Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 24, 2015
Ballots for the Naismith Player and Coach of the Year went out recently. And, per usual, there are some difficult choices.
The options for Player of the Year are:
- Kentucky junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein
- Notre Dame senior guard Jerian Grant
- Wisconsin senior forward Frank Kaminsky
- Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor
The Coach of the Year choices are:
- Virginia?s Tony Bennett
- Kentucky?s John Calipari
- Wisconsin?s Bo Ryan
- Villanova?s Jay Wright
I gave my Player of the Year vote to Kaminsky. Yes, cases can be made for the other options, but Kaminsky is the centerpiece on one of the best teams in the nation. The rangy senior, who was voted Big Ten Player of the Year, is shooting 56 percent and averaging 18.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.5 blocks. He can play inside, outside, facing the basket, back to the basket, he defends, his range extends to the 3-point line ? in short, he can do it all in a 7-foot package. Kaminsky is college?s version of Dirk Nowitzki.
As for Coach of the Year ? I had to go with Calipari. How can you really choose anyone else? He has Kentucky dancing with history, the first team ever to start a season 36-0 and four wins away from the first unbeaten season in college basketball since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers. And going unbeaten in this era is MUCH more difficult-media scrutiny, social media, bigger NCAA tourney, among other things–than back when IU did it. How Calipari manages all of his talent, getting players to lose themselves in the team and accept roles, is very impressive.
Agree with my selections? Disagree?
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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