Zion Williamson will proceed to guide a shrinking area

Final week, Wood Award voters acquired an e-mail from the choice committee that signaled the approaching fruits of what has felt like a foregone conclusion for 3 months.

It stated: “As we strategy the start of event season, we ask you to make the laborious selections and choose the 15 gamers you’re feeling are the main candidates for the John R. Wood Award. These 15 gamers will represent who shall be on the Nationwide Poll for the 2019 John R. Wood Award. Any gamers not on the ultimate poll won’t be eligible to win the Award.”

This record has endured few modifications since December, when it grew to become clear that Zion Williamson was the most effective participant in America.

That is what we all know. However the record of contenders appears to shift by the week.

Though he is sidelined, Williamson continues to increase the hole inside the race. Duke’s 1-2 report with out him over the previous three video games has solely enhanced his odds of successful.

There shall be 15 gamers on that closing poll for the Wood Award.

However just one, it appears, has an actual shot at securing this honor.

Who would win the award in the present day

Certain, a number of freshmen have been a giant hit this season, however these veterans exploded this season and can form many end-of-season tales.

Zion Williamson

We’re unsure if and when he’ll return to the courtroom this season, however Duke is clearly a greater workforce with the projected No. 1 decide within the lineup. The Blue Devils want him if they’re to make a run on the nationwide title.

Duke had gained video games at lower than 100 p.c up to now. It beat Florida State in Tallahassee with Williamson logging simply 10 minutes. However this stretch has been totally different. The workforce had turn into accustomed to its roles when Williamson suffered his delicate knee sprain in a loss to North Carolina final week.

With out Williamson, groups have dared RJ Barrett to beat them alone. Gamers not named Barrett made simply 32 p.c of their pictures contained in the arc and 27 p.c of their Three-pointers up to now three video games.

Williamson continues to be the chief on this race though he has performed solely 36 seconds up to now three video games.

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Subsequent three contenders

RJ Barrett — In a world with out Williamson, Barrett is likely to be the nationwide participant of the 12 months. He has averaged 28 factors per recreation throughout this 1-2 stretch for Duke. That is a exceptional effort for a man who has confronted two or three defenders on a number of possessions. Nonetheless, he has made 77 p.c of his pictures contained in the arc. He has made 41 p.c of his Three-point makes an attempt in Duke’s 12 ACC wins. All of us acknowledge Williamson’s influence based mostly on the workforce’s challenges with out him. However think about Duke with out Barrett, essentially the most fixed presence on the roster.

Cassius Winston — He does not have Nick Ward and he misplaced working mate Joshua Langford weeks in the past. But Winston has carried Michigan State to the highest of America’s deepest league. His 27-point effort in Sunday’s win over rival Michigan was a prime-time efficiency for the veteran guard who has made 41 p.c of his Three-point makes an attempt. Once more, in a world with out Williamson, the place would Winston be? He has led his workforce on a five-game win streak in a league that may ship eight groups to the NCAA event. He is averaging 19.2 PPG and seven.four APG.

Grant Williams: Tennessee continues to be a contender, though the newest stretch for the Vols has value this system its No. 1 rating. However Williams entered Wednesday’s matchup in opposition to Ole Miss with a stat line that maybe solely Williamson can match: PPG, 7.6 RPG, Three.Three APG, 1.four BPG and 1.1 SPG. He’d additionally made 60 p.c of his pictures contained in the arc and 83 p.c of his free throw makes an attempt. He has turned himself right into a first-round decide on this summer season’s NBA draft. The Vols are nonetheless a harmful workforce, they usually’re led by a top-five participant.

The opposite contenders (stats getting into Wednesday)

De’Andre Hunter: 15.2 PPG, 5.four RPG, 47 p.c from the Three-point line

Ethan Happ: 17.9 PPG, 10.Three RPG, four.6 APG, 1.2 BPG, SPG

Dedric Lawson: PPG, 10.Three. RPG, 1.1 SPG, 1.1 BPG

Ja Morant: 24.four PPG, 10.Three APG, 5.Three RPG, SPG

Carsen Edwards: 23.four PPG, Three.2 APG, 86 p.c

Rui Hachimura: 20.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG

Jarrett Culver: PPG, 6.1 RPG, Three.7 APG

Brandon Clarke: 16.5 PPG, eight.Three RPG, BPG, 1.2 SPG

PJ Washington: PPG, 7.eight RPG, 45 p.c from the Three-point line

Jordan Caroline: 18.Three PPG, 9.6 RPG, APG

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