As mentioned last week, John Gasaway (former Big Ten hoops blog god) christened our very own Mr. Turner as college basketball's player of the year using the statistical analysis tinged oeuvre that made us all worship his wonk'dom in the first place. As if Turner didn't pass the eye/gut test easily enough, Gasaway goes a step further in outlining just part of what makes the junior guard so phenomenal:
Turner, conversely, does all of the below fabulous things knowing that he has to, almost literally, stay on the floor at all times. The other day I ranked the nation's consensus top teams according to how many minutes are logged by their top five players. Ohio State came in a close second to Georgetown on this measure, meaning your eyes are exactly correct: Thad Matta in effect says "My team is on the floor" every time he sends the Buckeyes out for the opening tip. True, all five players in Columbus are operating with little or no margin for error, be it fatigue or foul-trouble. But only one of those players has the ball in his hands all game, every game.
It would be impressive enough if Turner was accomplishing what he was, say, in 35-38 minutes a night, but to seemingly know he's going to have to do it 40 game after game after game only adds to his legend and makes the possibilities of seeing a #21 jersey hanging in the Value City Arena rafters that much more possible someday down the road. The Villain's legacy is about to be recognized in a big way, so if you're of the constitution where you're not big on the star of your basketball team being part of a giant media love fest for the next, oh, 2-3 weeks, perhaps it's time to find a new hobby in the interim. As for the rest of us...
I mentioned a few weeks back that Evan Turner had finally surpassed Kentucky's John Wall in the Ann Arbor.com poll for national player of the year. In the final 2010 edition of that poll, that lead's turned pretty insurmountable. Turner picked up 41 of the 49 1st place votes and was the only player voted for on all 49 ballots. Expect to hear this kind of lavish praise early and often as the weeks go by. The USA Today's college basketball blog also gets it and points out that ET is not so quietly running away with the national player of the year award. Mike Miller from MSNBC is also on board, stating Turner's Big Ten regular season co-championship has clinched the award for the junior point guard. And the hits keep on coming here and here as well.
To add some aesthetic praise to the prose, Mr. Turner will be gracing the cover of one of the next two editions of Sports Illustrated. As if the Big Ten and/or NCAA tourney(s) soon to follow just afterwards, the squawk boxes on sports talk radio, the ESPN family of network, and Fox Sports/The Sporting News's many entities, etc. preaching the merits of Turner's super human 2009/10 effort wasn't enough, his likeness too will be all over every magazine and newspaper (ostensibly these still exists; at least in airports, I think) stand in the country. All this to cap a surreal 3 year run for college basketball's most complete player. Eventually we may find out that it is actually possible to run out of hyperbole to describe the 6'8" Penny Hardaway-in-his-prime (but younger and with a higher ceiling) and unquestionably the best hoopster to don the scarlet & gray since Jim Jackson -- make that Jerry Lucas. Oh, and as for those worried about "The Curse" wrecking havoc on a potential deep March run? The Villain has his own designs on how to buck the would-be bad karma.