NCAA BK

WOODEN WATCH: Collison streaks to top

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Frank Burlison

 
   
 
Is it possible for anyone to turn in a better performance than the one came up with for Monday night against Texas? If it is, let's hope we get to see it, up close and personal. Because the 6-foot-9 Collison set the bar very high while leading the Jayhawks past the visiting Longhorns. Collison scored 24 points, grabbed 23 rebounds and blocked three shots in his team's 90-87 Big 12 Conference victory. As gaudy as those numbers are, they don't reflect the defensive effort that included his almost constantly lending help in an effort to cut off the penetration of Texas guard , nor the screens he set to help free up his teammates for jump shots. It was a performance worthy of someone who is a leading candidate to win the John R. Wooden Award as the best player in college. And that's a big reason why the senior post player has ascended to the top of the latest FOXSports.com Top 10 Wooden ratings. "That's as impressive performance as I've ever had," his coach, Roy Williams, said this week. "I'm not so sure I can remember any performance that's stood up to that, because that wasn't 'Alvamar Tech' that he was playing against. I even said in the locker room, in front of the other guys, "Fellas, that big fellow right there played his you-know-what off." Returning to the Top 10 this week was Ford, who was simply dazzling (25 points and 10 assists) in the loss to Kansas. The John R. Wooden Award winner will be announced and presented with the trophy by the legendary coach it's named for during an April 13 ceremony in Los Angeles that will be nationally televised by Fox Sports Net.
Top 10 Wooden Award candidates
1. : 6-9, Sr., Kansas
Stats: 19.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.
Check him out against: on Monday.
Comment: Collison's Monday performance was vintage Bill Walton, if you're old enough to remember watching him play for in the 1970s.
2. : 6-10, Sr., Illinois
Stats: 21.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg and 1.8 apg.
Check him out against: on Sunday.
Comment: His effort against Michigan Wednesday night was every bit as "clutch" as Collison's was against Texas.
3. : 6-4, Jr.,
Stats: 23.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.8 apg and 2.2 spg.
Check him out against: on Saturday.
Comment: His team's Conference USA title hopes — and his Wooden stock — can get a nice boost with a win against the Bearcats.
4. : 6-7, Sr.,
Stats: 19.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.8 apg and 1.5 spg.
Check him out against: Drake on Saturday.
Comment: Watching him come off screens and nailing deep 3's before the defender realizes he's caught the ball is one of the joys of this season.
5. : 6-1, So.,
Stats: 17.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 7.1 apg and 1.9 spg.
Check him out against: on Saturday.
Comment: He gets the nod over Ford right now only by the slimmest of margins. In fact, I came oh-so-close to flip-flopping their spots. Maybe I'll do it next week.
6. : 5-10, So., Texas
Stats: 14.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 7.2 apg and 2.5 spg.
Check him out against: on Saturday.
Comment: His speed and quickness was startling to even veteran NBA talent evaluators Monday night.
7. : 6-8, Sr., Xavier
Stats: 19.0 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.4 spg and 1.4 bpg.
Check him out against: Richmond on Saturday.
Comment: The Musketeers could need a "Collison/Cook" type of performance out of him to hold off the Spiders Saturday.
8. : 6-7, Sr.,
Stats: 18.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.4 spg and 1.6 bpg.
Check him out against: North Carolina on Sunday.
Comment: John R. Wooden voters will get a chance to see him on national TV (Fox Sports Net) against the Tar Heels.
9. : 6-7, Jr., Georgia
Stats: 17.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.8 apg and 1.5 spg.
Check him out against: on Saturday.
Comment: Either he or — or both — are in danger of dropping out of the Top 10 without nice performances in Athens on Saturday.
10. : 6-9, Jr.,
Stats:17.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.5 apg and 1.3 spg.
Check him out against: Georgia on Saturday.
Comment: He hasn't blocked a shot in four games. Shouldn't he have gotten at least a couple by accident?
Dropped out: (Syracuse, No. 9)

Next 30 candidates, listed alphabetically: (6-4, Jr., ), (6-8, Fr., ), (6-3, Sr., ), (6-7, Sr., Michigan), (6-5, Sr., ), (6-9, Sr., Florida), (6-6, Sr., ), (6-8, Sr., Alabama), (6-5, Jr., ), (6-6, Sr., ), (5-10, Sr., Arizona), (6-5, Sr., ), (6-2, So., ), (6-1, Sr., St. John's), (6-3, Sr., Kansas), (6-6, Sr., Duke), (6-9, Jr., ), (6-4, Fr., North Carolina), (6-0, Sr., ), (5-10, Jr., Saint Joseph's), (6-3, Sr., ), (6-9, So., ), (6-1, Sr., Oklahoma), (6-4, Fr., Duke), (6-2, Jr., Oregon), (6-8, Sr., Tennessee), Michael Sweetney (6-8, Sr., ), (6-8, Sr., Arizona), (6-6, Fr., Florida) and (6-4, Sr., Georgia).
Note: Statistics through games of Jan. 30.

Tagged: Cincinnati, Louisville, Arizona, UCLA, Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan, North Carolina, Duke, Maryland, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi State, Florida, Richmond, Kent State, Drake, St. Joseph's, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Connecticut, Georgetown, St. John's (NY), Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma State

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