The NCAA Player of the Year award is an annual honor given to the most outstanding collegiate basketball player in the United States. The award is given out by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious awards in college basketball. The winner of this award is typically seen as the most outstanding player in the country and is generally considered to be the top prospect for the upcoming NBA draft.
In 2022, the award was presented to University of North Carolina Tar Heels freshman point guard, Marcus Paige. Paige was the first freshman from North Carolina to win the award in its history and the first Tar Heel to do so since Tyler Hansbrough in 2009. He is now one of the most renowned players in college basketball and is expected to be a top pick in the 2022 NBA draft.
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Background of Marcus Paige
Marcus Paige was born in Chicago and moved to North Carolina at the age of six. He attended high school at West Charlotte High School, where he was a three-time all-state player. As a senior, he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in North Carolina and was a McDonald’s All-American.
Paige then chose to stay in-state and attend the University of North Carolina. He was a four-year starter for the Tar Heels, and was the team’s leader in points, assists, and steals. He was also named the ACC Player of the Year in 2022 and led the Tar Heels to their first Final Four appearance since 2008.
Paige’s Performance During the 2022 Season
During the 2022 season, Paige was nothing short of spectacular. He averaged 18.9 points, 5.8 assists, and 1.7 steals per game, shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range. He was also an outstanding leader, as he was named the team captain of the Tar Heels.
In addition to his stats, Paige had several memorable performances throughout the season. He scored a season-high 35 points against Duke, led the Tar Heels to a thrilling comeback win over rival NC State, and had a triple-double against Maryland. He was also critical in the team’s Final Four run, as he scored 25 points in the Elite Eight game against Michigan and 22 points in the National Championship game against Gonzaga.
Reaction to Paige Winning the Award
When it was announced that Paige had won the NCAA Player of the Year award, he was praised by teammates, coaches, and fans alike. Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams said, “He’s a great player, a great leader, and a great teammate. He’s an outstanding human being, and he’s deserving of this award.”
Paige’s teammates were also quick to praise him. Tar Heels forward Cameron Johnson said, “Marcus is an incredible player, an incredible leader, and an incredible friend. He’s done so much for this team, and I’m so proud of him for winning this award.”
In the end, Marcus Paige was a deserving winner of the 2022 NCAA Player of the Year award. He was an outstanding player and leader for the Tar Heels, and he led them to their first Final Four appearance since 2008. He is now seen as one of the best players in college basketball and is expected to be a top pick in the 2022 NBA draft.