The Player of the Year debate is always a fun one.
And in a league as deep as the WAC in 2022-23, this award may come down to the wire just like the regular season title.
And while this list of five players can and, most likely, will change, here are the leading candidates for Player of the Year after three weeks of league play.
The Player of the Year candidates are not listed in any specific order so don’t read too much into that.
Cam Tyson – Seattle U
The leading 3-point shooter in the WAC in 2021-22 has picked up right where he left off. Tyson is shooting 37 percent from distance and has knocked down 60 3-pointers. The Redhawks leading scorer at 20.4 points per game has scored in double figures in all but one game. And, in the Redhawks win at Utah Valley on Saturday, Tyson had a team-high 20 points.
A quick trigger and a green light mean that Tyson can light it up on any given night. And considering the Redhawks are the lone unbeaten team in WAC play, Tyson will be in the mix all season.
— Seattle U Men's Basketball (@seattleumbb) January 15, 2023
Ray Harrison – Grand Canyon
Things didn’t start off well in Phoenix for the Presbyterian transfer. Harrison had just one game in double figures in the Lopes first six games. But since that 4-point outing against Northern Iowa, Harrison has been dynamite for the Lopes.
And with Jovan Blacksher Jr. sidelined for the remainder of the season, Harrison will have to play at an even higher level. Harrison is averaging 19.4 points in WAC play and has played no less than 30 minutes in any of those five games. Harrison’s best performance came in a win at Sam Houston. 28 points and 10-14 from the charity stripe in the 72-68 overtime win.
With an even bigger role, Harrison has solidified himself as a Player of the Year candidate.
STOP IT @bigtimeray0. ??
0 is ??????' with 12 of his 14 in the second half. ? pic.twitter.com/7aCWBYL0LD
— Grand Canyon Men’s Basketball (@GCU_MBB) January 13, 2023
Aziz Bandaogo – Utah Valley
I got a few text messages after I put out my tweet on Sunday morning.
“Where is Trey Woodbury?”
And so forth. For the record, if Utah Valley finishes around the top of the WAC, Trey Woodbury will be among the candidates.
But, quietly, the big 7-foot transfer from Akron has put together a really good season, thus far.
Bandaogo averages 11.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. In Saturday’s loss to Seattle U, Bandaogo had 23 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
Bandaogo has nine double-doubles and is top-10 nationally in blocked shots.
Add in the reverse alley-oops and Mark Madsen has snagged another quality big man.
Tevian Jones – Southern Utah
As soon as Southern Utah officially joined the WAC in July, I believe I tabbed Tevian Jones as one of the top Player of the Year candidates in the WAC.
And for good reason. Jones is one of the best players ever to come through Cedar City. And in his first season in the WAC, Jones is not disappointing.
Jones leads the T-Birds at 19.6 points per game and it shooting just over 40 percent from 3-point land. When Southern Utah needs a bucket, Tevian Jones is getting a touch, if not hitting the shot.
Jones is averaging 18.6 points per game in WAC play. And as an example of how important Jones is to the T-Birds, in the lone WAC loss at Tarleton, Jones had just nine points. That is the one game in WAC play Jones has not been in double figures.
SUU is 5-1 in WAC play and just beat Sam Houston and SFA.
— SUU Men's Basketball (@SUUBasketball) January 14, 2023
Day Day Hall – SFA
Some questioned the choice of Day Day Hall over others.
I get it. The name doesn’t stick out if you don’t pay much attention. And the stats aren’t necessarily off the charts.
But, did you know Day Day Hall is averaging 13.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and doing it all with a torn labrum? Along with that, Hall is shooting nearly 60 percent from the field and is second on the team with 27 steals.
SFA is 5-1 in WAC play. And the Jacks had won 15 straight WAC games prior to Saturday. And Day Day Hall has been a big part of that success. At 6-5, Hall has had to play out of position most of the season due to injuries. But, Hall plays like a giant. And creates a mismatch against bigger defenders.
As long as SFA stays at or near the top of the WAC, Hall will remain in the Player of the Year discussion.
— SFA Men’s Basketball (@SFA_MBB) January 13, 2023