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OK, what joker tapped John Jenkins as player of the year?

Jan 18, 2012, 8:45 PM EDT

spt-120118-jenkins AP

The shortlist for college hoops player of the year revolves around a handful of guys, but apparently these are the ones to beat: Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State) and Doug McDermott (Creighton).

That’s from a straw poll of award voters conducted by Michael Rothstein, who’s now in his fourth season of doing this. The poll’s first result doesn’t always produce the winner (John Wall and Kemba Walker were eventually passed in 2010 and 2011), but it always produces a reliable assessment of who’s in the running.

Here’s a basic stat comparison of the three, courtesy of StatSheet. Take note of how well McDermott rebounds compared to the other two. Anyway, there’ll be plenty of time to discuss all three in the next month or so. They’re gonna stay atop the poll.

What’s more interesting is the other two players who garnered No. 1 votes.

Of the 49 respondents, one voted for Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis – honestly, I’m a little surprised Davis didn’t have more support – and Vanderbilt junior John Jenkins.

(pauses)

John Jenkins? I had the sharpshooting guard on our first-team All-American list, but he’d fallen off my radar after the Commodores’ disappointing start. Is he really having a national player of the year-type season?

Not to go all The Poll Attacks! on you, but probably not. He’s having yet another really good season, just not on par with the other three. His scoring (19.8 ppg) and shooting (48 percent overall, 44.7 beyond the arc) are up from last season, and he’s assumed a larger offensive burden in the process. He keeps it up, he’s headed for an All-SEC season and All-American consideration.

The problem is Jenkins is a defensive liability and he doesn’t rebound or dish many assists. He’s one-dimensional. “So? So was Jimmer!? Right?” Well, yes and no.

Fredette’s shooting percentages weren’t as impressive as Jenkins, but everything else dwarfs Jenkins. Fredette scored nearly 10 more points a game, was nearly as efficient doing and assumed a larger portion of the offense. He also doubled Jenkins’ assists and rebound totals. And BYU was much better than Vandy.

It’d be one thing if Vandy (13-4) relied on Jenkins the way BYU needed Fredette. But the Commodores’ win streak coincides with the return of center Festus Ezeli, meaning Jenkins doesn’t have to do nearly as much.

Jenkins is a good player and is having another impressive season. But he’s not the equal of Robinson, Sullinger or McDermott. Not yet.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

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