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Connecticut Huskies’ Shabazz Napier: Player of the Year Candidate?

Shabazz Napier

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Shabazz Napier is quietly leading the Connecticut Huskies on a quest for a national championship. The Huskies were academically ineligible for postseason play last year, but this year Connecticut will be looking to make some noise come tourney time. The Huskies currently sit second in the American Athletic Conference with only one loss, but can the Huskies keep up the spectacular play throughout the season? Napier is the story behind the Huskies turnaround this season, but can he win the Naismith Player of the Year Award?

Connecticut defeated the Washington Huskies Sunday 82-70 in large part due to the contribution of Connecticut’s dynamic duo. While Napier accounted for 20 points and six rebounds in the contest, Ryan Boatright contributed 16 points and five rebounds to the cause. The pair of guards for the Huskies beat Washington’s backcourt threat. C.J. Wilcox kept Washington in the game with 19 points, but his efforts fell short in the second half when Connecticut seized control and ran away with the win.

Napier deserves Player of the Year consideration, but has he earned the respect from voters around the country? Napier is the unquestioned leader of the Huskies and demonstrates that leadership on and off the floor. Napier also leads the Huskies in virtually every category on the stat sheet. Napier is the leading scorer at 15 points per game and the leading assist man with 6.1 per game. He leads the team in steals, but the guard also leads the Huskies in rebounding at 6.8 per game. Napier is also shooting over 51 percent from behind the arc.

The stats illustrate why the guard from Connecticut should be at the top of the list for Naismith honors and he has become the best guard in the country. Napier has proven his capabilities for years. But this year, he has finally reached his full potential. If you are looking for someone to vote for for the Naismith Player of the Year award, look no further than Shabazz Napier. Napier is the floor general for the Huskies and possesses the leadership and statistics that make him deserving of this high honor.