Luka Garza, Remy Martin among favorites to win Wooden Award as best player in college basketball

Remy Martin and Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email
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The 2020-21 college basketball season is starting with chaos. Hopefully, it ends with Madness.

You know, March Madness—what we didn’t get in 2020.

The festivities begin on Wednesday, when a whole host of season openers take a place. A bunch more have already been cancelled due to coronavirus issues, but nonetheless more than 100 Division I teams will likely be tipping off their 2020-21 campaigns and the best players in college basketball will begin their final auditions for the 2021 NBA Draft. More than a few returnees tested the 2020 draft waters before backing out, perhaps due to their own stock reports but also maybe because they felt the emptiness of a 2019-20 college season cut short. Among those back on the amateur hardwood are Iowa senior Luka Garza and Arizona State senior Remy Martin.

Let’s take a look at the favorite and also some potentially lucrative bets for the 2021 Wooden Award winner.

Favorite: Luka Garza, Iowa (+400)

To be perfectly clear, I’m not touching a favorite—either a team or an individual—for this upcoming college basketball season. That’s not a knock on Villanova or Gonzaga or Baylor or Iowa, and it’s certainly not a knock on Garza. There is simply too much uncertainty right now, with games already being cancelled and surely more than a few players eventually opting out. At +400 odds, someone would have to be a Zion Williamson-like talent in order for me to bite. That being said, Garza is no joke. The 6’11’’ senior averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game last season while shooting 54.2 percent from the floor and even 35.8 percent from three-point range. If the fifth-ranked Hawkeyes live up to expectations, Garza will have a good chance of earning Player of the Year honors.

Luka Garza of the Iowa Hawkeyes looks to lead the team at both ends of the floor.

Best bet: Remy Martin, Arizona State (+1000)

Double-digit odds, on the other hand? Now we’re talking! At 10-to-1, Martin has solid value to win this award. Like Garza, Martin is obviously on our players to watch list for the 2020-21 season. The 6’0’’ guard has made consistent improvements throughout his illustrious career at Arizona State. He averaged 9.6 ppg as a freshman, 12.9 ppg as a sophomore, and 19.1 ppg as a junior. Martin does it all for the Sun Devils, too, having also recorded 4.1 apg, 3.1 rpg, and 1.5 spg last year. He is quite simply a force on both ends of the floor. Romello White transferred from ASU to Ole Miss, so Martin will have to shoulder even more of the load in 2020-21. At the same time, head coach Bobby Hurley’s squad has plenty of talent to take at least some pressure off Martin and keep opposing defenses on their toes.

Bigger odds: Joel Ayayi, Gonzaga (+2000)

For the reasons referenced above, players at big odds should be looked at long and hard for this 2020-21 college basketball campaign—perhaps none more than Ayayi. The 6’5’’ junior from France hardly played as a freshman but averaged 10.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.2 apg, and 1.3 spg last year. It is also worth noting that he shot better than 48 percent from the floor, 34 percent from three-point range, and 82 percent from the free-throw line as a sophomore. Ayayi is without question going to take another leap forward for a Gonzaga team that could end up being the best in the nation.

Longshot: Sam Hauser, Virginia (+4000)

If you want to go into the super-deep sleeper range (and again, that might not be a bad idea), Hauser may be the way to go. A transfer from Marquette, Hauser should be an absolutely ideal fit at Virginia. He is as fundamentally sound and sweet-shooting as they come. The 6’8’’ senior averaged 14.9 ppg in his final go-around with the Golden Eagles and he has shot better than 40 percent from deep in each of his three college seasons. He can also rebound and distribute without turning the ball over—just like everyone else at Virginia! With Kihei Clark running the floor for the Wahoos, Hauser is going to get plenty of open looks.

Pickswise is the home of free NCAA basketball picks and predictions. We will provide predictions on both the side and totals for all of the power-conference and Top 25 games during the 2020-21 season.

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