Monday, February 11, 2013

Another Weekly Award for UConn's Shabazz Napier

Let the Shabazz Napier for Big East player of the year debate begin.

Napier has been named to the league's weekly honor roll once again. It's the fourth time in the last seven weeks that Napier has been so honored. He was also named the league's player of the week a couple of weeks ago, the second time this season he's earned that distinction. Sean Kilpatrick of Cincinnati is the only other player who's been player of the week twice.

No doubt, Napier is worthy of player of the year consideration. If UConn were a little higher in the standings -- or, for that matter, eligible for postseason play -- he might even be the front-runner. As it stands now, I'd agree with Kevin Duffy of the Connecticut Post that Georgetown's Otto Porter is likely the leader in the clubhouse right now. Then again, preseason pick Peyton Siva, as well as Russ Smith, Michael Carter-Williams and even Kilpatrick have all probably been the front-runners at different points this season.

I believe that UConn's banishment from the postseason will hurt Napier's chances. It shouldn't, but I think it will. Coaches (or whoever winds up making the decision for player of the year) may be leery to pick a guy from a team that can't even play in its own conference tournament.

And that's too bad, because this is turning into a truly special season for Shabazz Napier -- even if it will come to a thunderous halt on March 9.

*** Oh, and don't look now, but after Sunday's 21-for-23 effort from the foul line, UConn leads the Big East in free throw shooting at 74.5 percent. As of last week, they were ranked 49th in the nation in the category and have now likely moved up.

Guess there are some positives to losing Andre Drummond to the NBA.

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