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Posted: Thursday October 8, 2009 6:25PM; Updated: Thursday October 8, 2009 7:43PM
Luke Winn Luke Winn >

Inside the Naismith voting process (cont.)

The Cutting Process

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How did I get from 69 to 50? My goal wasn't necessarily to have the 50 best players, but rather to have the 50 most likely contenders, while recognizing a fair portion of mid-major stars. It took five rounds to reach 19 cuts.

First Cut: The overshadowed (6/19)

You could make a national title contender out of this group, but it's difficult to envision any of them being the clear star of their current team.

Corey Fisher, Villanova (overshadowed by Reynolds)
E'Twaun Moore, Purdue (Hummel and Johnson)
Stanley Robinson, UConn (Dyson and Walker)
Deon Thompson, UNC (Davis)
Jon Scheyer, Duke (Singler)
DeShawn Sims, Michigan (Harris)

Second Cut: More size/potential than production (1/19)

Solomon Alabi, Florida State

I drew the defensive center line at Mississippi State's Varnado, Tulsa's Jordan and VCU's Sanders. Alabi will eventually be a first-round draft pick, but he didn't even score double-digits as a freshman, and I doubt his numbers will reach a Naismith level this season.

Third Cut: The bubble dwellers (7/19)

I went through the second-tier establishment and took out the five guys who seemed to face the biggest uphill battles; none of them are likely to be playing for conference champs, and some will be playing in the NIT. I also sliced off Crawford and Johnson; they're both talented, but it seems unrealistic that either would be a mega-star right out of the gate.

Lazar Hayward, Marquette
Tajuan Porter, Oregon
Rakim Sanders, Boston College
Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati
Michael Washington, Arkansas
Jordan Crawford, Xavier
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse

Fourth Cut: Too Gluey (1/19)

J.T. Tiller, Missouri

I love his game, and he'll be Mizzou's most valuable player, but he's not enough of a scorer to contend for the Naismith. If they made an official Naismith Glue Award, though, Tiller would be on the short list.

Fifth Cut: Trimming the midsection (4/19)

My mid-major litmus test came down to, "Can these guys transcend mid-majordom and become national names?" These four didn't make the cut:

Marqus Blakely, Vermont
Randy Culpepper, UTEP
Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State
Ryan Thompson, Rider

With that, I shrunk the list to the final 50 -- a pool which, I'm confident, contains the eventual winner:

The Final 50

Presented in alphabetical order:

Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
James Anderson, Oklahoma State
Talor Battle, Penn State
Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Trevor Booker, Clemson
Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga
Craig Brackins, Iowa State
Avery Bradley, Texas
Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia
Denis Clemente, Kansas State
Sherron Collins, Kansas
Ed Davis, North Carolina
Devan Downey, South Carolina
Jerome Dyson, Connecticut
Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
Gordon Hayward, Butler
Manny Harris, Michigan
Matt Howard, Butler
Robbie Hummel, Purdue
Damion James, Texas
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
Jerome Jordan, Tulsa
Sylven Landesberg, Virginia
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Tasmin Mitchell, LSU
Greg Monroe, Georgetown
Raymar Morgan, Michigan State
A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
Jerome Randle, Cal
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
Samardo Samuels, Louisville
Larry Sanders, VCU
Kyle Singler, Duke
Tyler Smith, Tennessee
Isaiah Thomas, Washington
Klay Thompson, Washington State
Evan Turner, Ohio State
Edwin Ubiles, Siena
Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
Kemba Walker, UConn
John Wall, Kentucky
Willie Warren, Oklahoma
Terrico White, Ole Miss
Nic Wise, Arizona
Chris Wright, Dayton

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