Could VCU win back-to-back A-10 Player of the Year awards?

Senior forward Vince Williams was awarded A-10 Men’s Basketball Player of the Week by the Atlantic 10 conference on Monday, honoring Williams for his performance during the week of Jan. 24-30.

The honor, the first of Williams’ career, came after a career-defining week for Williams as he led the VCU Rams (13-6, 6-2 A-10) to a pair of stellar road wins that have vaulted the Rams into serious at-large contention for the NCAA Tournament.

For the week, Williams averaged 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists while shooting 68.2% from the floor and 55.6% from 3-point range.

Williams’ big week started on Jan. 26, when VCU defeated Davidson 70-68 at Belk Arena. To that point, Davidson had been unbeaten in conference play and carried a 15-game win streak into the matchup, the longest winning streak in the country.

On that night, Williams led the Rams with 16 points and six rebounds. His biggest contribution came in the final 90 seconds of the game, slamming home a dunk after Davidson’s Foster Loyer brought the VCU lead down to one point. Later, Williams drew a charge on Luka Brajkovic, Davidson’s leading scorer on the night, allowing VCU to shoot free throws and nearly ice the game.

The VCU win was ultimately sealed by a block by Mikeal Brown-Jones on Brajkovic’s attempt at a game-winning 3-pointer.

On Jan. 29, Williams put together perhaps the best game of his career in a rivalry matchup against the Richmond Spiders. On that afternoon, Williams flirted with a triple-double, ending the game with a career-high 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Williams showed great efficiency on the afternoon, shooting 9-for-13 from the floor and 3-for-6 from 3-point range.

The most crucial of Williams’ 22 points came in the last moments of the game, with the Spiders and the Rams tied at 61. Williams drained the go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the key with 25.3 seconds remaining, giving VCU a 64-61 lead. The Rams held the lead for the rest of the contest, ultimately winning 64-62.

VCU’s next game will be Wednesday night at the Siegel Center, when the Rams host Dayton (14-7, 6-2 A-10). The game tips off at 9 p.m. and will air on CBS Sports Network.

Can Vince Williams be A-10 Player of the Year?

In the last week, Vince Williams has catapulted himself into the conversation for the best player in the conference. While it will be a steep competition in a conference with many exceptional players, Williams certainly belongs on the short list for A-10 Player of the Year consideration.

While Williams leads VCU with 12.9 points per game, his scoring leaves him just 20th in the A-10, more than five points per game behind Saint Louis star Gibson Jimerson for the conference lead.  Nine of the other 13 schools in the conference have players that, on average, outscore Williams.

Williams also leads the Rams in rebounding, averaging 6.2 rebounds per game. That rate leaves the Toledo, Ohio native 21st in the conference, trailing Fordham’s Chuba Ohams by over five rebounds per game.

As for assists, Williams is 10th in the conference, and again leads the Rams with 3.4 assists per game (Ace Baldwin is averaging 5.2 assists per game but does not qualify because he has not played enough games). He also ranks in the top 25 in the A-10 in field goal percentage (25th), free throw percentage (24th), 3-point percentage (19th), blocks per game (12th), and steals per game (5th).

All that is to say: If you’re looking for a complete all-around player, very few, if any players in the A-10, can compare with what Williams can bring. A “Swiss army knife” type of player, Williams does a lot of things exceptionally and is the basketball version of a “five-tool player” in baseball.

But to win A-10 Player of the Year, Williams likely needs to dominate the game in some aspect, like former VCU player Bones Hyland did last year by being the best scorer in the conference. Williams is an exceptional player, but eye-popping statlines like Jimerson’s and Ohams’ could rule the day when it comes time for awards to be handed out. In addition, Yuri Collins from Saint Louis has put together equally impressive performances and appears to be among the frontrunners as well, while Brajkovic is the best scorer on the conference’s best team at the moment.

Williams certainly deserves your consideration. With VCU finishing out one of the toughest portions of its schedule this week, it is worth checking out Williams’ game to see what spectacular, complete statlines can come next.

While it is still too early to hand out the awards, and teams could continue to rocket up or tumble down the standings, it is safe to say that Williams belongs on the shortlist for the best player in the conference.

Featured photo: Matt Morton/A10Talk