One day after the John R. Wooden Award’s midseason list was released, the United States Basketball Writers of America released its list of 23 midseason candidates for the Oscar Robertson Award. Like the Wooden Award, not being on this list does not prohibit a player from winning the award when it’s handed out in early April.
As expected, players such as Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Syracuse’s C.J. Fair, are among the 23 on the list. The senior class has 12 players on the list, followed by six freshmen, four sophomores and just one junior (Arizona guard Nick Johnson).
Conference-wise the ACC has five players on the list, followed by the Big 12 (four) and six conferences with two candidates apiece. The Atlantic 10 (UMass PG Chaz Williams) and Big East (McDermott) are represented by one player apiece. Six schools, Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Syracuse and Wichita State, have two players on the list.
Here’s the full list as released by the USBWA:
- Keith Appling, Michigan State
- Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico
- Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
- Joel Embiid, Kansas
- Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
- C.J. Fair, Syracuse
- Aaron Gordon, Arizona
- Gary Harris, Michigan State
- Rodney Hood, Duke
- Nick Johnson, Arizona
- DeAndre Kane, Iowa State
- Doug McDermott, Creighton
- Shabazz Napier, UConn
- Jabari Parker, Duke
- Lamar Patterson, Pittsburgh
- Casey Prather, Florida
- Julius Randle, Kentucky
- Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
- Russ Smith, Louisville
- Xavier Thames, San Diego State
- Fred Van Vleet, Wichita State
- Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
- Chaz Williams, UMass
Not a bad list, with Patterson and Thames making this list one day after being omitted from the Wooden Award’s midseason list. But where’s Michigan guard Nik Stauskas?
Stauskas has been outstanding for the Wolverines this season, averaging 18.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for a team that hasn’t lost since Mitch McGary was shut down indefinitely due to a back injury. With Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. now playing for pay Stauskas’ responsibilities are greater as a sophomore, and he’s been a more efficient player this season than last. Stauskas is still shooting 44% from beyond the arc but he’s improved in his ability to attack the basket, and his overall field goal percentage has increased by three percentage points (from 46.3% to 49.5%) in his sophomore season.
Such lists can be difficult because in order to put an omitted player on the list, someone who may be just as deserving has to come off. However even with that being the case it’s extremely tough to justify Stauskas not making either of the major awards’ midseason lists.
As noted above not being on the list doesn’t prohibit a player of Stauskas’ caliber from winning the honor. If anything, it can serve as a motivational factor for a player who may feel slighted by those who put together the list.