After the midseason top 25 Wooden Award watch list was announced, some were surprised with the result. Among them was the omission of Marcus Paige. The North Carolina guard was listed in the preseason top 5, although at that point I wrote how he did not belong.
(Click here to read my November 8th article. Not only did I write Paige did not belong, but I nominated Yogi Ferrell instead. Today Ferrell is listed on the Wooden watch).
Another surprise on the current list is the snubs from among some teams in the AP top 25. Despite consistently being ranked there, the Wooden Award list doesn’t include a Villanova Wildcat, Texas Longhorn or Northern Iowa Panther.
Well, Matty D’s Eye Test is on the case. Let me break down a full roster of eye test all stars…
PG. Montae Morris – Iowa State
Morris is head-and-shoulders above any other point guard in the nation with a 5.52 assist-to-turnover ratio. That means he has 94 assists on the year with only 17 turnovers.
SG. Michael Qualls – Arkansas
Arkansas’ identity leans on full court pressure and transition offense. The eye test tells you that Qualls can hypnotize a neutral crowd with his outstanding athleticism. YouTube some of his dunk highlights when you have an hour-long lunch break. Or see one below.
SF. Troy Williams – Indiana
Yes, Yogi Ferrell deserves to be in the top 25 for the Wooden Watch. However, Troy Williams has been ever more clutch for this Hoosiers team. In a recent win at Illinois, Williams sealed the deal with six points and 3 rebounds in the final 1:45. Similarly, he scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a win against 22nd ranked Ohio State. Williams literally did everything in a near overtime loss against Georgetown, scoring 23 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and dropping 4 assists as he played point guard at times.
PF. Larry Nance Jr. – Wyoming
Nance Jr. has surged back after a torn ACL 10 months ago. I wish I had counted how many dunks he has on the season. This guy is the anchor of a very athletic Wyoming bunch that will surprise in March. He plays great help defense as well. The Cowboys were ranked 25th in the country just days ago before a skilled San Diego State team knocked them off the block.
C. Seth Tuttle – Northern Iowa
He was appropriately nicknamed the “Ninja Tuttle 5 man” by broadcaster Mark Adams during the Panthers game on ESPNU recently. Tuttle is a trusted big man who a team can work the offense through. Tuttle averages 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. If college basketball counted hockey assists, perhaps he’d get the Wooden Watch recognition he deserves. He has post moves but can also hit a three pointer. He’s been compared to Doug McDermott, but he can actually hold his own down low defensively (and offensively) much better than McDermott. (He is not as great a shooter as Dougy McBuckets, but how many people are?)
Ryan Arcidiacono – Villanova – Guard
Jonathan Holmes – Texas – Forward
Isaac Haas – Purdue – Center
Kenneth Smith – Louisiana Tech – Guard
Frank Mason Jr. – Kansas – Guard
J.D. Weatherspoon – Toldeo – Forward
Keifer Sykes – Green Bay – Guard