- Jason King
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With one flick of the wrist, Victor Oladipo ended the debate. At least in my mind. For the last few months, I'd been leaning toward putting the Indiana guard at the top of my final Wooden Award ballot. Oladipo's game-clinching 3-pointer in last weekend's round-of-32 victory over Temple cemented his place in the No. 1 slot.
Granted, I was probably going to vote for Oladipo anyway. The all-around contribution he made to the Hoosiers' Big Ten regular-season championship squad was invaluable. His per-game stats: points (13.6), rebounds (6.4), steals (2.1) and assists (2.1). The junior played a factor in every facet of the game. "Energy guys" do that, and no player this season exhibited a motor quite like Oladipo, whose grit and determination and passion permeated throughout Indiana's locker room and carried onto the court. The kid is a flat-out winner and, as a result, so was Indiana.
Here is a copy of my final Wooden Award ballot:
1. Victor Oladipo, Indiana -- The Hoosiers guard doesn't get nearly enough credit for his strong defensive play. He can guard almost every position. He also has a knack for coming up big in key moments, which is why the Hoosiers were able to beat Temple and advance to the Sweet 16.
2. Trey Burke, Michigan -- The sophomore point guard spent quite a bit of time at the top of this list, but he has taken a slight dip in recent weeks. He went 2-for-12 from the field against South Dakota State and committed seven turnovers against VCU. He's shot below 50 percent in his last six games.
3. Jeff Withey, Kansas -- No team in the country has a defensive weapon quite like Withey, who had 16 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks in Sunday's win against North Carolina. Withey averages 13.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.9 blocks for the Jayhawks, who are in the Sweet 16 for the third straight year.
4. Otto Porter, Georgetown -- The 6-foot-8 forward struggled in Georgetown's final two games. He went just 4-of-13 in a loss to Syracuse in the Big East tournament and only 5-of-17 in an upset loss to Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA tournament last weekend. Still, Porter's overall accomplishments cannot be ignored.
5. Doug McDermott, Creighton -- McDermott labored in Creighton's third-round NCAA tournament loss to Duke. He scored 21 points but went just 4-of-16 from the field. He ended the season averaging 23.2 points and 7.7 rebounds. He has yet to announce whether he'll skip his senior season and enter the NBA draft.
6. Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga -- The Zags have been the NCAA tournament's biggest disappointment. They struggled to beat No. 16 seed Southern and then lost to No. 9 seed Wichita State. Olynyk averaged 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the setbacks.
7. Mason Plumlee, Duke -- The center is ending his senior season on a tear. Plumlee is averaging 17.8 points in his last five games and has helped Duke advance to the Sweet 16 against Michigan State. On the season Plumlee is averaging 17.2 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
8. Cody Zeller, Indiana -- The 7-foot sophomore may not have lived up to his Preseason Player of the Year expectations, but he still had an excellent season for the Big Ten champion Hoosiers. He averages team highs in points (16.7) and rebounds (8.0).
9. Shane Larkin, Miami -- The Hurricanes were one of the biggest stories of the college basketball season thanks to Larkin, the point guard who led his team to the ACC regular-season title and the Sweet 16. Larkin averages 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and two steals. He averaged 23.7 points in the ACC tournament, which Miami won.
10. Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State -- The junior averages 19.7 points and 6.1 rebounds for a Buckeyes squad that will play Arizona in the Sweet 16. In two NCAA tournament games, he's averaging 23 points while shooting a combined 16-of-26 from the field.
With one flick of the wrist, Victor Oladipo ended the debate. At least in my mind. For the last few months, I'd been leaning toward putting the Indiana guard at the top of my final Wooden Award ballot.