There’s no denying it at this point: Buddy Hield is the favorite to win the Player of the Year award in college basketball this season.
Anyone that says otherwise is being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian, and there are a couple of reasons for that. For starters, Hield is having the most efficient season of any high-usage player in the KenPom era. I explained this in detail yesterday (right here), but for simplicity’s sake, no one in the last 13 years has been as potent offensively as Buddy. Not J.J. Redick or Adam Morrison or Stephen Curry or Jimmer Fredette or Doug McDermott. No one.
He’s also the only player since the 1994-95 season to shoot at least eight threes per game and make more than 52.0 percent of those threes. The closest anyone came to that was Troy Hudson of Southern Illinois, who shot 51.1 percent on 8.7 3PAs per game.
So yes, Hield is having a historically great season.
But he’s not the only guy on this list that’s doing so.
Providence guard Kris Dunn is one of just two players since 1994-95 (that’s the reference point because it’s as far back as this database goes) to average at least 17 points, six boards and six assists in a season, and he’s the only one to do all of that while also notching three steals per night.
The other guy to do that?
Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine, who is the only player to average 18 points, seven boards and six assists in the last 21 years. That would usually lock Valentine in as the hands-down favorite to win, at the very least, the Big Ten Player of the Year award, except Jarrod Uthoff is currently averaging 2.5 blocks and shooting 46.4 percent from three, something that no one has done (while averaging more than two 3PAs per game) since 1994.
Should I mention that Uthoff is also averaging 18.6 points for a top five team that is currently sitting in first place in the Big Ten standings?
And I haven’t even mentioned BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth, who is on pace to be the first player in that database to average at least 15 points, seven boards and seven assists.
In other words, that’s a really long way of saying that Hield is not the only player in college basketball having an unbelievable season. So saying that this is Hield’s award to lose at this point isn’t a shot at anyone else in the field, because he’s one shooting slump away from looking relatively mortal, and shooting slumps can happen to the best of them. (Ask Marcus Paige).
What it is, however, is a sign of just how good Hield — and Oklahoma — have been this year.
Anyway, here are the Power Rankings. You can follow along with the countdown on the CBT Facebook page right here.