A season after helping North Carolina attain college basketball’s ultimate goal, the 2016-2017 national championship, guard Joel Berry II is back in Chapel Hill for his senior season.
This year, he might have a chance to take home the nation’s top individual honor.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Johnson and Jeremy Fuchs and economic analyst Dan Hanner have teamed up to create a model that projects college basketball outcomes, and they believe Berry has the eighth-best chance to win the Wooden and Naismith awards for National Player of the Year.
The Sports Illustrated model projects Berry to score over 17 points per game this season. Last year, he averaged 14.7 per game.
In his analysis of Berry, Johnson writes, “Berry could well reach his personal peak as a college player during his senior campaign. The losses of big men Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and Tony Bradley, as well as combo forward Justin Jackson, leave North Carolina with a perimeter-oriented rotation, and Berry will be its most important cog.”
While Berry’s role will likely increase during his senior season, one factor that could impact his candidacy is North Carolina’s performance as a team. If the Tar Heels, down four of their top five scorers from their championship run, have an underwhelming season, that could lead voters to dismiss better numbers from Berry.
Berry is one of three ACC players included on the list. Duke’s Grayson Allen is considered the second-favorite for the award (behind Michigan State’s Mile Bridges) and Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson is the fifth-favorite.
The post Joel Berry II makes Sports Illustrated list of Player of the Year candidates appeared first on Diehards.
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