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Spencer Parlier | | February 23, 2021

The past 10 Naismith National Players of the Year, ranked

Zion Williamson's top NCAA tournament highlights

In the spirit of analyzing this year's Naismith National Player of the Year race, Andy Katz ranks the past ten Naismith Trophy winners on the latest episode of March Madness 365

Big Ten Network's Michael Decourcy, Wichita State's Isaac Brown and Oklahoma State's head coach Mike Boynton are also on this podcast.

Here are the past 10 Naismith National Players of the Year, ranked by's Andy Katz.:

10. Frank Mason III, Kansas (2016-2017)

Frank Mason led the Kansas Jayhawks to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and to the Elite Eight in 2017. Mason averaged 20.9 points and 5.2 assists his senior year — the year he took home the national player of the year award. 

9. Obi Toppin, Dayton (2019-2020)

Although there was no NCAA tournament in 2020, Obi Toppin captured the attention of college basketball fans. Toppin, who now plays for the New York Knicks, averaged 20 points, 7.5 boards and 1.2 blocks during his national player of the year campaign. He was leading Dayton to a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA tourney before the season was cut short. 

8. Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2014-2015)

In 2015 the Badgers knocked off the Karl-Anthony Towns-led undefeated Kentucky team in the Final Four. Wisconsin's best player was National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky, who averaged 18.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Big Frank beat out the likes of Willie Cauley-Stein and Jahlil Okafor to take home the award in 2015. 

7. Jalen Brunson, Villanova (2017-2018)

Jalen Brunson is the only player on this list to win two national titles. The Villanova point guard was on the Wildcats' 2016 national championship team and led the 2018 Wildcats back to college basketball's promised land. Brunson averaged 18.9 points and 4.6 assists per game in 2018, the year he was national player of the year.

6. Trey Burke, Michigan (2012-2013)

During the 2012-2013 college basketball season, Trey Burke was known for hitting big shot after big shot for the Wolverines. Because of that, and his stat-line of 18.6 points, 6.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game, Burke went on to lead Michigan to the 2013 national championship and won national player of the year. 

5. Doug McDermott, Creighton (2013-2014)

Dougie McBuckets helped put Creighton back on the college basketball map. During the Bluejays' first season in the Big East, McDermott stuffed the stat-sheets scoring 26.7 points per game and grabbing seven boards.

4. Buddy Hield, Oklahoma (2015-2016)

Buddy Hield went on a remarkable run in 2016. He helped lead Oklahoma to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and to the Final Four. Hield averaged 25 points per game that season and shot better than 45 percent from beyond the arc.

3. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (2011-2012)

Anthony Davis might have been the best player on one of the best teams of the decade. The 2011-2012 Kentucky Wildcats won the national championship steamrolling opponents in the NCAA tournament — the Wildcats' two closest games weren't that close at all as they were decided by eight points. Davis stuffed the stat sheet that season scoring 14.2 points, grabbing 10.4 boards and blocking 4.7 shots per game. 

2. Jimmer Fredette, BYU (2010-2011)

According to Katz, Jimmer Fredette was must-watch TV during the 2010-2011 season. Jimmer was lights-out all year averaging 28.9 points per game while dropping at least three 3-pointers per outing — not to mention that those shots could come from anywhere on the court.

1. Zion Williamson, Duke (2018-2019)

Speaking of must-watch TV, it wasn't that long ago when Zion Williamson commanded the attention of college basketball fans everywhere. Zion could do it all for the Blue Devils as he averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 boards, 1.8 blocks and 2.1 steals per game. Although Williamson got hurt in the middle of the 2018-2019 regular season, he was just a whisker away from leading Duke to the Final Four. 

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