Most coaches won’t admit that the success of an entire team is attributed to just one player. However, these players listed play a big role in whether or not their team wins or loses. With the regular season winding down, here’s who we think will be the Player of the Year in each Power Five Conference:
ACC: Zion Williamson (Duke)
This is obviously a no-brainer. Williamson, in all likelihood, will win ACC Player of the Year and Naismith Player of the Year. Not to mention, he has a strong case for winning ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Oh, and he’ll be the first pick in June’s NBA draft, too.
Williamson has scored 20+ points in 12 games this season and averages 22.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He is a once-in-a-lifetime player.
Big 12: Barry Brown Jr. (Kansas State)
The senior from St. Petersburg, FL is averaging 15.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The Big 12 is lacking the talent and NBA Draft prospects that they’ve normally had in recent years. But Brown Jr. would be well-deserving of the honor, and appears he will win the award. In the Wildcats’ losses this season, Brown Jr. has struggled. Needless to say, this team will go as far as Barry Brown takes them.
SEC: Grant Williams (Tennessee)
At 6-foot-7 and 238 pounds, Grant Williams is one of the most physical players in the country. He can set a mean screen, too. Averaging 19.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, everything Tennessee does runs through Williams.
While Kentucky is really good, they don’t necessarily have a Player of the Year candidate. That, and the fact that Williams has been the best player on the best team, means he should and will win SEC Player of the Year.
Big Ten: Carsen Edwards (Purdue)
The Big Ten actually has a lot of candidates for their Player of the Year, so this was a hard decision. It could go to Cassius Winston of Michigan State or Ethan Happ of Wisconsin. Carsen Edwards should win, as he is “Mr. Do It All” for the Boilermakers. He averages 24.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game and is a pest on the defensive end as well. He’s had five games where he’s scored at least 30 points, including a 40 point performance at Texas. Edwards’ play has the Boilermakers half a game back from first place in the Big Ten.
Pac-12: Jaylen Nowell (Washington)
While the Big Ten Player of the Year was a difficult choice, this was, too, but for a different reason. This could be as bad as a Power Five conference being this bad, as only appears to only be a one-bid league. Not one team is ranked in the Top 25, and there are no bonafide potential first-round draft picks. Still, somebody has to win the award. And it should go t0 Jaylen Nowell of the Washington Huskies. He’s averaging 16.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as Washington sits comfortably in first place with a three-game lead.