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Player of the Year Power Rankings: A new Duke player tops the list, while three preseason all-americans fall out

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The latest edition of the only Player of the Year Power Rankings that you need to be paying attention to.

The player that was No. 1 in last week’s rankings is no longer in our top ten.

That’s what happens when you shoot 26 percent from three over a five-game stretch and struggle as another player on your team goes absolutely bonkers in the most riveting week of regular season college basketball in years.

What may be crazier is that players No. 4 and 5 from last week’s rankings are no longer on this list, either.

Allonzo Trier and Arizona fell off a cliff in the Bahamas, while Miles Bridges has been dealing with an ankle injury that has kept him from making much of an impact.

The result is that a freshman has climbed to the top while being chased down by four upperclassmen and a freshman having a season that we have literally never seen before.

1. MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke: For the second straight week, we have a Duke player atop our Player of the Year rankings.

Only …

This week’s Duke player is different than last week’s Duke player, and that’s because Marvin Bagley III took over for the Blue Devils twice in the span of three days to lead them to wins against Texas and No. 6 Florida.

On the season, Bagley is now averaging 22.3 points and 11.3 boards through eight games despite the fact that, in one of those games, he was pulled midway through the first half with an eye injury. He has six double-doubles on the season, four 20-and-10 games and two 30-and-15 performances. He went for 34 points and 15 boards to lead Duke back from down 16 in the second half to beat Texas in overtime and, two nights later, had 30 points and 15 boards as he helped Duke erase a 17 point deficit in the final 10 minutes against Florida.

Through the first two-and-a-half weeks of the season, Bagley has proven to be the most dominant big man in college basketball and the best player on the best team in the country. That is a good combination of things to be.

2. JORDAN MURPHY, Minnesota: Minnesota has played seven games this season. Murphy has a double-double in all seven of them. He’s gone for 20-and-10 in four of those games, and if it wasn’t for Saturday’s matchup with No. 25 Alabama going utterly and completely off the rails, then Murphy would have probably ended up getting there again; he had 19 points and 12 boards in the first half, the biggest reason that the Golden Gophers were up by 17 points and cruising when things got weird.

There’s nothing pretty about Murphy’s game. He’s the best junkyard dog in the country. He attacks the glass, he finishes everything around the rim, he’ll out-tough anyone. This is who he’s been forever, but he finally found the motor to back his talent up. The results speak for themselves.

3. BONZIE COLSON, Notre Dame: Colson has continued to quietly go about his business, anchoring an offense that has vaulted the Irish into the top five of the AP Poll. After finishing last season as a second-team all-american, Colson is now averaging up over 20 points. He is the piece that Notre Dame’s offense orbits around. His ability to score one-on-one combined with the fact that the Irish have about 400 players around him that can shoot threes makes them so hard-to-guard. Ask Wichita State. Colson had 25 points and 11 boards as Notre Dame erased a 14-point halftime deficit in the Maui Invitational title game.

4. JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova: We entered the season expecting Brunson to separate himself as the best point guard in college basketball, and he has done just that. He’s leading the Wildcats in scoring while shooting nearly 48 percent from three as a junior. The one problem with placing Brunson this high at this point in the season is that we don’t really know how good Villanova is just yet. They won the Battle 4 Atlantis, but thanks to the dumpster fire that was Arizona, the best team they beat in the event was Tennessee. We may not get a real sense of just how good the Wildcats are until they square off with Gonzaga in the Jimmy V Classic.

Chris Chiozza (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

5. CHRIS CHIOZZA, Florida: Florida is this year’s UCLA. They had moderate preseason expectations, and after putting up massive numbers against poor competition early, they proved themselves to be as dangerous and entertaining as anyone in the country when they started to play real teams. Chiozza is Lonzo Ball in this narrative, the engine that makes the Florida offense run.

But like UCLA, I’m not quite ready to fully jump on the bandwagon just yet. We need to see whether or not defense is going to be an issue for a team that doesn’t really have all that much size, and we need to see what happens to them when those threes stop falling at the rate they’re falling. But that’s neither here nor there when it comes to Chiozza, who has gone from an underlooked piece on last year’s to one of the best at his position in the country.

6. TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma: I’m still not quite sure just how good Oklahoma is going to end up being this season, but I am sure that Young is going to end up being the most productive point guard in college basketball. Through five games, Young is averaging 28.2 points, 8.6 assists, 4.2 boards and 2.2 steals. He’s even blocked three shots. He’s using 36 percent of Oklahoma’s offensive possessions while posting an offensive rating of 127.5, which is an insane level of efficiency on that kind of usage. Here is how Young’s start compares to other players that have had similarly insane statistical seasons:

Since 2004, there has not been a single player with a usage rate of 36.0 and an offensive rating anywhere near the 127.5 that Young is putting up. If he keeps this pace up – he probably won’t, mind you – he’ll be the first player since 1992 to average 28 points and eight assists.

While his raw numbers are not as impressive – Sexton is averaging 25.2 points and 4.4 assists after going for 40 against Minnesota – but his advance statistics are just as insane as Young’s are.

 

7. TRA HOLDER, Arizona State: Arizona State has quite a bit in common with Florida in the sense that their current lofty record and media bandwagon is a direct result of having a roster loaded with talented, thrilling guards and a run of lights-out shooting. Holder personifies that. He’s currently averaging 23.3 points, 6.0 boards and 5.5 assists while shooting 50 percent from three on nearly seven attempts per game. He’s coming off of a 40-point outburst in a blowout win over No. 15 Xavier, and he’s one of two Sun Devils averaging better than 19.5 points and five assists. We’ll see how long it lasts, but for now, Holder deserves all the attention he’s getting.

8. TREVON BLUIETT, Xavier: Bluiett and Xavier had a dud last weekend, getting smoked by an Arizona State team that couldn’t miss. Bluiett did not play great in that game, but he is still having a fantastic start to the season, averaging 21.3 points and 3.3 assists while still shooting better than 50 percent from three.

9. MANU LECOMTE, Baylor: Lecomte was a decoy in Baylor’s win over Creighton in the title game of the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City. But he’s still be the best player for a Baylor team that looks like they will once again be a top 20 program.

10. COLLIN SEXTON, Alabama: See above.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

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Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

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Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.

Chris Webber accepts Jim Harbaugh’s invitation to be honorary Michigan football captain

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The frosty relationship between Chris Webber and the University of Michigan could be thawing — thanks to an invitation from football head coach Jim Harbaugh.

On Friday, Harbaugh called in to WTKA’s “The M Zone” as show host Jamie Morris had Webber on the show. Harbaugh offered Webber the opportunity to be an honorary captain for the Michigan football team next season, to which Webber replied that he would love the opportunity.

Webber, a former member of the “Fab Five” who helped the Wolverines to two consecutive NCAA tournament title-game appearances in 1992 and 1993, has not associated directly with the school, or with other members of the Fab Five, for many years.

The NCAA mandated that Webber and Michigan not associate with one another for 10 years after the Ed Martin booster scandal. Webber has always been reluctant to participate in anything Michigan or Fab Five related. When the famous Fab Five documentary was made a few years ago, Webber was the only member of the quintet not to participate in the making of the film. Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson all have a solid relationship with the University of Michigan at this point.

Webber later criticized the film during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, as King and Rose fired back with responses to reignite the feud. In the past, Rose has also been vocal in his belief that Webber should apologize for what happened at Michigan, as the group is hoping to move forward.

Although Webber still isn’t mending fences with the other Fab Five members, or the basketball program, returning to Michigan in some kind of official capacity is a big deal considering his past with the school.

Harbaugh and Webber haven’t decided on a game for next season yet as that will be something to watch for over the next several months.

Akoy Agau returning to Louisville as graduate transfer

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Louisville received a boost to its frontcourt rotation on Friday as former big man Akoy Agau will return to the Cardinals as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau originally committed and enrolled at Louisville for a season and a half to begin his college hoops career before transferring to Georgetown. After leaving the Hoyas to play at SMU last season, Agau received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after battling injury for much of his career.

Agau gives Louisville an experienced forward who should earn some solid minutes next season. With the Mustangs during the 2017-18 season, Agau averaged 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 16.1 minutes per contest.

While this isn’t the biggest splash for the Cardinals, they have plenty of scholarships to use for next season as new head coach Chris Mack tries to find a stable rotation. Getting a graduate transfer like Agau, who should be familiar with the school and the conference at the very least, is a nice step for a one-year placeholder.

NCAA President Mark Emmert got a $500,000 raise in 2016

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NCAA president Mark Emmert, the man in charge of a non-profit association that doesn’t have enough money to pay its laborers, received a $500,000 raise for the 2016 calendar year, bringing his total income to more than $2.4 million, according to an NCAA tax return that was obtained by USA Today.

That number actually pales in comparison to the salaries that are received by the commissioners of the Power 5 conferences.

But there’s not enough money to pay the players.

Nope.

Everyone is broke.

Carry on with your day, and pray for the well-being of NCAA administrators like Mark Emmert, whose salary is in no way whatsoever inflated by amateurism, which allows the schools and the NCAA to bank all of the advertising revenue that college basketball and football brings in and bars the players themselves from accessing that money.