Even if you don’t win the Wooden Award, it’s still pretty cool to get invited to the ceremony. A trip to Los Angeles, recognition on national television, face time with some of college basketball’s current and all-time greats ... the memories are the kind that last forever. So while Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and Kentucky’s Anthony Davis appear to have an insurmountable lead on the rest of the field, those third, fourth and fifth spots are important, too -- and the battle for them is fierce and ever-changing. Here’s how my ballot would look if the season ended today.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky - The freshman forward and likely No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA draft continues to dominate on both ends of the floor. He’s averaging 15.5 points and 5.5 blocks in his past two games. He’ll face his toughest test of the SEC season in Starkville on Tuesday against Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney.
Thomas Robinson, Kansas - The 6-foot-9 junior had his lowest scoring output in six weeks when he finished with just 10 points in Monday’s victory at Kansas State. Two days earlier, though, he had 24 points and 14 boards in a home win against Oklahoma State. He ranks second in the nation with 12 rebounds per game.
Draymond Green, Michigan State - There aren’t many 6-foot-7, 230-pounders in college basketball as versatile as Green. Along with 15 points and 10.5 rebounds, Green dishes out 3.5 assists per game while also contributing 1.4 steals and a block. Last week he led the Spartans to a victory over then-No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus.
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina - Zeller’s missed free throw and last-second defensive lapse in last week’s loss to Duke overshadowed what has been a banner season for the 7-foot center. The potential ACC Player of the Year is averaging 23.3 points in his last three games. In league play he’s averaging 19 points and 10.8 rebounds.
Kevin Jones, West Virginia - If Jones were on a top-10 team, he may be the leading candidate for this award. Instead, he’s averaging 20.6 points and 11.2 rebounds for a Mountaineers squad that’s in danger of missing the NCAA tournament after losing five of its last six games. West Virginia’s next two contests (against Pittsburgh and Notre Dame) are on the road. Jones needs to get his team over the hump.
On the cusp
Isaiah Canaan, Murray State - Last week’s loss to Tennessee State was the Racers’ first of the season, but it certainly wasn’t Canaan’s fault. He’s averaging 27 points in his last two games.
Marcus Denmon, Missouri - One of America’s best players in the clutch is averaging 23.3 points in his last three games. He’s made 14 of his 26 attempts from 3-point range during that span.
John Henson, North Carolina - The Tar Heels’ junior shot-swatter has posted four straight double-doubles. Along with 3.2 blocks, Henson is averaging 14 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest.
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette - The senior is making a serious push for Big East Player of the Year honors. He’s averaging 18.4 points and has led Marquette to wins in 10 of its last 11 games.
Kris Joseph, Syracuse - The senior came up huge with a 29-point effort in last week’s 64-61 win over Georgetown. He averages a team-high 14 points for the nation’s second-ranked team.
Damian Lillard, Weber State - The junior guard continues to lead the nation in scoring with 25.1 points a game. He also contributes 5.3 rebounds.
Doug McDermott, Creighton - With just one 20-point effort in his last four games, the sophomore’s production has dipped a bit. But he’s still averaging 22.7 points and 8.1 rebounds.
Mike Moser, UNLV - The UCLA transfer is the main reason the Runnin’ Rebels have been a staple in the Top 25 all season. He’s averaging 15 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State - The preseason All-American had 10 turnovers in Saturday’s loss to Draymond Green and Michigan State. He bounced back with 23 points in Tuesday’s win at Minnesota.
Cody Zeller, Indiana - Tyler Zeller’s younger brother has hardly played like a freshman. The 6-foot-11 forward leads Indiana with 15.4 points and 6.4 rebounds.