Dick Vitale makes his player and coach of the year picks in college basketball's top 10 conferences

As we approach Champ Week and March Madness, it is time to break down the best of the best in the major conferences in college basketball.

I have worked hard on my Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Diaper Dandy of the Year selections. Some of the choices were difficult, others pretty easy.

Nothing was harder than the Big Ten Player of the Year. You could argue for Johnny Davis of Wisconsin, Kofi Cockburn of Illinois, Keegan Murray of Iowa, E.J. Liddell of Ohio State or Jaden Ivey of Purdue. I'm sure there will be a few debates over that and some of my other selections.

All of the players and coaches below have been super, scintillating and sensational in 2021-22!


Coach of the Year: Kelvin Sampson, Houston

Player of the Year: Kendric Davis, SMU

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Jalen Duren, Memphis

V's views: Sampson has done an incredible job with a team short-handed by injury. I picked Davis over Josh Carlton of Houston, among others. Duren has come on strong for a Tigers team making a push for the Big Dance.


Coach of the Year: Steve Forbes, Wake Forest

Player of the Year: Armando Bacot, North Carolina

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Paolo Banchero, Duke

V's views: The decision for Coach of the Year went back and forth. I considered Jim Larranaga of Miami, Mike Brey of Notre Dame, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke (who brought in a lot of new players) and Forbes. Wake went from 6-16 last season to win over 20 games this season, which helped make my choice. Bacot has been a double-double machine, keeping the Tar Heels in the hunt for an NCAA tournament bid.

Atlantic 10

Coach of the Year: Bob McKillop, Davidson

Player of the Year: Josh Oduro, George Mason

Diaper Dandy of the Year: DaRon Holmes II, Dayton

V's views: McKillop has done an outstanding job despite Davidson losing two starters, including 2,000-point scorer Kellan Grady to Kentucky. The Wildcats are an NCAA tournament team. Oduro has been the scoring leader in the conference this season. I saw Holmes play in Orlando, Florida, and was impressed.

Big East

Coach of the Year: Ed Cooley, Providence

Player of the Year: Collin Gillespie, Villanova

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Justin Lewis, Marquette (second-year freshman)

V's views: Cooley has done a great job as the Friars were picked seventh in the conference preseason poll. Gillespie got the nod over Julian Champagnie of St. John's and Justin Lewis of Marquette. Lewis, in his second year at Marquette but listed as a freshman because of the NCAA free year, got the "Diaper Dandy" honor.

Big 12

Coach of the Year: Mark Adams,Texas Tech

Player of the Year: Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Tyrese Hunter, Iowa State

V's views: Adams is like a professor. He has dealt with injuries and has this squad battling for a top-10 finish in the AP poll. Agbaji has had many 20-plus performances to lead the Jayhawks. Hunter gets the edge over Kendall Brown of Baylor.

Big Ten

Coach of the Year: Greg Gard, Wisconsin

Player of the Year: Johnny Davis, Wisconsin

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Bryce McGowens, Nebraska

V's views: Gard has put the Badgers into the NCAA field after experts picked them in the lower-half of the preseason conference poll. The choice of Davis was the toughest one of any conference, as there were five legitimate contenders.

Mountain West

Coach of the Year: Jeff Linder, Wyoming

Player of the Year: David Roddy, Colorado State

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Tyson Degenhart, Boise State

V's views: Wyoming has had a banner year and has not received the national attention it deserves, making Linder an easy call. Roddy has been the best of a competitive group in this league. Degenhart has helped Boise State surprise.


Coach of the Year: Tommy Lloyd, Arizona

Player of the Year: Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Harrison Ingram, Stanford

V's views: Arizona had its share of woes under Sean Miller last year, and Lloyd is a legit national Coach of the Year candidate. Mathurin got the nod over Johnny Juzang of UCLA in a close call.


Coach of the Year: Bruce Pearl, Auburn

Player of the Year: Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Jabari Smith, Auburn

V's views: Pearl has had Auburn in the top 10 of the AP poll much of the season, even climbing to No. 1 for a stretch. Tshiebwe has been my national player of the year, a double-double monster, a true force on the glass. Smith will be a top-five NBA draft pick and could go No. 1 overall.


Coach of the Year: Mark Few, Gonzaga

Player of the Year: Drew Timme, Gonzaga

Diaper Dandy of the Year: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

V's views: Gonzaga dominated the awards despite a loss at Saint Mary's this past Saturday. The Gaels' Randy Bennett and San Francisco's Todd Golden were also worthy of consideration for Coach of the Year. Timme was the best player and Holmgren top newcomer for a team that could cut down the nets in New Orleans.

The 17th annual Dick Vitale Gala, benefiting the V Foundation, will be held May 6, 2022, at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida. For more information visit dickvitaleonline.com.