The Wooden Award is college basketball’s most prestigious award for the best player in the sport. Yesterday, the 20 finalists were revealed. Many great players were on the list, including 13 seniors. Kris Dunn, Melo Trimble, Jakob Poeltl, and Denzel Valentine are among the stars that made the list. But when it comes down to decision time, the award comes down to two elite players: Ben Simmons and Buddy Hield. There are great cases for both.
Ben Simmons is the best NBA prospect the world has seen since LeBron James. Simmons is an incredible freshman and he is considered must-see entertainment to the average basketball fan. Is Simmons the best college basketball player in the country though? Simmons averages a double-double with 19.4 PPG and 12.1 RPG, while also padding 5.1 APG to his stats. The problem with Simmons’ case is that he plays on a 9-loss, bubble tournament team in LSU. Simmons also lost the matchup against the other leading candidate for the award, Buddy Hield, which hurts his case for the award.
Buddy Hield is the clear frontrunner for the Wooden Award, America. Hield is 2nd in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.7 PPG while also adding 5.6 RPG to his stats. The senior plays for the #3 team in the country in Oklahoma, a team that is the favorite to win the Big 12, and possibly even the NCAA Tournament. Buddy Hield is a scorer, a great defensive player, a leader, and just a winner. Buddy has the full package, and when it comes down to it, he is the clear choice for the Wendy’s John R. Wooden Award.