All signs point towards the talented senior forward to be a front-runner in the Conference USA player of the year race but he’ll have to outdo a talented trio of guards.
It’s been six years since UAB has had a player win the most coveted conference prize when Aaron Johnson garnered the program’s only player of the year award in 2011. AJ compiled four strong seasons for the Blazers and helped UAB win the regular season title and led the team to the NCAA First Four in 2011.
Like Johnson, William Lee became an early contributor in his freshman season helping UAB upset Iowa St. in the NCAA tournament in 2015. Lee is the reigning two-time defensive player of the year and he’ll likely break UAB’s all-time block record this season. No one has won the defensive player of the year award three times in the conference’s twenty prior seasons. Kenyon Martin is probably the unanimous pick for greatest defensive player to ever play in C-USA but Lee would be making a strong case with a three-peat.
But we all know about William Lee and many accomplishments that will make him one of the greatest ever to wear the green and gold. Let’s now have a look at the three players that I believe are his most formidable competition.
The best name in college basketball has an even greater game on the court to go with it. I’ve admired Potts for years and I have to say I can’t think of a single weakness in his game. He can play the one and the two and is often tasked with guarding their opponent’s best back court player. Think his height is a weakness … no way? At 6-foot-2 and a fullback frame Giddy has some serious bunnies to go along with his lethal three-point shot. He averaged 50% from distance two seasons ago with more than 80 attempts which would make Steph Curry envious.
This season Potts will most certainly be the on and off court leader for the Blue Raiders and I expect him to be fully prepared to take on the roll. He averaged 15 points, 5 boards, and 2 assists last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if he knocks on the door of averaging 15/5/5 with him now being the centerpiece of their offense.
Of the group I’ve mentioned in this article I’d argue none is more versatile than Marshall’s junior point guard. At 6-foot-3 Elmore has the size and body of the NBA point guards we see these days and his basketball IQ is off the charts. You could argue that he may not only be the best distributor in the conference but he might also be the most deadly from behind the arc. Jon Elmore always has the Kelly green light. His stat line of 19.7 points and 5.9 assists last season is bonkers and who’s to say he won’t average more than 20 points a game this season?
Along with William Lee, Elmore is one of the most talked about C-USA prospects going in to the 2018 NBA draft. Both players tested the waters in the past off-season but chose to give it another go in college this season. I’ve seen some mock drafts that have Elmore as a top 50 player and he could very well strengthen his portfolio with another stat stuffed year in Huntington.
And the dude isn’t lacking in the swag department either.
I’ve decided from here on out that I will only refer to Jon Davis as the Iceman because he is the most cold-blooded assassin in all of college basketball. You heard me right. I’d take Davis over any player in the country to take the final shot for my team. He’s like a mix between Kobe and John Wall if you combined their confidence and then injected it with ice water.
Like Elmore, Davis also averaged more than 19 points a game last season and I’d expect more of the same this year. Three times last season he had game winning buzzer beaters and nearly had a fourth against UAB at the C-USA tournament. If you put Jon Davis on the transfer market today the blue bloods would be lining up for him.