Entering the 2023/24 College Basketball season, big men dominate the favorites list to win the John R. Wooden Award given to the best player.
In addition to preseason talk of National Champion favorites, Top-25s and challengers for conference titles, now is also the time to speculate on the favorites for the most prestigious individual award with the season one week away.
That prestigious award is the John Wooden Award, which is given annually to both the top men's and women's collegiate basketball players.
On the men's side, Purdue's Zach Edey returns after winning the award last season. Only one player, Houston's Ralph Sampson in 1982 and 1983, has won the award two years in a row.
Below is a look at the current favorites in men's College Basketball to win the 2023-24 John Wooden Award.
Edey was both the 2022-23 Big Ten Player of the Year and the John Wooden Award winner last season.
The 7-foot-4 Toronto native has drastically improved in his three seasons at Purdue, culminating with last year's averages of 22 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks a game.
Edey is a force inside and a perfect base for the Boilermakers' talented sophomore backcourt of Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer to feed into.
Edey joined forward Glenn Robinson (1994) as the only Purdue players to win this distinguished award. Now, Edey is trying to join Sampson as the only repeat winners.
Duke has had the most players win the John Wooden Award with six, and forward Zion Williamson was the most recent in 2019.
Filipowksi may be next in line, especially if he can lead Coach Jon Scheyer's Blue Devils squad to prominence in both the ACC as well as the NCAA tournament.
Filipowski averaged 15 points and nine rebounds as he was named both ACC Freshman of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP. He is the main reason why Duke enters the season with the shortest odds to win the NCAA Championship.
Dickinson, the two-time first-team All-Big Ten pick and former second-team All-American, has found the perfect fit with Coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks.
Dickinson transferred to Kansas from Michigan this offseason. He is eager to win a national championship, and Kansas wants to get back to the top of the pile two years after their last title.
Dickinson, a 7-foot-2 center, averaged 18.5 points and nine rebounds for the Wolverines last season.
He averaged 17 points and eight rebounds in 94 games over three years for Michigan before transferring. He'll have talented guards Dajuan Harris Jr. and Kevin McCullar feeding him all game.
The addition of Dickinson plus the returning starters from last season is why Kansas enters the season ranked No. 1 in the preseason AP Poll.
The two-time first-team All-ACC pick was named to the 2022 NCAA All-Tournament team as his Tar Heels surprised many by reaching the championship game.
But North Carolina missed the tournament completely this past spring and declined an NIT invitation, so Bacot will be leading a group focused on redemption in 2023-24.
Bacot averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds in being named All-ACC for the third time, the second time as a first-teamer.
He is looking to become the fifth Tar Heel to win the John Wooden Award and first since forward Tyler Hansbrough in 2008.
Clingan was part of a Huskies squad that steamrolled its competition en route to its fifth NCAA Tournament championship last year.
Standout performers Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins, who combined to score more than 33 points and grab more than 11 rebounds a game, are in the NBA. But the 7-foot-2 Clingan and several other UConn role players from a year ago are expected to step up in a big way.
Clingan averaged 7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game as a freshman in just 13 minutes per game. The absence of fellow big man Sanogo open up space for Clingan on offense.
He is a preseason Big East Player of the Year Candidate and would be the first Connecticut player to win the Wooden Award.