Top 7 National Player of the Year candidates

By Shane McNichol, Larry Brown Sports // Source, MSN Sports

Feb 22, 2017; Villanova, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) takes the ball for a foul shot against the Butler Bulldogs during the second half at The Pavilion.

Even though college basketball doesn’t have an award as prestigious as the Heisman, finding and recognizing the most noteworthy performances across the nation is just as important as it is for football. With more than 350 teams, it can be difficult to separate the good from the truly great.

We have identified seven players who have been good enough to not just attract interest and acclaim, but also to potentially receive college basketball’s most important individual awards.

Here’s a look at the top 7 candidates for National Player of the Year in college hoops.

1. Josh Hart, Villanova

No player has a better shot at collecting national individual honors than Villanova’s senior swingman. Not only is Hart the best player on one of the nation’s best teams, but he does absolutely everything for his club.

Hart is averaging 18.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game for Villanova, while playing super efficiently on both ends of the floor. He’s making 50 percent of his field goals and 40 percent of his three-point attempts.

When watching the Wildcats, it can certainly feel like Hart takes a backseat to the ball-dominance of Jalen Brunson or the volume shooting of Kris Jenkins, but at the end of the game, his line in the box score always stands out.

He’s been a silent killer this season, always waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Against Creighton this weekend, he was quiet offensively for most of the game, while rebounding and playing great team defense. Then in crunch time he exploded and finished with 16 points. It was the perfect Josh Hart game.

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