As the Colonial Athletic Association conference standings began to take a somewhat-constant shape in late January, Towson Tigers forward Jerrelle Benimon and Georgia State Hunter guard RJ Hunter emerged as the leading candidates for CAA Player of the Year — an award that members of the media and conference will vote on before the regular season ends on March 2.
Northeastern’s senior guard Joel Smith also drew some consideration, but not many other players, who will certainly be discussed for All-Conference 1st Team bids, really stood out as worthy for the accolade.
However, now, with his team just 2.5 games out of first place in the conference, junior guard Devon Saddler has quietly entered the POY discussion after stringing together some very impressive games as of late.
As Delaware has secured four wins in their last five games, the one loss coming at the hands of James Madison 72-71, Saddler has led the way without receiving much press. Between Northeastern’s clinching of at least a share of their first CAA title and a controversial no-call against Delaware on Thursday, nobody has really mentioned Saddler’s recent dominance.
Over the last five games, Saddler, the leading scorer in the CAA, has averaged 23.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game on 46 percent shooting from the field and 43.4 percent shooting from three-point land.
However, two knocks on Saddler’s resume, his low shooting percentage and his poor assist to turnover ratio, might curtail the Saddler For Player of the Year movement.
Does a player who makes just 43 percent of 15.2 shots per game with a 78/90 assist to turnover ration on the season really deserve such a prestigious award?
As of now? No.
But, if Saddler can continue to score 20-plus points per game over Delaware’s last three contests and the Blue Hens are able to swipe a share of the CAA Regular season title and a top-two seed in the CAA Tournament, he might just have a case.