Anthony Edwards Headlines 2020 Naismith Player of the Year 30-Man Midseason Team

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2020

ATHENS, GA - JANUARY 15: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs controls the ball during the second half of a game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Stegeman Coliseum on January 15, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Atlanta Tipoff Club narrowed candidates for this year's Naismith Trophy Men's Player of the Year to 30 players Thursday, a list headlined by Georgia star Anthony Edwards (via NCAA.com).

Edwards is averaging 19.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists through 24 games for the Bulldogs. He'll have plenty of competition from fellow freshman Vernon Carey Jr., who's averaging 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for Duke.

Here's the full Naismith midseason team:

       

Player of the Year Midseason Team

  • Precious Achiuwa, Memphis
  • Udoka Azubuike, Kansas
  • Kamar Baldwin, Butler
  • Saddiq Bey, Villanova
  • Jared Butler, Baylor
  • Vernon Carey Jr., Duke
  • Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois
  • Devon Dotson, Kansas
  • Anthony Edwards, Georgia
  • Malachi Flynn, San Diego State
  • Luka Garza, Iowa
  • Markus Howard, Marquette
  • Mason Jones, Arkansas
  • Tre Jones, Duke
  • Nathan Knight, William & Mary
  • John Mooney, Notre Dame
  • Jordan Nwora, Louisville
  • Daniel Oturu, Minnesota 
  • Filip Petrusev, Gonzaga
  • Myles Powell, Seton Hall
  • Payton Pritchard, Oregon
  • Nick Richards, Kentucky
  • Fatts Russell, Rhode Island
  • Jalen Smith, Maryland
  • Lamar Stevens, Penn State
  • Isaiah Stewart, Washington
  • Obi Toppin, Dayton
  • Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State
  • Cassius Winston, Michigan State

             

Last year, Zion Williamson was the runaway favorite for the top individual honors in college basketball.

This year, one could make a compelling case for any number of players. 

That could open the door for a star from a mid-major such as Obi Toppin. Dayton is 22-2 and sixth in both the Associated Press Top 25 and Coaches Poll. Toppin is leading the way for the Flyers, averaging 19.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

Marquette hasn't had a Naismith winner since Butch Lee in 1978. Markus Howard might be able to change that. The Golden Eagles senior is the leading scorer in Division I (27.3 points), and he's first in offensive box plus-minus (plus-10.5), per Sports Reference.

A Naismith win would be the perfect capper to Cassius Winston's college career. The Michigan State guard has steadily improved over each of his first three seasons, going from third-team All-Big Ten in 2017-18 to the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2018-19.

Winston's numbers (18.3 points, 5.7 assists, 1.3 steals per game) are basically on par with those of his junior campaign, though, and the Spartans' 17-8 record might be a mark against him.

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