The college basketball season has officially come to a conclusion following the College Basketball Award Show. Taking place following the Final Four every year, it gives out the Wooden player of the year, the Bob Cousy award for the best point guard, the Jerry West for best shooting guard, the Julius Erving for best small forward, the Karl Malone for best power forward, and the the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for best center. Headlined by Frank Mason, these awards were quite the star studded cast. There are so many guys in hoops that are extraordinary at other things, though. Whether or not it is worthy of an award is up for debate, but these are my picks for the “Other End of the Year Awards,” brought to you by Fila*.
The Clyde Drexler Dunker of the Year Award
Clyde Drexler was on the University of Houston team that basically made dunking a thing. He was the best dunker on that team. Therefore, this award is named after him.
This season, freshman Miles Bridges had the spirit of Clyde within him. He pounded out ferocious dunk after ferocious dunk, including this one in the Big 10 tournament against Minnesota. This dunk would have won this year’s NBA dunk contest (which I understand isn’t saying very much, but still).
The Shaquille O’Neal Brutally Dominant Big Man
Much like he did in the NBA, Shaq made whoever was defending him look like a child when he paraded through the college game. He was brutally dominant.
There was a point in Caleb Swanigan’s life where he wasn’t dominating anything but cheeseburgers. Now, the one they call “Biggie,” is one of the best big men in the country and one that is nearly impossible to stop. He led the nation in double-doubles this year with 26 (out of 35 total games). He also had four games at at least 20 and 20, which is the most in a season since 1994.
Honorable Mentions: Angel Delgado, Przemek Karnowski
The Jimmer Fredette Shooter of the Year
In 2011, Jimmer Fredette put on a season-long shooting clinic while at BYU. It was so spectacular, that general managers were overwhelmed by the constant water splashing on them while watching tape and took in above guys like Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson in the 2011 draft.
There isn’t really anyone recently that has put up numbers anywhere close to that season, but this season Malik Monk channelled a lot of his own inner Fredette. The shot above is one of many that Monk hit throughout the year that were absolutely cold-blooded (remember the shot he hit before Luke Maye made the hoops world disregard it?). He shot 40% per game on nearly five attempts a game and is expected to be a lottery pick due to his proficient shooting touch. The ice in his veins certainly help out.
Honorable Mentions: Bryce Alford, Postseason Tyler Dorsey
The Steph Curry Carry the Team on His Back Award
Steph Curry brought Davidson to the Elite 8 in the 2008 season. That sentence doesn’t need much more explanation for the naming of the award.
This year, Sindarius Thornwell put on a performance that is trying to make a motion for a name change to said award. In his senior season, he averaged 21 points and 3 assists per game for a team that averaged only 73 points per game. He was the team leader in every major statistical category except for blocks, and was even second on the team in that, en route to an SEC Player of the Year Award and a Final Four appearance. Look for Thornwell to be a Brogdon-like rookie for the lucky (smart) team that takes him in the second round.
Honorable Mentions: Mo Watson, Luke Kennard and Jayson Tatum (joint mention)
The Ron Baker Hair of the Year
I hated Ron Baker, and I still admit that the kid had damn good hair. You would have been hard-pressed to watch a Wichita State game and not have his hair mentioned in the broadcast. This award is given out in that spirit each season.
De’Aaron Fox was different for his high-level hair game, but nonetheless highly successful. He pulled off this high wrap that almost made him look like a soccer mom. His normal hair bounced with every step and added a new dimension to his game that complimented his efficient mid-range game and lottery-level talent.
Honorable Mentions: Kyle Guy, Dylan Ennis
*Note, in no way did Fila endorse this piece, I just want Fila to be a thing in basketball again. Will there ever be anyone as soft as Grant Hill again that will rock Fila’s absolute fire sneakers? We can dream, basketball fans.