From Myles Powell to Carsen Edwards, the Jerry West Award has crowned some great scorers since it was established in 2015 to designate college basketball’s best shooting guard.
On this week’s episode of March Madness 365, Andy Katz ranked his top 20 candidates to win the award this season as the nation’s top shooting guard. Pac-12 Network’s Don MacLean and UCLA guard Chris Smith also join this edition of the pod. Katz and Turner Sports’ Chad “March Chadness” Aycock also break down some potential breakout players for this season.
Here are the players who have won the award:
|2019||RJ Barrett||Duke University|
|2018||Carsen Edwards||Purdue University|
|2017||Malik Monk||University of Kentucky|
|2016||Buddy Hield||University of Oklahoma|
|2015||D’Angelo Russell||Ohio State University|
Here are Katz’s top 20 Jerry West Award candidates for the 2020-21 college basketball season:
20. Bryce Aiken — Seton Hall, Senior
Aiken is coming off of a four-year stint with Harvard where he averaged 16.7 points per game last season before suffering a foot injury. If he comes back strong for his fifth year, the Pirates might find themselves with an immediate replacement to last year’s star Myles Powell.
19. Austin Reaves — Oklahoma, Senior
After transferring to Oklahoma from Wichita State, Austin Reaves broke out last season putting up an average of 14.7 points, 5.3 boards and 3.0 assists per game.
18. Jose Alvarado — Georgia Tech, Senior
Katz has the Yellow Jackets making it to the NCAA tournament this year, but they’ll need solid play from their wing, Jose Alvarado, if they want to get there. The 6’0″ guard got it done on both ends of the floor last season averaging 14.4 points and 2.2 steals per game.
17. Jhivvan Jackson — UTSA, Senior
Katz described Jackson as a “stat stuffer” on this episode of the podcast, and there really is no argument against it. The UTSA guard averaged an incredible 26.8 points and 5.6 rebounds during his junior season.
16. Kellan Grady — Davidson, Senior
Kellan Grady will look to push Davidson to compete for an Atlantic 10 title this season. His 17.2 points per game as a junior was his lowest-scoring season thus far.
15. Blake Francis — Richmond, Senior
Also coming out of the A-10 is Blake Francis from Richmond. Francis averaged 17.7 points and shot 42 percent from the field last season.
14. Mitchell Ballock — Creighton, Senior
The Creighton wing shot 44 percent from the floor last season including a 44-percent clip from deep.
13. Derrick Alston — Boise State, Senior
The redshirt senior is coming off of a stellar junior tour, averaging 17.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
12. Miles McBride — West Virginia, Sophomore
Katz is high on McBride’s second season in the NCAA. The WVU wing averaged 9.5 points and 1.1 steals per game last season.
11. Jordan Goodwin — Saint Louis, Senior
Goodwin did it all for the Billikens last season, and he will look to do even more after coming off of a 15.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game double-double average. Look for Saint Louis to compete for the A-10 title this season.
10. David Duke — Providence, Junior
Katz predicts Duke will have a banner season for the Friars this year. He will look to improve upon his 12.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in a Big East conference stuffed with competition at the guard position.
9. Will Richardson — Oregon, Junior
With Payton Pritchard no longer in Eugene, Katz predicts Richardson to break out for the Ducks at the guard position this season. The 6’5″ junior will look to get more touches, which may ultimately lead to a more impressive stat sheet as he shot nearly 50 percent from the field last year.
8. Justin Moore — Villanova, Sophomore
Katz is high on Justin Moore this year, as he will look to break out on a team that may make a Final Four run. Moore averaged 11.3 points per game during his freshman season and shot 42 percent from the floor.
7. MaCio Teague — Baylor, Senior
Teague is a part of what could be one of the best backcourts in the country this year. He’ll be paired with National Player of the Year candidate Jared Butler for the Bears. Teague averaged 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds for Baylor last season.
6. A.J. Lawson — South Carolina, Junior
The Gamecocks will look to compete for an NCAA tournament bid out of the SEC. Lawson averaged 13.4 points per game the past two seasons.
5. Joel Ayayi — Gonzaga, Junior
Ayayi considered entering the NBA draft during the offseason, but decided to return for this junior year with the Zags. The 6’5″ guard will be another piece to the puzzle for the Bulldogs as they are one of the favorites to make the Final Four this season. Ayayi averaged 10.6 points and 6.3 boards per game last season.
4. Caleb Mills — Houston, Sophomore
Katz is expecting a huge year from Mills and Houston, and thinks Mills could break out and be the Player of the Year in the AAC. The 6’3″ guard averaged 13.2 points per game last season for the Cougars.
3. Joshua Langford — Michigan State, Senior
Langford is back with the Spartans and will look to be their star player after missing much of last season with a foot injury. He averaged 15.0 points and 2.3 assists per game before his injury.
2. A.J. Green — Northern Iowa, Junior
A.J. Green led UNI in points last year with 19.7 per game, and with the Panthers being the favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference this season, there is no better time than now to learn A.J. Green’s name.
1. B.J. Boston — Kentucky, Freshman
A list that started with mostly seniors is topped by an incoming freshman. B.J. Boston is one of the most highly-touted recruits coming into college this year. Boston could emerge as not only the best shooting guard in the country, but also one of the best overall players in the NCAA.
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