NCAA Basketball: Why Draymond Green Deserves to Be National Player of the Year

Matt Bowen@@IsItGameTimeYetAnalyst IIMarch 17, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11:  Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans brings the ball up court against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Final Game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Conference Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 11, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There may be better NBA prospects in college basketball, but Michigan State's Draymond Green is the best player in the nation. 

The sensational senior led the Michigan State Spartans from being unranked at the beginning of the 2011-12 season to national prominence by the time March rolled around.

It’s not just his play on the hardwood that deserves credit—it’s his leadership off the court that makes him the “perfect Spartan.” For instance, to honor fallen teammate and friend Delvon Roe, who had to retire from basketball due to injuries, Green wore Roe's No. 10 during the Carrier Classic against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Spartans' first game of the season.

He’s become the exemplary figure in college athletics during his four-year career in East Lansing. College basketball will forever be grateful for his contributions to the game.

His game speaks for itself, as he averaged 16.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists this season.

In doing so, he became the first player in a power-six conference to average 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists since Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan did it in 1996-97. For those who remember, Duncan was simply dazzling in his college career.

Not that this matters toward his consideration for National Player of the Year, but Green also became the first player in the NCAA since Earvin Johnson to have two triple-doubles in the tournament with his second-round performance against LIU-Brooklyn on March 16. His 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists instantly made him a tournament immortal, as that feat may never be matched again.

Sure, Kentucky Wildcats freshman big man Anthony Davis and Kansas Jayhawks forward Thomas Robinson had phenomenal seasons.

Along with Green, they are the front-runners for the National Player of the Year award. While these kids will undoubtedly get drafted in the NBA before Green does, they were not better than him this season.

Behind Davis’ average of 14.3 points, 10 rebounds and 4.7 blocks a game, Kentucky was ranked No. 1 for most of the season, but Davis had a better supporting cast than Green. Kentucky is like an under-20 NBA team.

Heck, they may be better than some NBA teams.

As for Thomas Robinson at Kansas, he averaged 17.9 points and 11.9 rebounds this year. He’s a great player who’s overcome tremendous adversity, but Green’s a floor general who single-handedly made every one of his teammates better.

This season, Green played in what was regarded as the best conference in all the land. Because of his commitment and attitude toward being the best, the Spartans reached heights only he expected.

Green led his team to a regular season co-Big Ten Championship, the Big Ten tournament championship and took home Big Ten Player of the Year honors. He also was named the Big Ten tournament Most Valuable Player. Thanks to these accomplishments, Green became a first-team All-American.

His level of versatility is something rarely seen in the college game. He ultimately helped his team earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and is determined to reach what would be his third Final Four.

Green is must-see TV the rest of the way; the Spartans next play Sunday against Saint Louis. Every time he touches the ball greatness is flashing before our eyes. With every point, rebound and assist his legend grows. 

When it’s all said and done, he deserves to be named National Player of the Year.   

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