Conference play is getting underway across the college basketball landscape, meaning that it’s time for Naismith Award candidates to stop fattening their stats against East Nowhere State. With some players’ numbers dipping and others' soaring—along with their teams’ performances—there have been some important changes since our last look at the Naismith favorites.
One new face among this edition’s front-runners started the year as one of the country’s most-hyped players. UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad is starting to live up to his billing, as he showed by lighting up then-No. 7 Missouri in an upset win at Pauley Pavilion.
Read on for more on Muhammad and the rest of the 20 most promising candidates to take home national Player of the Year hardware at season’s end.