Markus Howard and Myles Powell are in a heated two-horse race (sorry, Ty-Shon!) for the Big East Player of the Year award. Howard is hoping to be become only the second player since ’05 to receive this award twice, looking to join Kris Dunn. He’s building a very strong case during his senior season, and is doing it with much less help than that of last season when he had the luxury of Joey and Sam Hauser, both transferring before this season. Averaging a career high 27.1 points per game, and dealing with handling the highest usage rate in the country (39.9%, whoa) he still has managed to trim his turnovers from 3.9 to 3.2 per game. He also posts above 3 rebounds and assists each per contest. He has gotten 40+ points in three games this year, and is often in the high 30’s. Markus has gotten more than 20 points in 16 of 25 games this year. He is the type of player that come Selection Sunday, you will not want to see your school’s name across from his, because he’s going to do what Markus Howard does; get buckets. I was watching Markus and Marquette take on Villanova when Howard broke the all-time Big East points record, and I reminisced on how many times I’ve seen Markus drain a step-back three with a defenders hands in his face, or how many hesitation dribble drives followed by a finish through contact I’ve seen him make—and I thought to myself, ‘How could this guy possibly not be the player of the year?’
Enter Myles Powell.
Powell and the 20-7 (12-3 in conference) Seton Hall Pirates catapulted into first place in the conference early in the season, and have yet to give up that spot. Myles Powell is a winner. He has done it on every level. Powell is scoring at a 21 point per game clip, pairing that with 5 rebounds and two and a half assists. Powell, along with a few impressive role players for the Pirates, have led Seton Hall to their highest ranking in two decades. He has anywhere-in-the-gym range, and completely controls the heartbeat of a very, very good team. Powell has had his share of notable nights, including a 37-point performance against Michigan State, and a 34 point outing (12-24 shooting) in D.C. against Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas. The preseason Player of the Year has lived up to all the hype, even after missing a couple games due to a concussion. Powell being gone for a few games perhaps was not the worst thing for the star guard. “It just made me cherish [the season] more because everything can be taken from you so fast,” Powell said of the injury.
The parallels between the two are incredible, down to the numbers. Powell is shooting 40% from the field, Howard at 40.9%. They both are top ten in usage in the nation, and they both don’t do a whole lot of things wrong. Each of them have gotten exactly four conference player of the week honors. Powell may be a bit better on-ball defender, but Howard has the edge when it comes to 3P%.
The Big East is the best conference known to basketball. Myles Powell and Markus Howard are a great part of what makes this conference special. Both of these guys are well-deserving candidates for not only Big East POY, but National Player of the Year as well.
My crystal ball prediction? Myles Powell. The best player in college basketball will lead the Pirates to the Elite 8 and collects quite a few awards along the way.
Myles Powell, National Player of the Year—Sharpie.