By Colin Dunlap | Saturday 12:12 a.m.
QUESTION: With A10 play right around the corner, which players do you consider the "front-runners" for the player of the year award? Maybe a top 3 list...
Otto Graf; Highland Park, PA
DUNLAP: Good question, and I think it is getting to the time where we can start throwing out some names.
If I had to vote, right now, these would be my top five guys.
First place vote: CHRIS WRIGHT - DAYTON
The high flying Wright, who can dunk anything in the building, is the best player on the team that I think will win this league. He is averaging 14.5 points and 6.8 rebounds a game for the Flyers. But, why he gets the nod over my second place guy is this -- Wright is ultra-efficient; he is shooting almost 60 percent from the floor.
Second place vote: DAMIAN SAUNDERS - DUQUESNE
His numbers are just ridiculous -- and not any number, but that he seemingly does something in every statistical category. Saunders, through 13 games, averages 13.9 points, leads the conference in rebounding (13.1), shoots 53.7 percent from the field, leads the conference with 3.1 steals and leads the conference in blocks shots (3.2 per game). Part of me, a big part of me, says he should be my first place vote, but I would have liked to see Saunders do more in that Pitt game. Had he scored in double digits in the Pitt game, against that Big East, crosstown rival, he would have been my first place vote. He will have more chances in conference play, and could very well play his way into the top spot.
Third place vote: JORDAN CRAWFORD - XAVIER
If there is a guy in the league I'd want with the ball in his hands, with my team down three points and just a few seconds left, Jordan Crawford is the guy I think, right now, who would be most capable of knocking down a crunch time three ball. He's the third leading scorer in the conference at 18.5 points per game and he's hit 22 3s (while taking just 53) in 11 games. Plus, the guy's defense is vastly underrated.
Fourth place vote: RODNEY GREEN - LASALLE
Best point guard in the league -- and it might not even be close. If you want him to score, he will score (18.8 point per game). If you want him to get others involved, he will do that (3.7 assists per game). If you want him to hit a deep jumper for you, he will do that for you (41 percent from 3-point range). If you want him to rip somebody, he will kindly do so (fourth in the A10 in steals). And, lastly, the kid never comes out of the game, as his 36.5 minutes per game trails only Bill Clark as the most minutes per game of any guy in the conference. Simply put, he does it all.
Fifth place vote: CHRIS GASTON - FORDHAM
I know he's just a freshman, and he plays on a horrible team, but it is tough to overlook what Gaston has done through Christmastime. He's the leading scorer in the league right now (18.9 ppg), the second leading rebounder (10.8 rpg), he averages 2 blocks a game and he trails only the Dukes' Saunders in a very key stat -- offensive rebounds per game, with 4.5. Some will say, "the kid plays on a 2-8 team." But, to me, that doesn't matter much. He's stepped in, as a freshman, and produced.
Well, that's my team if I were voting right now, today. Post a comment and tell me what your team would be.