Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quickie: Turner, Big East, Strassy, More

My immersion into March and its obsessive focus on college basketball continues today, pegging today's SN column lead off SN giving its National POY award to Evan Turner.

Now, I had been on the John Wall bandwagon all year -- and he remains the biggest, most exhilarating talent in college basketball and an all-time freshman -- but something clicked for me when I finally recognized that Wall plays with 3 NBA Lottery picks, including another NBA point guard. If Wall didn't go to Kentucky, Eric Bledsoe, Cousins and Patterson would have been more than enough to get Kentucky into the Top 10.

Now, if Turner wasn't available for Ohio State -- as he wasn't for four weeks -- I would be surprised if the Buckeyes could make the Tournament. He lacks Wall's ultimate sizzle, but he is far more well-rounded... and valuable to his team.

All that said: Both Turner and Wall will be judged not on their sublime regular seasons, but on how they do in the NCAA Tournament. Turner needs nothing less than a Wade-like run to the Final Four. For Wall, the Final Four is a minimum; he really needs a championship if he wants to be spoken of in the same context as Carmelo, who I think is, game-for-game, the greatest college basketball player of the modern (post-ESPN, post-64-team-tourney, post-3-point-shot) era.

Anything less, and -- absolutely -- I think less of their college careers. Just look at Kevin Durant, who was amazing in college but couldn't even get out of the first weekend of his one and only NCAA Tournament. For me, that layers in huge disappointment.

There is a reason that college hoops is defined -- quite intensely, thank you -- for March, and not for November through February. Make your mark now, or don't make it at all.

More you'll find in today's SN column:

*UConn really stinks.
*Seton Hall-ND: Should be a NCAA play-in!
*Butler saves a Bubble spot.
*Stephen Strasburg will be just fine.
*Heat < Bobcats?
*Is NASCAR heading for crisis?

See the complete column here. More later.

-- D.S.

1 comment:

Nuthin but "THE TRUTH" said...

I am continually surprised at the hurdles placed before Evan Turner. Nevermind that Oklahoma didn't make it past the second round for Blake Griffin and Blake Griffin received Player of Year as well as Number 1 in the Draft, but Evan Turner, whose put up numbers we haven't seen since the mid-nineties, has to get a middling team to the final four in order to get PLAYER OF THE YEAR which he has already earned. We can turn this over and over and the result will be the same. Evan Turner has had a better season than John Wall back injury notwithstanding. Hey, Greives, and Cousins have also had more impactful seasons. Here is the lesson. All the hype around Wall should not cloud reason. There shouldn't be additional requirements placed upon this tournament that will negate what was already accomplished. Now the tournament should be really fun, an we should see some great basketball. If you haven't seen Turner play then you are in for a treat. Not only does he know the game, he knows how to play the game. Heck, he even knows how his competition plays the game. Intelligence, high basketball I.Q., finesse. Those are some of the descriptions of Turner, but they are the some of his parts. He is more than a workhorse. He can do, does do, and will do what it takes to win. Carrying his team, playing 40 minutes, Playing both ends of the court, that's what got him to this point. I don't doubt he will do it in the tournament, but don't give another bogus requirement to his getting the POY. It doesn't wash, he has earned it and OSU showing will be a testament to how all five starters react to the spotlight. I doubt we have to worry about Turner. Whether they make to the final four or not will not wash in giving the Avard to another less deserving player. The war has been long. Player of the year is an award based on the season's play. Turner has already brought them to a conference title. OSU hasn't seen that in three years. There will be no excuse for his not getting the award.