Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Carsen Edwards Top Naismith Player of the Year Odds

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2018

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 27:  Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts against the Indiana Hoosiers during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 27, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke's Zion Williamson has taken the college basketball world by storm in his freshman year and, not surprisingly, is the favorite to take home this year's Naismith Player of the Year award.

According to OddsShark, Williams comes in at +450 (bet $100 to win $450), followed by Duke's RJ Barrett and Purdue's Carsen Edwards (+550 each). 

Williamson is averaging 20.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 blocks per game. On a loaded Blue Devils squad, he manages to stand out. 

His combination of size, strength and athleticism has made him one of college basketball's most compelling players in recent memory. Watching Williamson race down the floor on a fast break and posterize an opponent is must-see television. Even his teammates enjoy the show:

One of those teammates, Barrett, is having an excellent year of his own. The freshman forward leads the Blue Devils in scoring (23.1) in addition to 6.3 boards, 4.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game. While he's a work in progress as a perimeter shooter, hitting on 34.8 percent of his threes, there's little question that Barrett is one of the most talented players in the nation.

There are questions about his game that Barrett will have to answer for the NBA community, however:

But among his peers at the college level, Barrett is a superstar. And Williamson and Barrett have led Duke to a 7-1 record, making them the favorites to win this year's national championship.

Then there's Edwards, a junior guard putting up serious numbers. The Boilermaker is averaging 24.4 points and 4.0 assists per game, hitting on 38.2 percent of his threes. While he hasn't made headlines quite like Duke's pair of spectacular freshmen, Edwards is having a spectacular season and has been the catalyst for Purdue this season.

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