Now in its sixth season, the Mr. Basketball USA Tracker tracks the progress of the nation’s top national player of the year candidates. We take a look back at the first five preseason favorites and where they finished at the end of the season.
The tope vote-getter in each of the first five preseason Mr. Basketball USA Trackers went on to have stellar seasons. That trend bodes well for forward Andrew Wiggins of Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.), the top vote-getter in this year’s preseason Mr. Basketball USA Tracker.
All five of those players were seniors and all five of them finished no lower than third place in the final tracker. In its inaugural year, Samardo Samuels (Cleveland Cavaliers) was the top vote-getter, but as the season wore on Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks) emerged as the top candidate and went on to become Oak Hill Academy’s only consensus national player of the year.
In 2010-11, Austin Rivers (New Orleans Hornets) was in a three-horse race all season long with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats) and Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards). In that season’s final tracker, Rivers and Beal of Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) both collected 75 points to Kidd-Gilchrist’s 76, but Beal was the only candidate to appear on all 10 ballots. That placed Rivers, the national junior player of the year in 2009-10, in third place. Kidd-Gilchrist of St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) was the eventual winner.
What will be Wiggins’ fate? If the last five years are any indication, he has a good shot to earn Mr. Basketball USA and barring injury, will be in the thick of the race until the end of the season.
Mr. Basketball USA: All-Time Preseason Top Vote-Getters
2007-08: Samardo Samuels, St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) 80 pts. (9) – 2ND PLACE
2008-09: Derrick Favors, South Atlanta (Atlanta, Ga.) 89 pts. (10) – WINNER
2009-10: Harrison Barnes, Ames (Ames, Iowa) 92 pts. (10) – WINNER
2010-11: Austin Rivers, Winter Park (Winter Park, Fla.) 93 pts. (10) – 3RD PLACE
2011-12: Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 93 pts. (10) – WINNER