NCAA Basketball: Ranking the last 25 AP Player of the Year award winners

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Jalen Brunson, Villanova Wildcats

Jalen Brunson, Villanova Wildcats. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Every season in NCAA Basketball, a different player is named AP Player of the Year. How do the last 25 players to receive this honor rank against each other?

At the end of every season, the AP writers get together and vote on their NCAA Basketball Player of the Year. This is a player that the writers feel was the best in the nation and put his team in the best position to win.

While some players are the best players on the best team, others were voted in for their dominance.

This list will attempt the rank the last 25 award winners by their regular-season performances. Careers, raw talent and team success are all fine and dandy, but here the player’s success throughout the regular season reigns supreme.

So let’s take a look at the last 25 AP Player of the Year winners and where they rank.


Jalen Brunson

Guard (Junior), Villanova Wildcats, 2018

There is no denying the leadership and steady hand that Jalen Brunson provided the Villanova Wildcats during their second national championship run in three years. However, for all his postseason success, his regular-season performance puts him at the bottom of this list.

Brunson was a classic “make everyone better” type of player, averaging close to five assists and 20 points. He was incredibly efficient, with less than two turnovers per game.

The 6-foot-3 guard’s most surprising stat during the 2017-18 NCAA season may have been his 2-point shooting percentage, which was nearly 60 percent. This was a small drop from his sophomore season but was still impressive considering his size.

Brunson’s height and length may not have hurt him on the shooting front, but it did come back to bite him in other areas of the game. Not only did Brunson lack strength on the boards, having one of the lowest rebounding percentages on the team, he also was perhaps the weakest defender in the Wildcats’ regular rotation.

It is easy to point to Villanova’s loaded roster as the main reason for Brunson scoring average, which sits well below the 20+ points per game that most of the AP Players of the Year boast. However, his teammates did not make him a poor defender or rebounder.

As a team leader and a national champion, Brunson should go down in history as one of the best in the history of the NCAA. However, the AP Player of the Year is a regular-season award. Brunson does not have the same regular-season individual resumes that most of the players on this list put together.

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