ESPN has listed Iowa State forward Georges Niang as one of the top Wooden Award contenders among returning players in college baksetball this season.
Myron Medcalf had a list of 10 returnees that he believes will have the spotlight on them to receive the national player of the year award. Doug McDermott was a favorite last year and never relinquished his firm grasp on the award. This year could be a little different.
Niang being listed among players like North Carolina’s Marcus Paige, Wichita State’s Fred Van Vleet, and UConn’s Ryan Boatright is an honor, and it should hit home how much of a loss it was that he was out after just one game into the NCAA tournament last year.
Mentioning that, Medcalf did make an error in his article. He brings up that Niang suffered a foot injury during the Big 12 tournament, which is incorrect. He had a bloody cut above the eye during the tournament, but the disastrous foot injury came in the big dance.
The junior forward isn’t alone on the list in the conference. West Virginia’s Juwan Staten is also a returnee that should be looked at. Other contenders (freshmen and sleepers) are Kansas State’s Marcus Foster, Kansas’ Wayne Selden, Jr., and newcomer Cliff Alexander.
Medcalf is right — the field is huge coming into this year. It would have been pretty big last year with all the talent, but McDermott had a pretty big advantage heading into the season and never let up in a great final run at Creighton..