BOZICH | Can a U of L, UK, IU or WKU participant rally in Picket Award race?


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — No Donovan Mitchell. No Russ Smith. No Louisville representation on the list of 25 mid-season candidates for the John Wooden Award as the best player in college basketball.

No De’Aaron Fox. No Karl-Anthony Towns. No Anthony Davis. No Kentucky love either.

No Yogi Ferrell. No Victor Oladipo. Add Indiana to the list of local programs shut out on the Wooden list, too. Ditto for Western Kentucky, which might be the hottest team in the region. Ask Old Dominion.

The 25-player list features the expected assortment of guys from Duke (Marvin Bagley, Grayson Allen), North Carolina (Joel Berry, Luke Maye) and Villanova (Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson).

But nobody from U of L, UK, IU or WKU. That has not happened since … well, the  WDRB Research Department will work on that.

Until I receive their report, it’s time for a look at the analytics on local players.

*If any Louisville player has a chance to make a late push for Wooden recognition, it’s Raymond Spalding.

The National Statistical college basketball site ranks Spalding the 43rd best player in the country and No. 7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Spalding has averaged a double-double over Louisville’s last five games – nearly 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Give him the ball. Then give it to him again.

According to Ken Pomeroy, Spalding ranks 11th in nationally in offensive rebounding percentage. He’s also in the top 100 nationally in block and steals percentage. Spalding is the only Louisville player with three Top 100 rankings in categories that Pomeroy measures.

The ACC players ranked ahead of Spalding?

Bagley; Maye; Wendell Carter of Duke; Bonzie Colson of Notre Dame; Clemson forward Elijah Thomas and Doral Moore of Wake Forest.

According to the National Statistics site, here are the rankings of David Padgett’s veterans:

Anas Mahmoud 19th in the ACC, 159st nationally; Deng Adel, 44/346; Quentin Snider 59/497 and V.J. King 101/760.

*You can nominate several guys as Kentucky’s top player — P.J. Washington; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander; Kevin Knox or Hamidou Diallo.

For the first six weeks, Knox looked like the guy likely to make the Wooden Award cut. Now, I’d nominate Washington as the guy who could rally. He’s averaged 13.8 points and better than 6 boards in UK’s last eight games. Nobody questions his toughness.

Here’s the strange thing: The numbers from two analytics site say that another Kentucky deserves more minutes.

That player is freshman center Nick Richards.

The National Statistics site puts…



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