National Player of the Year Race: Two Frontrunners

It’s been a month since we polled our esteemed panel for their National Player of the Year votes, and plenty has changed. Iowa’s Luka Garza shot up the standings and is now in contention for the award, while San Diego State point guard Malachi Flynn has also made major moves.

However, we still have a fairly under-the-radar player who is the leader in the clubhouse as we head into February and the heart of conference play.

Here’s the 11-member voting panel:

Jeff Borzello, ESPN.com
Rob Dauster, NBC Sports
Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News
LaPhonso Ellis, ESPN
Jeff Goodman, Stadium
Doug Gottlieb, Fox Sports
Andy Katz, NCAA.com/Fox Sports/BTN
Clark Kellogg, CBS Sports
Matt Norlander, CBSSports.com
Dana O’Neil, The Athletic
Mark Titus, Man Formerly at The Ringer

And now for the rankings…


1) Obi Toppin, 6-9, 220, PF, RS So., Dayton – 100 points (4 first place votes)
Previous Ranking: 1
Stats: 19.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.3 bpg, 63% FG, 36% 3-pointers

2) Luka Garza, 6-11, 260, C, Jr., Iowa – 98 points (6 first place votes)
Previous ranking: 7
Stats: 23.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 38% 3-pointers

3) Myles Powell, 6-2, 195, G, Sr., Seton Hall – 69 points
Previous ranking: 5
Stats: 21.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, 32% 3-pointers

4) Malachi Flynn, 6-1, 185, PG, Jr., San Diego State – 59 points (1 first place vote)
Previous ranking: 10
Stats: 16.5 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.7 rpg, 39% 3-pointers

5) Payton Pritchard, 6-2, 190, G, Sr., Oregon – 58 points
Previous ranking: 2
Stats: 19.6 ppg, 5.8 apg, 4.3 rpg, 40% 3-pointers

6) Markus Howard, 5-11, 180, G, Sr., Marquette – 54 points
Previous ranking: 4
Stats: 27.9 ppg, 3.1 apg, 3.2 rpg, 40% 3-pointers

7) Vernon Carey Jr., 6-10, 270, C, Fr., Duke – 46 points
Previous ranking: 3
Stats: 17.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 60% FG

8) Devon Dotson, 6-2, 185, PG, So., Kansas – 42 points
Previous ranking: 9
Stats: 18.2 ppg, 4.3 apg, 4.0 rpg, 2.2 spg

9) Jordan Nwora, 6-7, 225, F, Jr., Louisville – 35 points
Previous ranking: 6
Stats: 19.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 43% 3-pointers

10) Cassius Winston, 6-1, 185, PG, Sr., Michigan State – 12 points
Previous ranking: 8
Stats: 18.2 ppg, 5.7 apg, 40% 3-pointers

T11) Filip Petrusev, 6-11, 235, PF, So., Gonzaga – 9 points
Previous ranking: 13
Stats: 17.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.0 bpg

T11) Nick Richards, 6-11, 250, C, Jr., Kentucky – 9 points
Previous ranking: NR
Stats: 14.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 66% FG

13) Jared Butler, 6-3, 190, G, So., Baylor – 7 points
Previous ranking: NR
Stats: 15.1 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.7 rpg, 37% 3-pointers

14) A.J. Green, 6-4, 175, G, So., UNI – 4 points
Previous ranking: NR
Stats: 19.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.0 apg, 40% 3-pointers

15) Jalen Smith, 6-10, 225, PF, So., Maryland – 3 points
Previous ranking: NR
Stats: 15.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.3 bpg

Dropped Out: Kaleb Wesson (previously ranked No. 11), Isaiah Stewart (previously ranked No. 12), Udoka Azubuike (previously ranked No. 14), Yoeli Childs (previously ranked No. 15)

MORE: How Kentucky’s Nick Richards Finally Became One of the Nation’s Top Big Men