Making the Madness Awards

Making the Madness Awards

Player of the year: Luka Garza – Iowa

Coming into this year, Garza was the heavy favorite to win the award, then he went out and performed at a level that beat his expectations. Garza averaged 24.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game while shooting 55.3% from the field and 44% from three. Simply put, Garza is an elite-level scorer that played a huge role for an Iowa team that ended the season as a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

Freshman of the year: Cade Cunningham – Oklahoma State

This was one of the best freshman classes in recent memory but Cade Cunningham ends up winning the award thanks to a great season where he led Oklahoma State to success not seen since Marcus Smart was in College. Cunningham is a selfless superstar, his main issue is that he differs too much but even then he still averaged 20.1 points, 3.5 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game. His stealer season will be what gets him likely selected #1 in the NBA Draft, while his play helped put Oklahoma State back on the map. 

Coach of the year: Mark Few – Gonzaga

Yes, Gonzaga lost the National Championship but this team had a fantastic season and it was largely because Mark Few built a great team. The Bulldogs finished 31-1 on the season and came within 40 minutes of a Championship. Gonzaga will be back in this game sooner rather than later and they can win it all. 

Defensive Player of the year: Davion Mitchell – Baylor

Baylor is a team that provides a lot of pressure defensively and the head of that Baylor defense is Davion Mitchell. Mitchell is the fastest player in College Basketball, has great hands and an instinct for the ball, unlike any other guard. Those skill sets earn him the nickname “off-night” and make him the toughest player to score against in College Basketball. 

All-American Lists

First Team 

Luka Garza – Iowa

As mentioned earlier, Garza had a fantastic season, his winning of the National Player of the year automatically puts him on the First-Team All-American list.

Ayo Dosumnu – Illinois

Illinois had high expectations coming into this year but thanks to great play from Ayo Dosumnu, Illinois managed to achieve many of its goals as they won the Big Ten Championship game. Dosumnu was an elite scorer, he developed his passing while leading this Illinois team to success not seen since 2005. Ayo averaged 20.1 points, 5.3 assists, and 6.3 rebounds per game while making a clutch play every game in which the Illini needed it in order to win. 

Corey Kispert – Gonzaga

The Bulldogs had a fantastic season and a large reason for that is Corey Kispert. Kispert was an elite 3-and-D guard that shot 44% from three while having an ability to score off the dribble, his floor-spacing was big in leading the Bulldogs to an incredible season. 

Davion Mitchell – Baylor

The best defender is one of the five best players in College Basketball. We’ve talked about his defense but his offense is extremely impressive. He has a burst of speed that allows him to get to the rim with ease, while he has elite scoring ability and is an elite shooter as well. 

Drew Timme – Gonzaga

The Mustache celebration is iconic as is Drew Timme who led Gonzaga in scoring. Timme averaged 19 points and 7 rebounds per game, his post moves were unstoppable for much of this season. Timme could return and be the Preseason National Player of the year next year as he looks to develop a little bit defensively.

Second Team

Cade Cunningham – Oklahoma State

Cunningham won the Big 12 Player of the year, as well as the freshman of the year already. His addition to the second team All-American list is just icing on top of an already large cake. 

Jared Butler – Baylor

The NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player lands on our second team for this season. Butler is a really good shooter and scorer that can make shots from three and score off the dribble, this year notching a 16.7 point per game average on 41.6% shooting from three. His ability to really do it all is something that has been big for Baylor as they were able to win it all. 

Jalen Suggs – Gonzaga

The Bulldogs have plenty of talent but the difference in this season came down to Jalen Suggs. He was an elite athlete who was able to get to the rim with ease while he had maybe the most confidence of any player in College Basketball. Averaging 14.4 points and 4.5 assists per game this season, Suggs will have an opportunity to continue to dominate at the next level. 

Evan Mobley – USC

Evan Mobley won the Pac-12 Player of the year award and now he adds Second-Team All American to this accomplished season. Mobley averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game, which is an outstanding stat line for a big man. His ability to score inside, while occasionally stepping out and making jumpers is important but his defense might be even more impressive when talking about Mobley’s greatness. 

Hunter Dickinson – Michigan

The second-team All-American list (AKA the All-Freshman team + Jared Butler), concludes with Michigan’s best player Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson averaged 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, which led a great Michigan team in scoring. Dickinson’s ability to dominate on the interior offensively was outstanding, if he returns for another season he will have a chance at contending for the National Player of the year award. 

Third Team (Six Players are on this because there was a tie)

Max Abmas – Oral Roberts

The Summit League has had a lot of great players roll through this league but Max Abmas may have just established himself as the best one. Abmas averaged 24.5 points per game, which led College Basketball in scoring. His scoring was a major key for Oral Roberts as they not only won the Summit League but his play in the NCAA Tournament led them to be only the second 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16. 

Herb Jones – Alabama

Averaging 11.2 points per game usually isn’t good enough to get players on All-American teams but when that player averages 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists while winning defensive player of the year in the SEC, that player tends to be pretty valuable. Jones is an elite glue guy, he’s a good passer, he’s a great defender, he’s a good shot-blocker, and is a winner. He may not be the best scorer or even close to it, but because of all the other things he does, he gets a spot on the third team All-American list. 

Kofi Cockburn – Illinois

Size and physicality are one thing that cannot be matched by many when looking at Kofi Cockburn. Cockburn used that to average 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this season. He was a major factor in leading Illinois to the Big Ten Tournament title and the Illini having their best season in over a decade. 

Quentin Grimes – Houston 

The Houston Cougars made their first Final Four since 1984 and a major reason for that achievement was Quentin Grimes. His 17.8 points per game were big for Houston’s success. His future may not be known but what he did for Houston should help him be remembered as one of the greats in Cougar history and an All-American list invite is a fitting award for him.

McKinley Wright IV – Colorado

McKinley Wright makes this list after narrowly missing out on the Pac 12 player of the year award. His passing and scoring ability are an elite skillset, this year he averaged 15.2 points and 5.7 assists per game, while leading Colorado to the NCAA Tournament. It is no doubt that he will be considered one of the best to ever put on a Colorado uniform. 

Chris Duarte – Oregon

The once JUCO Player of the year has become an All-American player that led Oregon to the Sweet 16. Duarte averaged 17.1 points per game on 42.4% shooting from three and 53.2% shooting from the floor. His scoring ability helped make the Ducks Pac 12 regular-season Champions this season. 

Others who received votes: Miles McBride (West Virginia), Johnny Juzang (UCLA), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova), Cameron Krutwig (Loyola-Chicago), Joel Ayayi (Gonzaga), MaCio Teague (Baylor)

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