Friday, February 17, 2017
Johnathan Motley for POY
Baylor forward Johnathan Motley has become a collegiate star after emerging as one of Baylor's best players of all time. An undersized and under recruited high school prospect, Motley wasn't always the portrait of America's top athlete. As a redshirt freshman, Motley started every game of the season, averaging 7.7 points, 1.4 blocks and 4.2 rebounds. The young athlete led the 2014-15 team in blocks (46) and helped the team win the Big 12 Championship and advance to the NCAA tournament. In his sophomore season, Motley again led the team in blocks and averaged 11.1 points, 1.1 blocks and 5.1 rebounds per game. He earned both U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Big 12 National Player of the Week nods after a champion-caliber performance in Baylor's win against then-ranked No. 13 Iowa State. Although Motley earned awards and recognition throughout his first two years, it wasn't until this season that he truly exploded into a dominating power player. Baylor hasn't seen a Motley-style performance in the past and boy, how lucky we are to be alive right now (sung like Philippa Soo). How lucky are we to witness Motley dance across the court like a stage, playing each role in Les Mis' "One Day More" collaboration; Jean Valjean, Cosette, Eponine, Marius, Javert and Thenadier all rolled into one brilliant basketball gazelle. This season, he's averaging 16.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game with his star studded breakout performance at Texas where he recorded career high 32 points and 20 rebounds. His ability to hit the jump shot, rebound his own missed buckets and strength in the paint makes Motley a dynamic and dangerous threat to opposing teams- and the reason why he deserves to be named the Player of the Year.