the mix because, well, he carried his team and didn't have nearly as much talent surrounding him as the other candidates. Porter does it all -- scores, rebounds, passes and defends. He lost his running mate and second-leading scorer early in conference play and the Hoyas still wound up earning a share of the Big East regular-season crown and a No. 2 NCAA seed. Porter's numbers in league play: 18.1 points, 7.3 boards while shooting 49 percent from the field, 81 percent from the line and 44 percent from 3-point range.

Freshman of the Year

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State: We're convinced Travis Ford likely would be out of a job if not for Smart, who does it all for the Cowboys. Smart averaged 15.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists for a team that wound up being in the Top 25 nearly all season and earned a No. 5 NCAA tournament seed.

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Coach of the Year

John Thompson III, Georgetown: The Hoyas lost three starters from last season's group, were picked seventh in the Big East before the season and then lost Greg Whittington in the middle of the season. Georgetown still managed to be in the hunt for a No. 1 overall seed and earned a share of the Big East regular-season crown.

Defensive Player of the Year

Aaron Craft, Ohio State: Usually this is reserved for a big man who protects the rim -- and Kansas' Jeff Withey certainly was considered. But Craft is a relentless on-ball defender who sets the tone for the Buckeyes with defensive intensity. He never takes a play off and makes it extremely difficult for opposing teams to get into their offense. He is as feared a perimeter defender as has come through college in years.

Comeback Player of the Year

Allan Chaney, High Point: Nearly died a few years ago when he collapsed after a workout while at Virginia Tech. Chaney had gone 1,346 days in between games, and averaged 14.4 points and eight rebounds this season for the Panthers.

Most Improved Player

Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga: He redshirted last season and came back an entirely different player. Averaged less than six points in his first two seasons in Spokane, but was the most dominant player on the west coast this season, averaging 17.5 points and 7.2 boards. No one made a bigger jump than Olynyk. First Team All-Americans

Trey Burke, G, Michigan: He scored (19.2 ppg), distributed (6.7 apg) and also led his young team. Michigan likely would have been an NIT club without him. Instead, the Wolverines were 26-7 despite having four freshmen among their top seven players in the rotation.

Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana: The Hoosiers won the outright Big Ten regular-season title -- and while Cody Zeller got most of the preseason hype, it was Oladipo who was the team's most consistent and productive player. He is a dominant perimeter defender and also averaged 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and shot 44 percent from beyond the arc.

Otto Porter, F, Georgetown: Our National Player of the Year was sensational, especially after Whittington was declared academically ineligible early in the Big East slate. Porter is versatile and led the Hoyas to a share of the Big East regular-season crown. His signature moment: Going for 33 points in a victory over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.

Doug McDermott, F, Creighton: His numbers are staggering and extremely efficient despite the fact he faced double-teams every time he touched the ball. Averaged 23.1 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and 86 percent from the line.

Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga: No one had an answer for the big Canadian. Olynyk made a huge leap this season and was virtually unstoppable. He made 65 percent of his shots and led the Zags to a WCC sweep and a No. 1 NCAA seed.

Second team

Shane Larkin, G, Miami: Barry Larkin's kid came out of nowhere and was the primary reason for the Canes' success. He is quick and has a maturity beyond his years. Averaged 14.6 points, 4.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc.

Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State: He may not shoot great, but this kid wins. He has all the intangibles and did a terrific job making the transition to playing point guard for the Cowboys.

Deshaun Thomas, F, Ohio State: Everyone game-planned for Thomas yet he was still able to score as well as just about anyone in the country. Thomas averaged 19.5 points and 6.2 boards and led the Buckeyes to 26 wins, a Big Ten tournament crown and a No. 2 NCAA seed.

Mason Plumlee, F, Duke: He was the best player in the country over the first two months, but his play fell off when Ryan Kelly went out with a foot injury. Still, Plumlee averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds for the Blue Devils.

Jeff Withey, C, Kansas: Waited his turn and made the most of it. The 7-footer has come a long way since he arrived in Lawrence. He was one of the elite big men in the nation, especially on the defensive end, where he grabbed more than eight rebounds and swatted almost four shots per game.

Third team

Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse: Barely played a year ago as a freshman and had a ton on his slender shoulders this season. He is extremely long and versatile. MCW averaged 12 points, 7.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.7 steals.

Ben McLemore, G, Kansas: He wasn't academically eligible to play last season in Lawrence but has been spectacular this season. He can score in a variety of ways and led the Jayhawks with 16.4 points per game.

Jamaal Franklin, F, San Diego State: Doesn't get enough pub because he plays out west, but Franklin's versatility is evident. He averaged 16.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists and also brings no shortage of toughness to the table.

Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV: Fell off a bit toward the end of the season because of a shoulder injury, but the big strong Canadian brought visions of Larry Johnson back to Vegas with his body and versatility. Averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 boards.

Cody Zeller, C, Indiana: Our Preseason Player of the Year didn't match that hype, but the sophomore big man still was extremely productive -- just not dominant. Zeller averaged 16.9 points and 8.2 rebounds. Freshman All-Americans

Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State: He's a winner. Period. Smart is our Freshman of the Year because of his ability to do a variety of things to impact winning.

Ben McLemore, G, Kansas: Was different from the other guys on the list in that he was on campus last year, but wasn't eligible. Quickly developed into the Jayhawks' go-to guy and became KU's leading scorer.

Shabazz Muhammad, F, UCLA: Came in as the No. 1 player in the country and had to sit the first three games because of an NCAA suspension. May not have lived up to the hype, but still was a presence offensively.

Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV: Was a monster for the first half of the season, but slowed down toward the end of the year because of a shoulder injury.

Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky: Missed the final eight games after suffering a torn ACL, but no one changed the game more than Noel on the defensive end. Plays hard and was on par with Anthony Davis in terms of his shot-altering and blocking abilities. Averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 boards and 4.4 blocks.


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