With the Final Four two days away, we are once again handing out our postseason award hardware on the cusp of the ultimate weekend in college basketball — as we always do on the Thursday before the national semifinals.
Here is how we do this: Awards ballots from all of our writers and analysts are submitted after the conclusion of the Elite Eight. The entire season up through the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament is taken into consideration. While some national awards only consider regular-season performance, we believe the postseason should be reflected in the narrative of these awards. At CBS Sports, the Big Dance carries some significance. We seek to reflect and reward the consistency of the regular season but also allow postseason (league tournaments included) success to play a part in our final tallies. You'll see that being the case both with our big awards and our three All-America teams.
Player of the Year was a closer race than we all expected it to be as recently as three or four weeks ago. This was not a runaway, not at all. In a great year for big men, it came down to a three-way push among the bigs to take our National Player of the Year honor. In the era of NIL, will it be this way over the next three, four, five years?
For Freshman of the Year, this was not a deep season for freshmen talent, but the voting was still closer than maybe it otherwise would have been. It's also more complicated than our other two awards, due to the controversy around Alabama freshman Brandon Miller, Alabama coach Nate Oats and the Alabama athletic department that swirled from February on.
And for Coach of the Year, it turned out to be one of the most compelling races men's college basketball has seen in the past decade. The likes of Shaka Smart, Jerome Tang, Dan Hurley, Dusty May, Matt Painter, Bill Self, Brian Dutcher and Jim Larrañaga all had strong cases. But we can only vote for one. You'll find out who below.
Here are the 2022-23 CBS Sports national awards for Player, Freshman and Coach of the Year. -- Matt Norlander
Note: The CBS Sports Preseason Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year were voted on by college basketball writers at CBS Sports and 247Sports.
2022-23 CBS Sports Player of the Year
Zach Edey | Purdue | C | 7-4 | Jr.
Purdue's Zach Edey spent his sophomore year splitting time with a teammate and actually played just 19.0 minutes per game. As a junior, his on-the-court activity increased dramatically, at which point the 7-foot-4 center established himself early this season as college basketball's biggest statistical monster for a team that eventually won the Big Ten regular-season title, Big Ten Tournament and spent seven weeks ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Edey is the CBS Sports National Player of the Year.
It's a remarkable accomplishment given that the Toronto native entered college as little more than a project who was ranked 436th in the Class of 2020, according to 247 Sports. To go from that to somebody who averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 31.7 minutes per game as a third-year player in a major conference is historically rare, if not unprecedented.
Did the season end well?
Edey would likely trade this POY award — and every other one he's won or will win — for the opportunity to restart the NCAA Tournament considering his Boilermakers became just the second No. 1 seed in history to lose a first-round game to a No. 16 seed. To call it disappointing is to put it mildly (even if Edey did have 21 points and 15 rebounds in that 63-57 loss to Fairleigh Dickinson).
Still, the fact that the season ended terribly doesn't mean Edey and Purdue didn't have incredible seasons — it just means their incredible seasons ended terribly. Nothing more. Nothing less. And when our panel of voters considered everything he did and didn't do, and everything everybody else in the country did and didn't do, from the opening day of the season through the end of the Elite Eight, the consensus was that Edey deserved to be named the CBS Sports National Player of the Year, edging Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis and Gonzaga's Drew Timme once all ballots were counted. – Gary Parrish
2022-23 CBS Sports Freshman of the Year
Brandon Miller | Alabama | SF | 6-9 | Fr.
Miller led all freshmen in scoring at 18.8 points per game while pushing Alabama to its first No. 1 seed in program history. Outside shooting stood out as Miller's best skill as he drilled 38.4% of his 7.5 attempts per game. But he showed versatility as a scorer and also played quality defense for the Crimson Tide while grabbing 8.2 rebounds per game. Miller's connection to a fatal shooting marred his season, but there's no question he was college basketball's best freshman on the court. – David Cobb
2022-23 CBS Sports Coach of the Year
Dusty May, FAU
Before March 2023, FAU had precisely zero -- zilch, nada -- NCAA Tournament wins to its name in school history. Fast forward one month later, fifth-year coach Dusty May has the Owls hooting their way to history with four-straight NCAA Tournament wins and a Final Four berth to boot.
FAU earned a No. 9 seed in the Big Dance in its second-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning Conference USA's regular season and Conference USA's postseason tournament to clinch the league's automatic bid. It had already locked up a program-best in total wins in a season, and has blown its previous record out of the water with 35 -- 14 more than its previous best.
May's willingness to embrace modern basketball with FAU as a high volume 3-point shooting team has no doubt allowed the Owls, one of the smaller teams in college hoops aside from 7-foot-1 center Vlad Goldin, the ability to harness superpowers as a giant killer. Now May has FAU -- picked to finish fifth in its own conference in the preseason -- just two wins away from doing what almost no one thought possible. -- Kyle Boone