BYU guard Jimmer Fredette holds on to big lead in final AnnArbor.com Player of the Year poll
Jimmer Fredette started the season as a talented player with a catchy name on an unfamiliar team. Then he started leading the nation in scoring -Â he's at 27.9 points per game - and everyone in college basketball took notice.
The BYU senior was overwhelmingly tabbed as the best player in the country in the final AnnArbor.com National Player of the Year poll, made up of voters from around the country who vote for the Naismith, Wooden, Robertson and Associated Press awards.
The 6-foot-2 Fredette led the Cougars to a 28-3 record with a likely high seed in next week’s NCAA tournament.
He also held off a field that has been the deepest for the Player of the Year in the three-year history of the poll. Writers who voted in the poll mentioned all year long that many of their votes were toss-ups and many flipped their first-place vote throughout the season.
But in the last two ballots, Fredette took a commanding lead.
- Ten players were named to the final poll but only one, Notre Dame guard Ben Hansbrough, made his first appearance. Fredette, Smith, Sullinger, Johnson, Walker and Faried have shown up in every poll this season.
- Connecticut guard Kemba Walker, who led the first two AnnArbor.com Player of the Year polls this season, dropped from third to fourth and finally to fifth in the last poll of the year. He did gain a first-place vote after being shut out in the fourth poll of the year.
- Four players received first-place votes in the final poll, the most ever in the last poll of the year. In 2010, two players (Evan Turner and John Wall) received first-place votes and the year before that, Blake Griffin was a unanimous choice in the first Player of the Year poll back when I was in Indiana.
- Six conferences were represented in the final poll: Big Ten, Big East, Mountain West, ACC, Ohio Valley and Pac-10.
- In last year’s final poll, just two players returned to school: Fredette and Purdue forward Robbie Hummel, who was injured before the start of the season. In the final poll in 2009, two players with eligibility — Luke Harangody and Cole Aldrich — returned to school. This year, five players have eligibility remaining for the 2011-12 season are in the final poll.
- Just a reminder, all four of the major awards have different dates of Player of the Year submission so a split award is fairly possible this season, especially if Duke or Ohio State go on a big run in the NCAA tournament. The Robertson Award was due on March 6 and the AP due March 13. The Wooden and Naismith Awards are voted on later this month.