Wooden Award candidates not named Doug McDermott

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Even though it is Doug McDermott's award to lose, here are five other players who would make fine award winners.

It hasn't happened yet, but Doug McDermott is your 2014 Wooden Award winner.

McDermott has been fantastic in his senior campaign for Creighton. McDermott leads the country with 26 points per game and has done so in dramatic fashion this season. He showcases the leadership that the Wooden Award embodies, and no player has been so closely associated with the award throughout the season.

It's somewhat of a shame, because the focus on McDermott's stranglehold on the award has overshadowed some other really good seasons from college players across the nation. If we were to wake up tomorrow and Doug McDermott was now named Dog McDermott, and instead of playing basketball at Creighton he ran a pest control business outside of Omaha, here would be the finalists with a good shot at winning the Wooden Award.

Jabari Parker, Duke Blue Devils

According to Ken Pomeroy's site, Parker is having a season similar to Terrence Jones, Anthony Bennett, Michael Beasley and Blake Griffin. That is some rather nice collegiate company. He also does all of that while being the best player on a team full of good players. He leads the Blue Devils in almost all statistical categories and is averaging 19.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. One of the best freshmen in the country has lived up to the hype.

Aside from a short slump at the beginning of January, Parker has been one of the more consistent players in basketball. His worst game of the past two months was in a loss to Syracuse where he finished with 15 points and nine rebounds -- hardly a bad line. He has an offensive efficiency rating of 111, according to Ken Pomeroy, which is the highest out of all freshman this year.

Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati Bearcats

Only two players who use more than 28 percent of their teams' possessions have a higher offensive rating according to Ken Pomeroy -- McDermott and Canisus' Billy Baron. Kilpatrick isn't the best shooter of the bunch, he hits only 42 percent from the floor, but his relentless attacking style elevates his game. Kilpatrick is shooting 85 percent from the free throw line, and he ends up there a lot with 174 attempts. This helps bump his true shooting percentage up to 57.7 percent.

He is also a somewhat unselfish player, handing out 2.5 assists per game despite being the go-to option on virtually every play. Kilpatrick does it at both ends of the floor as well. He thoroughly buys into the tough, defensive philosophy Cincinnati jams down its opponent's throats. He averages 1.4 steals per game and is the undisputed leader of a team sitting on top of the American Athletic Conference.

Xavier Thames, San Diego St. Aztecs

There probably isn't another player on this list that means more to his team than Thames does. Thames is the offense for the Aztecs, averaging 16.8 points per game. He is also the offense for a team that doesn't have much offense, and is one of those players who makes everyone around him better. He does all this in the low lights of late, West Coast tip-off times and slightly underwhelming stats compared to his counterparts. His offensive numbers are slightly hindered by the style of basketball San Diego State plays.

It is his defense that sets him apart from other players in the pack. San Diego State holds opponents to 56.6 points per game, and Thames is at the front of the pack every game. Even more remarkable, he plays his entire game with ruthless efficiency. Thames plays 30.7 minutes per game in an aggressive defensive scheme and averages just two fouls per game.

Joseph Young, Oregon Ducks

Young, a transfer from Houston, has had a huge impact for the Oregon Ducks this year. If not for Oregon's pretty fantastic collapse once conference play started, Young's name would have been thrown around a lot more. He is second in offensive efficiency among players using at least 20 percent of their team's possessions. On the year, he averages 18.6 points per game while shooting 42 percent from three point line. He is as automatic as it gets in the Pac-12 at the free throw line, hitting 89.5 percent, to up his true shooting percentage to 63.9 percent. As a high volume shooter, Young doesn't miss a lot of passes coming his way either -- he averages just 1.1 turnovers in 30.6 minutes per game.

Billy Baron, Cansius

Barron is a senior at Cansius by way of Rhode Island by way of Virginia. As of Tuesday, Feb. 25, he is also the only player with a higher offensive efficiency rating than McDermott, according to Ken Pomeroy's ratings. On the year, Baron averages 24.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.6 steals. He also leads the country in minutes played and averages 39.1 minutes per game. He even topped out playing every single minute in a 92-88 triple-overtime thriller against Siena on Feb. 16. Baron is a senior leader and then some.

Baron leads the NCAA in points produced per game and offensive win shares. He leads his conference in pretty much every offensive metric possible. He shoots 46 percent from the floor, 42 percent from three point range and 89 percent from the free throw line. There is one, albeit glaring, reason Baron isn't higher up this list -- his defense. His defensive rating of 109.0 leaves a bit to be desired.

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