If everyone was chasing Zion Williamson to be national player of the year this season, then what happens now that he’s sidelined indefinitely?
Williamson will miss his second straight game Tuesday at Virginia Tech after spraining his knee in a loss last week to North Carolina.
The 6-foot-7, 289-pound athletic freak of nature was averaging 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
Fellow freshman RJ Barrett replaces Williamson as Duke’s go-to guy, but he also might be the top candidate for the best player in college hoops with his teammate out, especially if the Blue Devils keep winning.
Barrett is putting up 28.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists per outing in his last three games, including 30 points and seven assists in the 75-65 win Saturday at Syracuse.
There’s been a recent debate about whether Barrett, who is a triple-double threat with his versatility on the perimeter, could possibly be the No. 1 in the 2019 NBA Draft over Williamson. The better bet is he rises to the top of the ranking for the Wooden and Naismith Awards if the most exciting player in the game continues to sit to recover from his injury.
Below is my ranking for national player of the year as of Tuesday afternoon:
- Zion Williamson, freshman, forward, Duke
- RJ Barrett, freshman, guard, Duke
- Grant Williams, junior, forward, Tennessee
- Rui Hachimura, junior, forward, Gonzaga
- Cassius Winston, junior, guard, Michigan State
- Markus Howard, junior, guard, Marquette
- Ethan Happ, senior, center, Wisconsin
- Jarrett Culver, sophomore, guard, Texas Tech
- Dedric Lawson, junior, forward, Kansas
- Ja Morant, sophomore, guard, Murray State