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Is Kevin McCullar for National Player of the Year Talk Serious?

McCullar to the rafters? It's getting serious

In this Hearings newsletter:

  1. Thank you for being here ❤️

  2. Is the McCullar Player of the Year talk for real?

  3. Mike’s Quick Links

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Could McCullar Win Player of the Year?

I think it’s fair to say we’ve all been blown away by Kevin McCullar’s improvement this year. After Friday’s win against Yale, the National Audience started taking notice, too.

When you look at the numbers McCullar has put up so far, you see why his case is compelling. Analytics site Kenpom has ‘Player of the Year’ standings, and McCullar has surged into the top ten. He ranks No. 6 right now. (Frank Mason finished at No. 6 the year he won NPOY, just sayin).

Kenpom measures offensive efficiency through ‘Offensive Rating’ or ‘Ortg.’ In three of KU’s last five games, McCullar has had an Ortg over 145. Purdue’s Zach Edey — the Player of the Year frontrunner — has only hit that mark twice this year.

McCullar’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider how difficult it is to measure defensive impact. Our friend and statistician Evan Miya takes a crack at it on his site and ranks McCullar in the top 15.

Beyond the numbers, KU would probably be in deep shit without him. He’s a vocal leader on the court, can help stretch the defense, and he keeps hitting big shots late in games.

Essentially, McCullar’s recent play is legitimately worthy of the National Player of the Year talk. It’s unlikely he beats out the kind of year Edey is having at Purdue. And it may not even be in KU’s best interest. As we’ve discussed, the Jayhawks could use some other guys stepping up.

The most likely high-end outcome for McCullar is earning First-Team All-American honors (or Big 12 POY). And that would land him right in the rafters with the greats.

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