Take this into consideration college basketball fans, I know John Wall has had all of the hype for player of the year, and its well deserved. He has played big in big moments such as that amazing performance against UConn in December, and just last night against Alabama when the cats were on the ropes. However, he is not the player of the year in college basketball, that distinction belongs to Evan Turner of Ohio State.
No, I am not just shamelessly plugging him because I go to OSU or because I am biased. When you take a look at both teams it is clear to see that Turner means more to the Buckeyes than Wall does to the Wildcats.
John Wall isn’t even the best player on his own team (that distinction belongs to Demarcus Cousins). Wall’s performance all season has been stellar, but sometimes he has been outshined by guys like Eric Bledsoe, Pat Patterson and Cousins, who have equal to better talent than Wall. You can think of several instances this year where Wall has not been the best player on the court for Kentucky and was outplayed by opponents; against South Carolina he struggled to keep up with Devan Downey all game long, he was held down in two tough wins against Vanderbilt and in the last game this season and against Florida he was a non-factor throughout a tough tilt. He also has had bouts with immaturity this season in clashing with Coach John Calipari. His statement-retraction of “not really listening to coach” raised some eyebrows that maybe the 19 year-old still has a lot to learn before he reaches the next level.
Turner on the other hand has been the best player on the floor at all times for Ohio State and has had to be. The Buckeyes only go 6 deep and Turner finds himself on the floor playing all 40 minutes sometimes guarding the best player on the opposing team every night all while making factors out of streaky Jon Diebler and the underachieving David Lighty. Turner is the only player on his team that can create his own shot and makes plays regularly to keep Ohio State ahead in close games while his teammates stand and watch. His 23 in the second half against Purdue in January was a testament to his explosive capabilities and how he is really the only player that can be consistent on his team. He is the point guard; go to guy and best defender of his team.
When he was absent for 6 games in December with a back injury you saw just how much the Bucks struggled without him. They were embarrassed by Wisconsin and Michigan (14-18 Michigan mind you) and let Delaware State hang around almost all game before putting them away. With Turner they are a title contender and a two-seed in the NCAA tourney, without him they are an NIT team. You can’t say that for Kentucky. Without Wall they are still a 20 win team with a shot at an elite eight appearance maybe more. They are better with him, but without him they are still a forceful opponent.
In the end it doesn’t matter because they will both be the top two players taken in the NBA draft. Whoever drafts them will reap the benefits of their amazing talents almost immediately. As for right now though its no contest who means more to their team on a nightly basis. Evan Turner is that man, and for that he should be the national player of the year hands down.