College basketball’s regular season has come to a close, we’re just days away from Selection Sunday — and then the three-week sprint that follows. Before we get to the 68 teams that have a chance to cut down the nets in Minneapolis, though, there’s some housekeeping to do.
After all, we can’t end a season without giving out individual awards and naming our All-America teams, right?
Player of the Year: Zion Williamson, Duke
It doesn’t really matter to me that he missed the final six games of the regular season — in fact, I think it showed how important he is to Duke. The Blue Devils were just 3-3 without him. With him, they were 23-2 and the national title favorite. Without Williamson, I’m not sure they’re a locked-in second-weekend NCAA tournament team. Simply put, we haven’t seen anyone like him in college basketball in a very long time, if not ever. He’s a dominant, physical force at both ends of the floor, which is overlooked when discussing Williamson. His athleticism and power are hard to hide, but he’s also one of the best defensive players in the country. Mike Krzyzewski needs him back.
Runner-up — RJ Barrett, Duke: I’m not sure Barrett has actually closed the gap on Williamson for the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft, but he has more than held his own — and his all-around offensive game is second to none nationally.