It seems a bit early to get into this sort of thing, but over at CBS Sports, a panel of writers is speculating about who the national player of the year might be.
Most people would lay odds on Purdue’s Zach Edey and that’s who David Cobb goes with. At 7-4 and 305, the guy is massive and almost unstoppable in college.
His NBA future is murky since the NBA now puts a premium on versatility, but there’s a decent chance that with a Chinese-Canadian mother, he could make more money in China than he’d make in the NBA. Life will be fine for Edey.
However, Farleigh Dickinson exposed him to an extent in an unforgettable tournament upset and other teams will try to exploit his lack of speed. So don’t engrave the trophy just yet.
The panel suggests several other candidates, all big men other than Kentucky freshman Justin Edwards, the choice of Kyle Boone.
David Cobb goes with Donovan Clinton and we’d take that guy ahead of Edey. He’s not as powerful but in every other way, his future is brighter.
Cameron Salerno goes with Hunter Dickinson who reboots as a Jayhawk and that could be very interesting. He’s the one guy on this list who could go into an alley with Edey and conceivably be the guy who came out. And he’s a pretty smart basketball player. He’ll have a better coach and a better supporting cast - not to mention a great point guard in Dajuan Harris which will only help Dickinson.
Not a bad choice.
Finally, although we’re going out of order here, while Gary Parrish says that he thinks Edey will be the Player of the Year again, his backup choice is Duke’s Kyle Filipowski.
Here’s what he says about the talented Blue Devil sophomore: “In an up-and-down year for the Blue Devils, Filipowski was consistently good. He averaged 15.1 points and 8.9 rebounds in 29.2 minutes per game while earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors...Simply put, legitimate NBA prospects who return for their sophomore years sometimes emerge as statistical monsters...So I suspect Filipowski will take a noticeable leap this season, establish himself as an All-American for an obvious Final Four contender and maybe, just maybe, challenge Edey for POY awards.”
We’d need one more really good (and huge) big guy to make this happen, but a Final Four with Filipowski, Clingan and Edey could be a lot of fun.
Then again, maybe a guy like Edwards could underscore the challenge that a relatively ponderous Edey could face in March and certainly will face if he makes the NBA.