Real Coaches: Who Will Be the Best Player in Men’s College Basketball in 2022-23?

Real Coaches: Who Will Be the Best Player in Men’s College Basketball in 2022-23?

CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish and Matt Norland surveyed nearly 100 coaches for our annual Candid Coaches series. They’ve asked everyone from head coaches at elite programs to assistants at small Division I schools. In order to remain completely anonymous, these coaches provide unfiltered honesty about a wide range of topics. In three weeks, we’ll post the results of our summer survey on the state of college basketball.

The 2022-23 season is set to feature more big men than any year in college basketball in a generation. Of course, this is the result of the NBA, which does not transmit traditional centers or wood production power for 60 years. But thanks to Niel, since the college game still has countless styles and more diverse lineups than the pros, a litany of high-profile 4s and 5s will return to the college hardwood.

Sometimes, two CBS Sports First Team All-Americans Something that hasn’t happened in a very long time is coming back. This means that the national competition for Player of the Year should not only be compelling, but also help boost college hoops’ popularity and Q rating among competitors. Some familiar faces and familiar names aren’t just around for another season, they’re donning uniforms for power-brand programs and high-profile teams.

Here’s who the coaches believe will be the best. We asked our annual question and it’s a three-person contest (for now:

Who will be the best player in college basketball this season?

Others get more votesTrace Jackson-Davis Indiana; Jaime Jaquez, UCLA; Marcus Sasser, Houston

Others receiving one vote: Max Abmas, Oral Roberts; Hunter Dickinson, Michigan; Kyonte George, Bayer; Derek Lively, Duke; Caleb Love, North Carolina; Nick Smith, Arkansas


It’s Tim.

  • “Tim has won more games than any player in his class. He’s the best post player I’ve seen in college basketball in I don’t know how many years and he’s an absolute winner. Point, his IQ is reliable. He has no weaknesses other than analytical — yeah, yeah, he was a little exposed against Baylor. He’s got a great ‘stache. Freddie Mercury.
  • “We play them a couple of times a year, so I get to see him up close and personal. The last two years he’s been the hardest player to prepare for. He finishes everything eight feet. And inside. You can double him and pass him. He’s an absolute nightmare. We had to try literally every defense possible against him … and nothing seemed to work.”
  • “They (Gonzaga) still play a traditional style of basketball, inside-out, moving parts, not just 3s and layups. As far as all the stats and all that stuff, KenPoms and that, I just don’t know. When I watch them play, they play the traditional style of basketball. “For me, it’s a really fun thing to watch as a coach in college basketball. He’s probably the best player in the country to play that way.”

On Tshiebwe

  • “I hate to vote for the UK guy but that big f—– is really, really good. I don’t know if he’s going to be a leading goalscorer, but overall I think he’s going to be a go-to guy who has a big impact on the game.”
  • “He’s the comeback player of the year. UK plays very few games for him, but he still averages 17 and 15. I have Bacot a close second for the same reason. Both can dominate a game (and the glass). Almost all possession.”
  • “His ability to dominate the game without scoring makes him unprepared.”
  • “I’m going with the big Oscar. Think he has a chip on his shoulder the way you finished last year, and another year with Kentucky will make you more comfortable. It’s going to be tough to fit the engine and get it back. I’m afraid. Play him as a coach more than anyone else.”

On the bacot

  • “Bacot’s numbers are going to be off the charts and he’s going to have the older teammates around him win at a higher level.”
  • He ended up playing his best season and I have to assume that kept him improving and developing throughout the draft process. He is experienced, has won at a high level and has the ability to not only lead an opponent’s defensive game. Plan, but adjust their offensive game plan.
  • “In an era where traditional bigs are disappearing, it’s funny how many of the best returners in college are more traditional bigs — and he’s the best of that group. He can completely control the game under pressure. He has the backboard and, unlike Tshiebwe, he has touch and skill around the rim. .

Where Jaquez

  • “That guy’s really cool. What’s not to love about him? … I think he’d get more love if he was on the East Coast. He’s a great player, and that’s the pride and joy of UCLA. That program and that education. I like guys like that because I want to be a home representative.”
  • “Jaime Jaquez is the most underrated player in my mind.”

The taken

I was surprised by the margin/score of this poll. Tshiebwe was the consensus NPOY last season, winning the award not only here on CBS Sports, but all the other major national outlets: Naismith, Oscar Robertson, Associated Press, Wooden and NBC. He averaged 17.5 points and 15.1 rebounds and became the first player in over 40 years to average over 15.0 rebounds and 15.0 points. He led Kentucky to the No. 2 seed … then Kentucky suffered a historic upset at St. Peter’s.

So between that, and I understand that Tim is a proven and reliable offensive player for the title contender. I just thought Tshiebwe Time had a narrow edge here. Instead, it’s Gonzaga’s BMOC that survives.

One coach on why he took Thiem at Tshiebwe: “I’m working with a better team and a lower ego around Tim. Thiem is a more natural scorer. That’s often the same thing: if you score more points, better culture, less ego, his fans and a better team.”

That’s one way Thieme doesn’t have talented players around him like he did at Kentucky. I’m not sure that’s the case. Gonzaga is slightly ahead of UK early in the season. When the two meet in Spokane, Washington on Nov. 20, both are expected to be ranked in the top five. Also, as recently mentioned in me 68-known things pre-season specialTime vs. Tshiebwe marks the first time In 50 years As the Comeback Player of the Year and the two-time All-American go head-to-head. A special square-off waits.

Thiem will average 20 and 10 shots.

But I don’t think this will be a two-man race in the middle.

The strongest third baseman in this conversation is the man who helped lead North Carolina to another championship game and set a hitting streak in the process. Bacot is the first player to record six double-doubles in the NCAA tournament. With Thieme and Tische receiving a combined 77.6% of the vote, some of the coaches I spoke to were enthusiastic and determined that Bakot will be a consistent presence in the country this season. He has a smaller but perhaps more sincere following.

Part of that is due to UNC being in the ACC. Some coaches’ predictions were that the Heels would win their league and that would help Bacot’s case even more. I wouldn’t be surprised if Caleb Love ends up being the guy, even though he might be the top player this season.

If you look at who else got votes, Jackson-Davis and Jaquez are also big. Dickinson, too. The sport is going to be loaded with these types of players, so it will be interesting to see which keepers will be the best players. Sasser, Love and George are the mainstays, though don’t forget Abmas leads the nation in scoring at Oral Roberts in 2020-21.

If the Niel Rule wasn’t in place, it’s safe to say that at least some of these players wouldn’t be back. Thank you, they are. Tshiebwe, Timme, Bacot — these players could sign deals that could make them millionaires while playing college basketball. It may be the most important thing to keep college basketball relevant and relevant beyond March and the first few days of April.


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