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Player of the Year Power Rankings: The Trae Young Show rolls on


1. TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma: This isn’t exactly breaking news, but Trae Young is having a pretty ridiculous season for the Sooners as a freshman.

As we discussed on the podcast on Tuesday morning, Young might actually be having the best season that we have ever seen out of a guard at the college level. At the very least, he’s the best since Steph Curry graced the court at Davidson.

The most ridiculous part of his year, however, is that he someone keeps managing to one-up himself. The craziest part of the 39 points and 14 assists that he put up on Saturday wasn’t that it came on the road against an undefeated top ten team in his first Big 12 game; or that he managed to score 17 points and hand out four assists in the final 9:45, including the game-winning free throws with 7.9 seconds left; or that it felt like Young didn’t actually play all that well, shooting 9-for-23 from the floor with seven turnovers.

The most ridiculous part is that this felt … normal.

Every time Young has stepped on the floor the last five games have been progressively more mind-blowing: He had 29 points and nine assists in Los Angeles in a win over USC. He followed that up with 29 points and 10 assists in a win at Wichita State in which he had 21 points and seven assists in a first half where he made the Shockers defense look like it had gone through a combine harvester. Then he went for 26 points and an NCAA-record 22 assists against Northwestern State before posting 25 points and 10 assists in the first half against Northwestern.

That was the last game he played before Saturday’s trip to TCU.

It’s also worth noting at this point that Young has the highest usage rate of any player in the 16 years that KenPom has data for at 39.3 percent of Oklahoma’s possessions and he’s still the most efficient high-usage player in the database:

2. MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke: Bagley had a ridiculous 32 points and 21 boards in Duke’s win over No. 24 Florida State on Saturday, with 11 of those rebounds coming on the offensive end. Bagley is now averaging 21.9 points and 11.6 boards on the season, but I discussed on the podcast this week (the 7:18 mark below) why I think he might be somewhat overvalued as an NBA prospect.

3. DEANDRE AYTON, Arizona: Like Young and Bagley, Ayton put together a ridiculous performance in a big game on Saturday. He finished with 23 points, 19 boards, three assists and three blocks as the Sun Devils had absolutely no answer on the interior for the Big Bahamian. Given the defensive issues that keep popping up for the Wildcats, being able to overwhelm teams in the paint is going to be what carries Arizona to … a Pac-12 title? A Final Four? A national title?

4. TRA HOLDER, Arizona State: Holder’s Arizona State team lost on Saturday at Arizona. Holder had 31 points. He’s averaging 22 pints, 5.1 boards and 4.5 assists for the No. 4 team in the country. He’s had a phenomenal season and nearly led the Wildcats to a win on the road against their in-state rivals.

5. JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova: Villanova lost to Butler on the road on Saturday, giving up 101 points to a team that is not exactly known as an offensive juggernaut. Brunson, however, finished with 31 points and five assists. He did, however, miss two critical free throws in the middle of Villanova’s attempted comeback.

6. JEVON CARTER, West Virginia
7. TREVON BLUIETT, Villanova
8. BONZIE COLSON, Notre Dame
9. JORDAN MURPHY, Minnesota


Washington’s Thybulle returning for senior season

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Matisse Thybulle will return to Washington for his senior season after contemplating declaring for the NBA draft following a junior campaign in which he was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.

“The NBA is really enticing and it was definitely something that I seriously considered when the season was over,” Thybulle told the Seattle Times. “I talked it over with my family and we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to stay and get my degree (in communications) and grow as a basketball player and take this last year to mature and fine tune everything so I can be fully prepared to take that next step when it’s time.”

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last season. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

“I talked to coach (Mike Hopkins) and he gave me some good advice that was honestly something that helped in the grand scheme of things,” Thybulle said. “He told me that if I do it (enter the draft), then I should be all in because that’s what I’m going to be up against is a whole bunch of guys fighting for their lives. He thought it would be a better idea for me to stay in school until I’m at that point.”

Washington is awaiting the decision of Noah Dickerson, who declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. The 6-foot-8 averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds last season.

Koby McEwen transferring to Marquette

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Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.

Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.

“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”

McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.

After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?