Naismith Player of the Year
Voters from the Naismith Player of the Year Committee are turning in their votes for their Midseason finale 10 candidates. Click here for the Naismith High School Preseason Watch-List. As we head into the final weeks of the high school season, a junior candidate has emerged as a front-runner for this award. See below who our #OTRHoopsReport team tabs as the five favorites.
THE 5 FAVORITES
Oak Hill Academy
Mouth of Wilson, Virginia - 2019
Anthony is consensus top five prospect nationally. He is averaging a near triple double for coach Steve Smith’s squad (17ppg, 9apg, 9rpg). Considering that Anthony is a 6-foot-3 combo guard, those numbers alone should give Anthony serious consideration for the Player of the Year award. Oak Hill Academy enters this weekend with a 21-2 record and ranked No. 5 in the Max Preps Xcellent 25 rankings. The last player from Oak Hill Academy to earn the award was Brandon Jennings in 2008.
VERNON CAREY JR.
University High School
Fort Lauderdale, Florida – 2019
Carey Jr. signed to play for the Duke Blue Devils next season during the early signing period. The 6-10 power forward is backing up high expectations by averaging a near double-double this season (25 points, 9 rebounds). His team currently has a 16-4 record and is aiming to return to play in a postseason GEICO National Tournament.
McEachern High School
Powder Springs, Georgia - 2020
No junior has ever won the Naismith Player of the Year award. However, Cooper’s run with the Indians this season should put him squarely in the conversation of the nation’s best. He is averaging 27 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals per game for a McEachern team that is undefeated (23-0) on the season. Max Preps has McEachern ranked as the No. 2 team in their Xcellent 25 rankings. Cooper was the MVP of the City of Palms tournament in which they knocked off nationally ranked teams such as Imhotep Charter (PA), Mountain Brook (AL) and Paul VI (VA). Cooper was also named the Most Outstanding Player in their win over Rancho Christian (CA) at the Hoop Hall Classic. Not to mention another MVP award at the Bass Pro TOC in January. The committee may hesitate to award the trophy to a junior. However, if McEachern and Cooper complete their flawless season, expect there to be plenty of chatter for Cooper.
LaPorte, Indiana - 2019
La Lumiere is top team Max Preps Xcellent 25 rankings. Stewart is the biggest reason why. The Lakers are undefeated and report impressive wins over Montverde Academy x2 (#4), Oak Hill Academy (#5) and DeMatha (#6). We identified Stewart as a potential POY candidate this summer on the EYBL circuit when he put up double-double stats for Albany City Rocks (HERE). He is putting up similar numbers this season with La Lumiere as he averaging 17 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks per game. The 6-9 center gave his commitment to Washington earlier this month.
Memphis, Tennessee - 2019
Do not count out the 6-11 center who is currently ranked atop of the 247 Sports national rankings. He is averaging a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds per game. His team has not had the success that the players mentioned above have had. However, his run at the Bass Pro TOC was historic. They knocked off No. 16 Shadow Mountain (AZ) in that tournament and he set the tourney record for most rebounds. His individual talent is worthy enough for him to be mentioned here. Coach Penny Hardaway is sure to put Wiseman’s talents to work next year at Memphis. No one expects Wiseman to spend more than one year at the college level either.