The National Player of the Year award, named for Cincinnati Hall of Famer, Oscar Robertson, is an award many players dream of receiving. Each season, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association gets together and decides which player deserves the title of national player of the year.
Wildcat teammates Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell have been two of the best players in the Big 12 this season, and have even made appearances in national headlines. With the Wildcats fresh off of an upset win against Kansas, the pair find themselves not only on top of the Big 12 but also have solidified their spots on the 2022-2023 Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List.
Johnson has been one of the feel-good stories in all of college sports this year and is thriving following a major health scare during his time at Florida. Johnson is currently averaging a team-high 18.7 points on 55.2 percent shooting from the field, including 39.3 percent from three-point range, and 75.3 percent from the free throw line.
Johnson also is posting a massive 7.2 rebounds per game for the Wildcats and passes the eye test as one of the best players in the Big 12 conference. Johnson ranks among the top 10 in six statistical categories in Big 12 play, as he and fellow list member, Jalen Wilson (Kansas) are the only players in the conference to rank in the top five as a scorer and as a rebounder.
Markquis Nowell has been one of the most electric players in all of college basketball this season averaging 16.4 points on 41.1 percent shooting, including 36.8 percent from three-point range, and 87.8 percent from the free throw line, all while being the smallest player on the court.
Nowell’s major selling point that plants his flag among the nation’s best is his Big 12 leading 8.4 assists per game. Nowell also is averaging 35.6 minutes per game which leads the entire conference. Nowell is one of two active Division I players to total more than 1,500 points, 500 assists, and 200 steals in his career and is showing no signs of slowing down.
The Big 12 conference had a total of eight players selected to the watch list which is the most of any conference in basketball. Baylor’s Adam Flagler and Keyontae George, Kansas’ Gradey Dick and Jalen Wilson, Texas’ Marcus Carr, and TCU’s Mike Miles Jr. join Nowell and Johnson as players to watch on the hunt for the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Award.