Making the Madness 2020 Awards

Player of the year: Obi Toppin – Dayton

There is no shortage of players that should be considered for the National Player of the year award but when it comes down to the actual choice, there is only one correct choice. While someone like Markus Howard or Luka Garza can put up great stat lines, their overall value to the team is not as great as Obi Toppin’s. Toppin is a long, athletic, strong, versatile forward that can do it all. Toppin can step out and bury a three, he goes inside and can score efficiently, and most notably he can put on a dunk show in a game. Toppin does it all while having fun and also while being the main reason why Dayton was able to finish the season as a Top-5 team. 

Freshman of the year: Vernon Carey Jr. – Duke

Vernon Carey put up a really strong season this year, he averaged 17.8 PPG on a team that was one of the best teams in the sport. Carey was oftentimes the go-to guy for Duke and was great when he wasn’t in foul trouble. Carey is a really easy choice for this award given the overall lacking amount of great freshman but nonetheless is a worthy choice for this award. 

Coach of the year: Scott Drew – Baylor

This is one of the hardest choices to make, there are three coaches that are worthy of receiving this award as Brian Dutcher, Anthony Grant, and Scott Drew all are good choices for this award. Ultimately I went with Drew because he took his Baylor team to the next level. For much of the year, Baylor was the number one team in the country and that was for good reason, the team won 23-straight games. Drew led the Bears to their first win in Allen Fieldhouse which was also impressive. The other thing is that he did it with his best player in the preseason having to play limited minutes thanks to a knee injury. 

Defensive Player of the year: Marcus Garrett – Kansas 

The defensive player of the year award is one of the harder awards to give out as it is hard to exactly judge value in defense. That being said, I think there’s a really good choice for Defensive Player of the year and that is Marcus Garrett. Garrett is a versatile defender who guards 1-4 on the perimeter and does so by slowing that player down. Garrett is also really good at pickpocketing the opposing ball-handler and taking the ball the other way for a transition opportunity. Garrett is one of the main reasons for the fact the Jayhawks were historically great on the defensive end and why they were the favorites to win the National Championship. 

Most Improved Player: Nick Richards – Kentucky

There are plenty of people that improved a lot from one season to the next but there was absolutely no one that improved like Nick Richards. Coming into the year Richards was an afterthought, he was a guy that was often seen sitting on the bench and when he did play, he rarely produced. That all changed this year as Richards went from being an afterthought to one of the best players in the SEC. Richards became a great low-post scorer while he could step out and make an 18-foot jumper. Richards’ improvement is one of the main reasons why Kentucky was still able to end the year as a Top-10 team, without him Kentucky may not have even been a Top-25 team due to the lack of quality options inside. 

Glue Guy of the year: Aaron Thompson – Butler 

The glue-guy award goes to someone that goes unrecognized at times, someone that does all the little things that no one pays any attention to yet is a key reason that team wins. This year’s choice is an easy one as Aaron Thompson proved to be a very valuable piece for Butler. Thompson acts as Butler’s point guard, he’s a great passer and allows Kamar Baldwin to play off the ball, which is where he excels. Thompson is a good on-ball defender and oftentimes can be seen guarding the opponent’s best ball-handler. Thompson isn’t flashy, he won’t score 25 a night but when on the court Butler is a Top-20 team in the sport, while when he’s not playing, Butler probably isn’t a tournament team. 

All-American Teams

First Team

Devon Dotson – Kansas 

Payton Pritchard – Oregon

Myles Powell – Seton Hall 

Obi Toppin – Dayton

Luka Garza – Iowa

Second Team

Malachi Flynn – San Diego State 

Markus Howard – Marquette 

Cassius Winston – Michigan State 

Jalen Smith – Maryland 

Udoka Azubuike – Kansas 

Third Team

Remy Martin – Arizona State

Kamar Baldwin – Butler

Jared Butler – Baylor

Filip Petrusev – Gonzaga 

Vernon Carey Jr. – Duke

First Team All-Freshmen 

Tyrese Maxey – Kentucky 

Isaac Okoro – Auburn 

Onyeka Okongwu – USC

Vernon Carey Jr. – Duke

Kofi Cockburn – Illinois 

First Team All-Defense

Davion Mitchell – Baylor

Marcus Garrett – Kansas

Ty-Shon Alexander – Creighton 

Xavier Tillman – Michigan State 

Romaro Gill – Seton Hall

First Team All-Most Improved 

Immanuel Quickley – Kentucky 

Devin Vassell – Florida State 

Freddie Gillespie – Baylor

Daniel Oturu – Minnesota 

Nick Richards – Kentucky 

First Team All-Glue

Aaron Thompson – Butler 

Trent Forrest – Florida State

Herb Jones – Alabama 

Marcus Garrett – Kansas 

Mark Vital – Baylor

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