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The John R. Wooden Award, named after the Purdue legend, will be awarded on Sunday, March 12th to the most outstanding player in men’s and women’s college basketball. Purdue center Zach Edey is currently the front-runner for the honor after posting ridiculous numbers offensively while being one of the best defenders in the country.
Zach Edey, Center, Purdue, DK Odds, -1200
The 7’4” Canadian center has been a dominant force all season, being the centerpiece of a Boilermakers squad that started the season unranked and has now spent multiple stints as the top-ranked team in college basketball.
Edey averages 22.4 points per game (fourth in the country) along with 13.2 rebounds per game (second in the country) and posting the highest offensive rebound percentage nationally. The center also posts the third-highest block percentage in college basketball.
When Purdue’s offense relies on him having a big game, The Big Maple has shown he’s capable of putting up points in the mid 30’s while securing close to 20 rebounds. Those are dominant NBA numbers and those games have much more time on the clock.
Jalen Wilson, Forward, Kansas, DK Odds, +1200
Wilson has been a force for the eighth-ranked Jayhawks, acting as both an individual scoring threat while being a major facilitator for assisting the shooters around him. Sitting at about 3 assists per game while he’s typically called upon to play isolation ball while sharing the court with a lot of talented SG/SF talent.
He averages 21.5 PPG, good for the tenth-highest mark in D1, and 8.5 RPG (58th) despite typically being spaced around the paint defensively as a ‘tweener. At 6’8” and 225, he’s big enough to stick up for himself down low while being a great driver of the lane and showing he can nail those tough mid-range shots. Basically, Kansas’s successful offense runs through Wilson, creating problems for defenses who are forced to focus on a guy who plays almost 36 minutes per game.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Forward, Indiana, DK Odds, +4000
Jackson-Davis is another guy who would be very capable of playing center against smaller teams; he’s big enough to impose his presence down low and rebounds extremely well (11 RPG, tied for seventh nationally) and is a great shooter from mid-range, drawing enough attention on offense to confuse defenders with his physical presence down low combined with the mid--range threat. He’s just so physical down low and has shown that he has the footwork and muscle to out-battle players with a couple of inches over him.
Indiana’s go-to-guy averages 19.8 PPG (ranked 27th), regularly using his 6’9” 245-pound frame to bully his way into high-percentage shots, shooting 57.6% from the field, ranked 36th.