Earlier today, the 2023 Naismith award semifinalists for the men’s College Player of the Year were announced. The Marquette Golden Eagles sophomore point guard, Tyler Kolek, was named as a semifinalist after leading his team to their highest ranking in program history. The Rhode Island native is up against the likes of Drew Timme, Zach Edey, and Brandon Miller among others for the prestigious trophy.
Tyler Kolek Named 2023 Naismith Award Semifinalist
The annual award is given out to the best men’s and women’s college basketball players in the country. In 2022, Oscar Tshiebwe from Kentucky won the award, with Luka Garza winning it at Iowa in 2021. Now, in 2023, Marquette guard Tyler Kolek has a chance to include his name in history.
Kolek currently averages 12.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Along with this, Kolek has also shot 47.9% from the floor and 38.6% from three point range. The point guard has four double-doubles this year for the Golden Eagles and has been a driving force in their incredibly successful season thus far. Along with Kolek, coach Shaka Smart has also been named a semifinalist for Coach of the Year due to the Golden Eagles success.
🚨 ATTENTION 🚨: Introducing the 2023 @jerseymikes Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year Semifinalists‼️ pic.twitter.com/LjJDX6w1JC
— Naismith Awards (@NaismithTrophy) March 10, 2023
The Golden Eagles are the sixth ranked team in the country, and currently chasing after a Big East Conference tournament victory. While Kolek has been pivotal to the Golden Eagles success, the other nine semifinalists are also key pieces to their dominant teams. Below is a look at the tough competition that Tyler Kolek will be up against for the award.
- Purdue Center, Zach Edey: 21.9 Points, 12.8 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 2.3 Blocks
- Indiana Forward, Trayce Jackson-Davis: 20.5 Points, 11 Rebounds, 3.9 Assists, 2.8 Blocks
- UCLA Guard, Jaime Jaquez Jr: 17.4 Points, 8 Rebounds, 2.4 Assists, 48.7% FG
- Kansas State Forward, Keyontae Johnson: 17.7 Points, 7 Rebounds, 2.2 Assists, 41.9% 3P
- Alabama Forward, Brandon Miller: 19.6 Points, 8 Rebounds, 1.8 Assists, 40.4% 3P
- Houston Guard, Marcus Sasser: 17.1 Points, 2.8 Rebounds, 3.3 Assists, 1.7 Steals
- Gonzaga Center, Drew Timme: 20.9 Points, 7.3 Rebounds, 3.2 Assists, 62.4% FG
- Arizona Forward, Azuolas Tubelis: 19.9 Points, 9.1 Rebounds, 2.1 Assists, 58.2% FG
- Kansas Forward, Jalen Wilson: 19. Points, 8.4 Rebounds, 2.4 Assists, 42% FG
By far, Tyler Kolek will be up against his toughest competition for the 2023 Naismith award. Given their current seasons, it will be hard for anyone to make more of a case than Zach Edey and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Not only do each of those players average a double-double this season, but they also boast fantastic shooting percentages and teams.
Both Edey and Jackson-Davis have been dominant forces this year across the college landscape. Purdue and Indiana are two serious programs. Edey has held it down at Purdue and led them to a 27-5 record as the top team in the country. Jackson-Davis has been at the forefront of Indiana’s revival, bringing them back to a 21-10 record and the third team in the country. Tyler Kolek has also been a fantastic leader for his team at Marquette, and perhaps a conference title can add to his accomplishments this year.
If Marquette were to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, that would also likely boost Shaka Smart and Tyler Kolek’s campaigns for the top collegiate player and coach. Smart and Kolek could be the first duo to do so since 1999, when coach Mike Krzyzewski and Elton Brand did so. The Marquette Golden Eagles basketball team is surely excited for what they can accomplish.
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