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College Basketball Talk’s Player of the Year Power Rankings

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The 2013-2014 season is sure to be a thrilling Player of the Year race, so to keep track of it, we will be posting weekly Player of the Year Power Rankings for your reading goodness.

Who’d we miss? Who’s ranked too high? We love to overlook your team’s best player and overrate your rival’s superstar.

1) Shabazz Napier, UConn: Napier’s already made countless big shots in big moments this season, shining in UConn’s wins over Florida, Indiana and Boston College. He’s averaging 15.3 points, 7.0 boards, 5.9 assists and shooting 57.1% from three.

2) Jabari Parker, Duke: Parker is the nation’s best all-around offensive weapon. He’s more-or-less unstoppable at this level, averaging 22.1 points with shooting splits of 57.1/46.7/72.5. Should I mention, he’s averaging 1.6 blocks and 1.1 steals?

3) Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State: Smart struggled when Oklahoma State went down to Orlando for the Old Spice Classic, but he’s still posting 19.8 points, 4.9 boards, 3.8 assists and 2.9 steals per night. He’s cut down on turnovers and improved his three-point percentage as well.

4) Julius Randle, Kentucky: Randle has come back to earth a bit the past two games, getting exposed a bit against the length of Providence and Baylor. And he still averaged 14.0 points, 8.0 boards and 4.0 assists in those two games.

5) Doug McDermott, Creighton: McDermott bounced back from a rough week out in California by putting up 33 points on in-state rival Nebraska. The concern: if he struggled against GW’s Isaiah Armwood, what happens in the Big East?

6) Nick Johnson, Arizona: Johnson struggled a bit from the floor against UNLV, finishing just 4-for-15 from the floor, but he’s the most important player on Arizona’s roster. He’s a terrific defender, a 16.6 ppg-scorer and their best perimeter threat with Gabe York struggling.

7) Keith Appling, Michigan State: Appling needed to drop a bit after the loss to UNC, but it won’t hurt him too much in the long-term as long as he can shake off the hard-fall he took on his hip.

8) Russ Smith, Louisville: Is Smith trying to prove he’s a point guard? Since dropping 36 in a loss to North Carolina, he’s scored 37 points in three games, nothing 17 assists in the process.

9) Jahii Carson, Arizona State: Carson is still dealing with a nagging ankle injury that bothered him during The Wooden Legacy, but he had 23 points in a win over DePaul on Friday.

10) Lamar Patterson, Pitt: Patterson’s numbers are stellar — 16.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.8 spg, 42.1% 3PT — and Pitt’s undefeated, but this is nothing more than a courtesy mention until the Panthers beat someone relevant.

Others: Kyle Anderson, Ron Baker, Jordan Clarkson, Dylon Cormier, Aaron Craft, Tyler Haws, Alex Kirk, Rodney Hood, Roberto Nelson, Marcus Paige, Elfrid Payton, Elijah Pittman, Juwan Staten, T.J. Warren, Chaz Williams, Joseph Young

POSTERIZED: Jaylen Brown throws down hard in transition

Albert Almanza, Jaylen Brown, Jalin Barnes
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Jaylen Brown is a top five player in the Class of 2015 and a kid projected as a top ten pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.


Because he does things like this:

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Denzel Valentine, the nation’s best player?

Denzel Valentine
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(This will be updated throughout the day.)

GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse 74, No. 25 Texas A&M 67

The Orange got 20 points from Michael Gbinije and 15 points and five assists from Trevor Cooney as they won the Battle 4 Atlantis title on Friday afternoon. We wrote on this game earlier. Are the Orange for real this year?


Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: 32 points, nine boards, six assists

No. 3 Michigan State beat Boise State 77-67 in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy out in California, but the result of that game is less important than the result of Valentine’s night. A night after notching his second triple-double of the season, Valentine took over another way on Friday, hitting five straight threes in the span of about five minutes to put the Spartans up double-figures in a game they were struggling to take control of.

In three games against high-major competition, Valentine is now averaging 30.0 points, 10.7 boards and 9.3 assists. He has been, unequivocally, the best player in college basketball this season.

No. 10 Gonzaga 73, No. 17 UConn 70: Eric McClellan and Kyle Dranginis made some big plays down the stretch as the Bulldogs held on to win a game they led by as much as 21 in the second half. Kyle Wiltjer scored a team-best 17 points for Gonzaga, which finished third at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Rob Dauster wrote more about the Bulldogs and their second-half performance here.

Alabama 64, No. 20 Wichita State 60: While the Shockers’ losses to USC and Alabama don’t help them from an NCAA tournament standpoint, the bigger issue is the team’s health.

No. 17 Notre Dame 68, Iowa 62: The Fighting Irish blew a 15-point second half lead, but the comeback gassed the Hawkeyes, as Notre Dame was able to pull away down the stretch. V.J. Beachem led the way with 16 points.


Quincy Ford, Northeastern: Not only did he score 24 points in the upset win over No. 15 Miami, but he hit the game-winning jumper, too. Video here.

Cat Barber, N.C. State: Barber notched a career-high 37 points to go along with eight assists as the Wolfpack fought off a scrappy Winthrop team, 87-79. He wasn’t the best scorer on the floor, though …

Jimmy Gavin, Winthrop: Gavin finished with 38 points. Off the bench. The most incredible part? He was 5-foot-4, 90 pounds as a sophomore due to Crohn’s Disease.

John Egbunu, Florida: Egbunu finished with 17 points, 11 boards and four blocks as the Gators knocked off FGCU, 70-50. Dorian Finney-Smith added 23 points for Florida.


Wichita State’s bigs: Five of them (Anton Grady, Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly, Bush Wakumota, Eric Hamilton) finished a combined 3-for-21 from the floor with 14 points and 14 fouls. Wakumota shot one of the worst threes you’ll ever see with Wichita State down 62-60 with 10 seconds left.

Grady suffered a scary neck injury late in the game, but early reports sound positive.


  • Jamal Murray went for 21 points and three assists without a turnover at No. 1 Kentucky rolled over South Florida. The big question: How bad is Tyler Ulis’ elbow injury?
  • Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart both had 13 points as No. 8 Villanova knocked off Georgia Tech to win the Preseason NIT, 69-52.
  • No. 23 Xavier raced out of the gates against USC and led by as much as 32, going on to win 87-77 in Orlando. Trevon Bluiett led four Musketeers in double figures with 16 points and James Farr added 12 to go along with nine rebounds off the bench.
  • Troy Caupain had 17 points and Octavious Ellis added 12 points and nine boards (seven offensive) as No. 24 Cincinnati outlasted Nebraska, 65-61, at the Barclays Center.


  • Stanford finished third at the Preseason NIT with a 69-66 win over Arkansas, closing the game on a stunning 21-1 run. Rosco Allen scored eight of his career-high 25 points during that run, and Marcus Allen’s goal-tended layup with 2.6 seconds remaining gave the Cardinal the lead for good.
  • Taurean Waller-Prince had 25 points to lead Baylor to a win over Arkansas State.
  • Joey King’s 18 points paced five players in double-figures for Minnesota as they knocked off Omaha, 93-90.
  • Caris LeVert had 19 points and Derrick Walton added 13 points and seven assists as the Wolverines beat Texas in the fifth-place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis.