Inside the Naismith voting process (cont.)
The Cutting Process
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)
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
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
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
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