Thursday ESPN announced “Josh Hart has led our @Wendys #WoodenAward board nearly the entire year,@KUHoops’ Frank Mason has forced a change,” four days after Breitbart Sports made the same announcement (Mason Passes Hart for POY).
The fact that the subjective vote of basketball experts at ESPN matches the objective calculations at Value Add Basketball and reported by Breitbart Sports – both showing Hart in first all year until this week, seems to make the top two players in college basketball almost sure 1st Team All-Americans.
In choosing from more than 4,000 players, the two systems do not agree on the third, fourth and fifth best players in college basketball. However any of these players earned very strong consideration entering the month in which college basketball transforms from a nitch market to the billion dollar March Madness run.
Here are the top 5 at Value Add, with notes on who the ESPN voters tap:
Value Add Top 5
1, Frank Mason, Kansas, 13.14 (ESPN agrees)
2, Josh Hart, Villanova, 12.74 (ESPN agrees)
3, Monte Morris, Iowa St., 11.58 (ESPN picks Caleb Swanigan of Purdue, who is 10th based on Value Add)
4, Luke Kennard, Duke, 11.49 (ESPN picks Lonzo Ball of UCLA who is 21st in Value Add, falling just behind Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen as the top freshman – we often note if you objectively crunch the numbers freshman are almost always overrated due to bad defense and turnovers and missed shots)
5, Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina, 10.62 (ESPN picks Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, who is in a virtual tie with Thornwell as the 6th best according to Value Add).