While Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer was not brought to Connecticut to be a star, there’s a reason you play the games. Spencer, the Big East’s best 3-point shooter, has been viewed as one of the nation’s top transfers to this point and a great compliment to the reigning national champions. However, his game has risen to much more than a complimentary role alongside the holdovers of Donovan Clingan, Tristen Newton, and Alex Karaban. A pair of 20-point outings have not only launched Spencer’s name into the All-Big East conversation but the Big East Player of the Year race as well.
Cam Spencer Joining the Big East Player of the Year Race
One of the Nation’s Top Transfers
Spencer was tabbed as one of the top options in the transfer portal from Rutgers this past offseason. Perhaps the top transfer this offseason, however, was Hunter Dickinson from Michigan to Kansas. The 7-foot-2 center is a likely All-American and has held up to his anticipated production. Dickinson has logged 18.9 points with 11.1 rebounds per game.
Caleb Love was another one of the premium names to move in the offseason. After moving from North Carolina to Arizona, Love, who isn’t viewed as much of a sure thing regarding his All-American status, has held up nonetheless. The guard has posted an identical 18.9 points per game with 5.2 rebounds.
One of the more off-the-radar transfers has perhaps gained the most traction through the midway point of conference play. Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht joined the Vols from Northern Colorado and has firmly planted himself in the national player of the year conversation. The fifth-year wing has averaged 20.1 points with five 30-point games in his first season in the SEC.
Spencer has the most total points on UConn this season but his 15.5 points per game is narrowly edged by Newton for the team lead. He also pulls down 4.5 rebounds per game. Where the shooting guard has made his name, however, is on the perimeter. Spencer shoots 48.8% from the field and a Big East-best 45.1% from behind the arc.
Spencer Hitting His Stride
After starting his tenure at UConn with a relatively forgettable eight-point, 2-for-3 shooting night against Northern Arizona, Spencer has turned out just as the team thought he might. Head coach Dan Hurley commended Spencer’s ability to sit back and provide for the team on opening night as he found his role.
Now inching closer to March, he’s truly become a difference-maker. Saturday at Madison Square Garden, Spencer posted 23 points on 5 of 7 shooting from 3-point range. He followed up the performance with 20 points against Butler shooting 4-for-8 from deep.
Spencer ranks in the top-15 in the Big East in scoring, field goal percentage, and assists. He’s also among the top three in 3-point percentage, free throw percentage, and 3-pointers made.
Big East Player of the Year Race
Devin Carter of Providence is perhaps the frontrunner for the award at this point. The second-year Friar leads the conference with 19.0 points per game. His 8.0 rebounds per game is tied for the third-best mark in the league. Carter has posted 25 or more points five times in Big East play.
Carter has been one of the biggest risers in the absence of star forward Bryce Hopkins. However, it’s no slam dunk at this point. Spencer’s running mate Tristen Newton is firmly in the conversation as well. Reigning player of the year Tyler Kolek has returned to form after a slow start to Marquette’s Big East schedule. Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman is also one of the most well-rounded players in the league and will garner consideration.