Top Men's College Basketball Players 2022
With just weeks remaining in the 2021-22 men's college basketball regular season, players from around the country are beginning to round out their case for some of the most prestigious awards in basketball, including:
- Naismith Player of the Year Award: The Naismith Player of the Year Award is presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, and recognizes the top men's college basketball player of the season.
- AP Player of the Year: The AP Player of the Year award is presented by the Associated Press, and recognizes the best men's college basketball player of the season.
- John R. Wooden Award: The Wooden Award is presented by The Los Angeles Athletic Club, and recognizes the most outstanding men's college basketball player of the year.
With these in mind, here is a list of the top twelve college basketball players of the season thus far, all of which have made strong cases for these and many other awards this season.
1. Johnny Davis, Wisconsin Badgers
- 2021-22 stats: 20.6PTS, 8.3REB, 2.5AST
- Top performance: 37PTS, 14REB, 3AST in 74-69 win over Purdue
His case: Johnny Davis has been the most consistent player in the country all year, scoring in double digits in all but one game. He has been the main reason the Badgers have surpassed all expectations this season, and if he can keep it up, there is no doubt he will be getting rewarded for it when award season comes around.
2. Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky Wildcats
- 2021-22 stats: 15.8PTS, 15.2REB, 1.0AST
- Top performance: 21PTS, 22REB in 82-74 OT win over Mississippi State
His case: Tshiebwe is putting up historic numbers. On two occasions this season, he has recorded back-to-back games with 20+ rebounds; not only is he getting it done on the glass, but he is shooting nearly 60% from the field and averaging well over a block per game.
3. Kofi Cockburn, Illinois Fighting Illini
- 2021-22 stats: 21.8PTS, 11.4REB, 0.9AST
- Top performance: 37PTS, 12REB in 80-67 win over Wisconsin
His case: Simply put: Kofi Cockburn is one of the most dominant college basketball players we have seen in years- and he has the numbers to show for it. He has single-handedly kept Illinois among the top of the Big 10, and makes for a dangerous matchup for any opponent come tournament time.
4. Jabari Smith, Auburn Tigers
- 2021-22 stats: 15.3PTS, 6.7REB, 1.8AST
- Top performance: 25PTS, 7REB in 81-77 win over Alabama
His case: Although he has struggled at times in SEC play, Smith has been one of the main reasons that Auburn is the number one team in the country. Shooting over 40% from three and having the athleticism to take defenders off the dribble, Smith is a dynamic scorer whose play has his name in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
5. Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona Wildcats
- 2021-22 stats: 16.5PTS, 6.0REB, 2.0AST
- Top performance: 30PTS, 7REB in 83-79 win over Illinois
His case: Mathurin has exploded onto the scene in his sophomore campaign as the leader of a dangerous Arizona team, who sits at the top of the PAC-12 with one of the best records in the entire country.
6. Keegan Murray, Iowa Hawkeyes
- 2021-22 stats: 22.3PTS, 8.3REB, 1.1AST
- Top Performance: 27PTS, 21REB, 4BLK in 86-69 win over North Carolina Central
His case: Murray opened the season with six straight games of 23+ points and has not slowed down since. The sharpshooter is shooting a remarkable 55% from the field, and if the Hawkeyes can get hot, there is no reason Murray shouldn't be a serious contender for a Player of the Year award.
7. Ochai Agbaji, Kansas Jayhawks
- 2021-22 stats: 20.8PTS, 5.0REB, 1.5AST
- Top performance: 37PTS, 7REB, 2AST, 2BLK in 94-91 2OT win over Texas Tech
His case: Agbaji has been known as more of a defender early in his Kansas career, but this season he has developed into one of the best two-way players in college basketball. Shooting the three at over 45%, he is able to space the floor on offense and is capable of facing up anyone on the defensive end.
8. Paolo Banchero, Duke Blue Devils
- 2021-22 stats: 17.5PTS, 8.4REB, 2.6AST
- Top performance: 28PTS, 8REB, 6AST in 107-81 win over The Citadel
His case: Banchero leads the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding, and has the athleticism to guard several positions on defense. He will be among the top picks in the upcoming NBA draft, and certainly a strong finalist for several Player of the Year awards when all is said and done.
9. Drew Timme, Gonzaga Bulldogs
- 2021-22 stats: 17.6PTS, 6.0REB, 2.4AST
- Top performance: 37PTS, 7REB, 3AST in 86-74 win over Texas
His case: Sharing the front court with Chet Holmgren has limited his production at times, but there are not many more impactful players down low on both offense and defense at all times than Timme.
10. Jaden Ivey, Purdue Boilermakers
- 2021-22 stats: 17.3PTS, 5.2REB, 3.2AST
- Top performance: 22PTS, 10REB, 6AST in 93-84 win over North Carolina
His case: Ivey has been one of the most dominant guards in college basketball all season. After shooting 25% from three last season, a 41% 3-point shooting clip this year makes him one of the more dynamic and dangerous scorers in the Big Ten.
11. Johnny Juzang, UCLA Bruins
- 2021-22 stats: 17.8PTS, 5.2REB, 1.8AST
- Top performance: 25PTS, 8REB in OT win over Villanova
His case: Juzang became a household name during last year's memorable Final Four run, and started this season right where he had left off. Inconsistency throughout the year keeps him towards the bottom of this list, but nonetheless, he still remains the centerpiece of one of the best teams in the country.
12. E.J. Liddell, Ohio State Buckeyes
- 2021-22 stats: 19.7PTS, 7.5REB, 2.8AST
- Top performance: 34PTS, 4REB in 95-87 win over Northwestern
His case: In addition to bringing up his scoring average to nearly twenty points per game, Liddell has shown massive growth on the defensive end as well, averaging nearly three blocks per contest.