JUCO Player of the year candidates

photo  gmtelegram.com
photo gmtelegram.com

By: Sean Paul JUCOWeekly Contributor

The JUCO National player of the year is always a prestigious award. Looking at the past 12 winners, five have since played in the NBA. Jay Scrubb (John A. Logan), Chris Duarte (NW Florida), Jae Crowder (Howard), Cleanthony Early (NW Florida), and Kadeem Allen (Hutch) all were NBA draft picks. Not all have sustained long NBA careers, but Jae Crowder's signed several NBA deals, and played a pivotal role on the Phoenix Suns NBA Finals team last season. That goes to show there's no shortage of talent in JUCO Hoops.

Below are some of the candidates that could bring home the trophy in 2021-22.

Criteria:

The player has to be on a team that has a successful season, as the winner is typically on a nationally ranked team. And, the player has to be a high-end contributor on their respective team.

 Current Candidates:

 

1.) Sean East II - John A. Logan 

A few things come with winning an award, such as National player of the year. In all sports, whether it's an MVP award or NPOTY award, the amount of team success plays an integral part in the selection. For East, he's achieved both and looks like the current frontrunner to win the award -- posting 23.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists for the No. 5 ranked JALC Vols. You don't often get former D1 guys who averaged double figures in the JUCO ranks, but East hasn't disappointed. It looks possible that Coach Smithpeters will get another player of the year. 

 

2.) Mohamed Diarra - Garden City

 Diarra leads JUCO basketball in rebounding while averaging 17.9 points. Now, Garden City isn't bad by any means, but they aren't currently ranked and have three losses. Diarra is without question a top candidate, but I would venture to say he's second behind East. 

 

3/4.) Ronald Mitchell/Tyrone Marshall Jr - Colby

Colby's two stars should find their way into the player of the year discussions. Mitchell leads the team with 22.2 points and hauls in 6.6 rebounds per game. A Western Kentucky signee, Marshall Jr currently averages 15.6 points and 8.6 rebounds. Both have been immeasurably important on the 9th ranked Trojans squad. 

 

5.) Daniss Jenkins - Odessa

 Odessa's leading scorer Daniss Jenkins is another double-digit scoring D1 transfer. I've written about both in the past, but Jenkins continues to produce at the JUCO level. Not only does Jenkins lead the team scoring-wise, but he's also the lone player averaging more than 1.9 assists per game. One aspect the Pacific university transfer didn't succeed at in the past was three-point shooting. This season? Jenkins is shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc. The Wranglers come in the most recent JUCO rankings 24th, sneaking into the top 25.