As the season starts to wind down as we head to February and the NCAA tournament picture gets clearer, the conference player of the year races start to get parsed down as well. The longer the season goes the easier it is to determine who those players are going to be from each conference. If you need a helpful little guide of who is going to win the player of the year in a conference Busting Brackets has you covered. This is a list of every favorite for the conference Player of the Year.
One player will be chosen from each conference. That player is going to be the player who stands out above the rest of the league, and it may be because of their ability to rebound, their ability to score, their ability to play defense and set up the offense. It could be all of the above. Each player represented on this list has earned the respect of the opponents and is the feature player on every game plan for the rest of the year. Some of these guys have won it before and some of them are going to be first time winners. Even though the regular season has a little under 2 months left I am confident that these players are going to be the ones to stand out from the rest of the players in their league and bring home the conference Player of the Year award.
ACC: Kyle Filipowski (Duke)
Current Averages: 17.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists
The Blue Devils star sophomore does a little of everything on the floor. He is an elite scorer, rebounder, and one of the best passing big men in the game. This season Filipowski took his game to the next level and developed a great three-point shot that he is making at around 40% this season. The big man is likely going to shoot over 50% on the season and play in an NCAA tournament. Add his complete offensive arsenal to his ability to block almost 2 shots per game and play great defense and you have the unquestioned Player of the Year in the ACC. It likely won’t be unanimous but it should be.
America East: Earl Timberlake (Bryant)
Current Averages: 13.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists
The America East Player of the Year is going to be hotly contested down the stretch of the season. There are currently three teams in the league who are battling for the top spot and each of those teams has a star player who is putting up huge numbers. Timberlake gets the nod for me because he is the one who impacts the games the most and without him the Bulldogs would not be undefeated in the league.
Timberlake is different than just most guards in the country because he doesn’t shoot threes. He gets to the paint and makes a living by shooting over 60% from the floor and lives at the line. He is a great rebounder for his size and can pass from anywhere on the court. Timberlake is also a fantastic defender and shot blocker averaging almost 2 blocks per game on the season. This one won’t be unanimous, but Timberlake would get my vote and is the best overall player in the America East.
American: David Jones (Memphis)
Current Averages: 21.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists
This one is probably going to be a bit of an upset considering he beat out the preseason player of the year in Johnell Davis from Florida Atlantic. Jones is having a much better year and is much more important to the overall success of the Tigers than Davis is for the Owls. I love watching both guys play but Jones has been very special this year. He can score from all three levels, and he was already a great rebounder and defensive player before he arrived at Memphis.
The senior forward is in the middle of his best offensive year due in large part because he has improved as a shooter and is getting to the free throw line a lot. He is likely going to finish right around 40% from deep which is his best number ever and will take well over 200 free throws which he is making at 81%.