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Deandre Ayton one of four finalists for Naismith Award

Duke’s Marvin Bagley, Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, and Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham are the other three

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-Arizona vs Southern California Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s an unsurprising piece of news.

Arizona Wildcats big man Deandre Ayton is one of four finalists for the Naismith Award, it was announced Tuesday. The award is given to the nation’s top player.

The other three candidates are Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, and Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham.

Let’s see how these four candidates stack up.

Marvin Bagley III, Duke

  • 21.1 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.0 BLKs, 2.4 TOV
  • 60.5 FG%, 37.0 3PT%, 62 FT%

Jalen Brunson, Villanova

  • 19.4 PPG, 4.7 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.7 TOV, 0.9 STLs
  • 53.1 FG%, 41.3 3PT%, 79.9 FT%

Devonte’ Graham, Kansas

  • 17.3 PPG, 7.5 APG, 3.9 RPG, 2.8 TOV, 1.6 STLs
  • 40.3 FG%, 41.2 3PT%, 83.4 FT%

Deandre Ayton, Arizona

  • 20.3 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1.9 BLKs, 1.6 APG, 2.0 TOV
  • 61.6 FG%, 36.4 3PT%, 74.2 FT%

From a statistical standpoint, Ayton and Bagley look like the frontrunners for the award. However, KenPom lists the order as Bagley, then Brunson, then Ayton, then Graham. (Graham is far below the others, per KenPom).

Oklahoma’s Trae Young is a surprising omission. He leads the nation in both scoring (27.7 PPG) and assists (8.8 APG).

An interesting stat in Ayton’s favor is that he has 17 Game MVPs, per KenPom, meaning he has been the best player (based on performance) on the court in 17 games this season. That is the second-best number in the country, only behind Saint Mary’s center Jock Landale.

Brunson, Bagley, and Graham aren’t even in the top 16 in the country in that stat.

The winner of the Naismith Award will be announced on April 1 at the Naismith Awards Brunch at Pearl Stable in San Antonio, Texas.


Who should win the Naismith Award?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Deandre Ayton
    (864 votes)
  • 3%
    Marvin Bagley III
    (35 votes)
  • 2%
    Jalen Brunson
    (20 votes)
  • 2%
    Devonte’ Graham
    (19 votes)
938 votes total Vote Now