October 9, 2010

Who got snubbed by the Wooden watch list?

At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the coverage staff for his opinion about a current topic in the sport. We have two questions this week, one today and one Sunday.

Today's question: The preseason top 50 candidates for the Wooden Award were announced. Who is the biggest omission?

David Fox's answer:
North Carolina's Harrison Barnes is the most notable exclusion, along with other top freshmen. The Wooden watch list excludes freshmen and determining which of the freshmen deserves to be in that discussion isn't easy. Still, we likely will talk about a freshman or two as the player of the year, certainly ahead of at least 20 of the guys on the list. Just look at Wooden postseason All-American teams: John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins on the 2010 team, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose and Kevin Love on the '08 team, Kevin Durant (who won the award) and Greg Oden on the '07 team. Of the veterans who belong on the list, though, no omission is more glaring than that of West Virginia forward Kevin Jones.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
There were a few head-scratchers as to who was left off, among them Marquette's Jimmy Butler, Hofstra's Charles Jenkins, West Virginia's Kevin Jones and Georgia's Travis Leslie. The biggest, though, is Morehead State's Kenneth Faried. Frankly, I think a lot of mid- and low-major players were left off in favor of some highly questionable high-major players. But how can Faried be overlooked? He has averaged a double-double in each of the past two seasons and has held his own when he has gone against Big Six opponents. But Faried probably doesn't care. NBA scouts know all about him, and while a lot of guys on the Wooden preseason list will be scrambling to impress scouts in postseason camps, Faried is a lock to get drafted -- and maybe even in the first round.

Jason King's answer:
Texas Tech point guard John Roberson isn't one of the top 10 players in the country, much less the top 20 or 30. But Roberson definitely is in the top 50, which is why he deserved a spot on the Wooden preseason watch list. Roberson has gotten better in each of his three seasons with the Red Raiders. He averaged 12.3 points as a freshman, 13.9 as a sophomore and 14.6 as a junior. Even more impressive are Roberson's assists numbers. He led the Big 12 in assists as a sophomore with 6.4 per game. Last season, he ranked second with 5.4. It's unfortunate that Roberson hasn't been surrounded by better talent in Lubbock because Texas Tech's struggles have led to a lack of publicity and hype surrounding Roberson. It's almost amusing that he was left off this list while someone such as Syracuse sophomore point guard Brandon Triche -- who averaged 8.1 points and 2.8 assists last season -- is included. Another notable omission is Colorado guard Cory Higgins, who averaged 18.9 points last season while shooting 50.5 percent from the field.

Steve Megargee's answer:
There were quite a few notable omissions. I certainly expected to see Morehead State's Kenneth Faried, Oakland's Keith Benson, Hofstra's Charles Jenkins and Marquette's Jimmy Butler on the list. But I was most surprised by West Virginia forward Kevin Jones' absence. I figured the top returning player from a Final Four team wouldn't have any problem earning notice. Maybe his most recent performance (a six-point, five-rebound game in a 21-point loss to Duke) made too much of an impression, but Jones had averaged 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in his four NCAA tournament games before that one. He recorded at least eight rebounds in each game at the NCAA East Regional and should emerge as one of the Big East's top rebounders this season. I wouldn't be surprised if Jones ranks among the Big East's top 10 scorers and top five rebounders this season. That ought to earn him some postseason attention that will make up for this preseason snub.


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