- Chad Ford, Senior Writer, NBA Insider
Everyone recognizes what a special talent Durant is, but the conventional wisdom is that he isn't likely to win because freshmen just don't win player of the year, and because Texas is not considered a great team.
Tucker, on the other hand, is a more classic candidate, one who has steadily built his credentials over several years, and he leads one of the best teams in the country. The award appears to be his to lose.
So, of course, my mailbox is filling up with questions about Tucker. In particular, readers want to know, why is the potential college player of the year listed as the No. 42 draft prospect on my ranking of the Top 100 prospects for the 2007 NBA draft?
First, another question: Has a college player of the year ever been ranked so low by NBA scouts?
Actually, no, not in the last 10 years.
Look at the winners of the last 10 Naismith Awards. Nine of them became lottery picks. Four of them would be the first pick in the draft. Jameer Nelson was the only one who wasn't selected in the lottery, and many believed he should have gone higher.
And they have enjoyed success as well, with the exception of Jay Williams, whose career was cut short by a motorcycle accident and J.J. Redick, who is still a rookie.
So what about Tucker?
And what about other college seniors, like Acie Law of Texas A&M, Nick Fazekas of Nevada and Aaron Gray of Pittsburgh? Usually NBA teams really like guys like this. They've matured in college. They have been leaders on winning programs. They've won conference MVP awards.
But perhaps none of them will end up going in the first round of the draft.
So why don't NBA teams love these guys the way college basketball observers do?
I've spent the last few days grilling NBA scouts and executives for an answer.
Here is the consensus take on college's best seniors:
Chad Ford breaks down the top college seniors and sees if they have a shot at the first round.