Atlantic Sun: Isaiah Cozart (Eastern Kentucky)
Current Averages: 15.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, .6 assists
The Colonels play at one of the fastest paces in the country and the fifth-year senior is a big piece in the offense. He is an athletically gifted player who gets a lot of easy baskets in the paint and in transition. Cozart shoots well over 60% from the floor but his true value and the things that are going to set him apart from the rest of the Atlantic Sun is his ability to play alter shots. Cozart is one of the best shot blockers in the country. He has a triple-double this year and he did it with points, rebounds, and blocked shots. Cozart is currently playing the most minutes he has ever played, and it is paying off for Eastern Kentucky because he is averaging the most points and rebounds of his career and he has seen his blocked shots double. Cozart is the most impactful player in the Atlantic Sun.
Atlantic 10: DaRon Holmes II (Dayton)
Current Averages: 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists
This race and the race in the Big Ten are not going to provide much suspense. Holmes is the best player in the Atlantic 10 by a wide margin and it is honestly surprising that he has not won the award before now. He does everything. He scores in the paint, shoots threes, and gets to the free throw line. Holmes will shoot well over 50% from the floor, well over 35% from three. He also is a good rebounder and elite shot blocker. The 6’10” big man is going to average over 2 blocks per game and is playing himself into a first-round pick in the NBA draft.
Big 12: Kevin McCullar Jr. (Kansas)
Current Averages: 19.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists
McCullar Jr is the next in a long line of players who have drastically improved under Bill Self. The senior guard moved from a role player and third option on offense to the guy on the offensive end of the floor. He is currently on pace to double his career points per game average. He has turned into an efficient shooter from deep. He has always been able to convert at a high rate off the bounce. His offensive game is one thing, but he separates himself from the rest of the field with his ability to rebound, pass and play defense. McCullar is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league and he already has two triple-doubles on the ledger and has been close to a couple more. He may be challenged for the Player of the Year in the Big 12 by his own teammate.