When you look at college basketball, you have the preseason awards to generate interest. It is nice, but the key is to be honored at the end of the campaign.
We also want to reward those who did well in the nonconference schedule. Therefore, it is time to lay on you my midseason honors.
Let's start with my midseason Player of the Year choice. I will go with Creighton's Doug McDermott. There are a number of viable candidates, but I like the junior forward. The versatile, multitalented Bluejay is all about winning and is very unselfish. His presence on the court forces defenses to adjust and it creates angles for his teammates.
Next up is my midseason Coach of the Year. There are a number of viable candidates. Illinois coach John Groce has instilled a sense of pride in wearing that Illini uniform. I know his team lost a tough one to Missouri, but look at the quality wins. Illinois beat a good Butler team to win the tournament in Maui after Brad Stevens' team beat North Carolina. The Illini also got a big road W over Gonzaga.
Larry Shyatt has Wyoming in a surprising position early on. Tubby Smith has done a solid job at Minnesota. Stevens has Butler playing at a good level. Travis Ford of Oklahoma State has done a very good job, as well. Sean Miller has had Arizona escaping with win after win.
My pick is Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. His Blue Devils have faced a rugged schedule and never faltered. Wins over Ohio State, Louisville, Minnesota, Kentucky and VCU gives Duke as good a résumé as any team in America.
As for the Diaper Dandy of the first half, UNLV's Anthony Bennett has been outstanding right out of the gate. He can rebound, score and make big plays. He has been a PTPer.
Finally it's time for my first team of midseason All-America players. They have been the crème de la crème out there. This is not about rating players for the NBA, but guys who have done a super job for their respective teams.
McDermott and Bennett headline my squad. Then add Mason Plumlee of Duke, who has been a double-double guy facing a lot of super competition. The Blue Devils beat Ohio State, Louisville, Minnesota and Kentucky already.
In my backcourt are Michigan's Trey Burke and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum. Burke has had the Wolverines among the elite teams in America this season. McCollum doesn't always get the national exposure of others, but he has put up superb numbers. Unfortunately, he was injured against VCU over the weekend, ending up on crutches for the second half of the contest.
There you have it, my midseason honors.