Jimmer Fredette and BYU Are Slipping, Can JaJuan Johnson Be Player of the Year?

James EvensCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - DECEMBER 21:  JaJuan Johnson #25 of the Purdue Boilermakers shoots the ball during the game against the IPFW Mastodons at Mackey Arena on December 21, 2010 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With everyone finally realizing, after the suspension of Brandon Davies for violating the BYU honor code, that Jimmer Fredette has not been a one-man army, could Purdue's JaJuan Johnson step in and grab National Player of the Year honors?

Johnson has been one of the most consistent big men this season.

The 6'10" senior has a mid-range dagger that kills defenses, and is one of the most versatile players in the nation. He's not only able to dominate opponents on the inside, but also step out and take a three-point shot when left open.

Johnson hasn't received the national attention he deserves, and this realization might just be enough to propel him into some coast-to-coast hype.

JJ is averaging 20.5 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game this season. His post defense has improved and he is by far one of the best shot blockers in the country.

Johnson has been in double figures all season, and has led the Boilermakers to a No. 6 ranking, a 25-5 record and a solid second place in the Big Ten.

He has also recorded nine double-doubles on the year and has been a force to be reckoned with during conference play.

BYU's loss tonight to New Mexico without Davies will most likely hurt Jimmer's hype as the nation's best player. The door should be wide open for Johnson to step into the spotlight and be recognized as the elite player he is.

Although his numbers may not be the best, he's been invaluable to his team even while sharing the spotlight with fellow senior E'Twaun Moore.

Perhaps with the unfortunate suspension of Davies, JaJuan Johnson will finally earn the respect he deserves as one of the top three college basketball players in the nation.

The kid deserves it, so why not show him more respect than we give to a guy who has the same numbers, but plays no defense?


James Evens serves as a National Featured Columnist for college football and basketball as well as the FC for the Purdue Boilermakers. Follow him on Twitter or like him on Facebook.