UNLV Rebels

College basketball freshman of the year: Bennett, McLemore, Smart enter the debate

With Nerlens Noel hurt, freshmen from Kansas, Oklahoma State and UNLV step to the forefront
<p> College basketball freshman of the year: Bennett, McLemore, Smart enter the debate</p>

Like just about everything else this college basketball season, the National Freshman of the Year race is a bit of a mess.

A week ago, Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel could have been considered a frontrunner, not only for the top freshman, but also the National Defensive Player of the Year. His season-ending injury likely takes him out of the running.

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College Basketball Midseason Report: All-Americans and Championship Picks

In Part Two of our midseason report we look at individual superlatives and pick every conference
<p> We're halfway to the start of the Final Four and the Player of the Year race is as cloudy as the race for the top spot. Trey Burke, Phil Pressey, Anthony Bennett, Ben McLemore, Doug McDermott and more are all in consideration.</p>

One of the critiques of the 2012-13 college basketball season has been a lack of eye-popping players vying for player of the year awards. Think of Player of the Year performances and competitions in recent years by Anthony Davis, Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Greg Oden, Tyler Hansbrough and Michael Beasley.

Adding to the confusion, the top prospect for the NBA Draft is unsettled, too.