The Naismith Award equals the NCAA Basketball Player of the Year award.
The NCAA Basketball Player of the Year equals the best player in college basketball for 2010.
The best player in college basketball for 2010 equals Evan Turner.
Statistically speaking, the 21-year old guard from Ohio State is the total package. Evan Turner, who is practically a walking double-double, averages 19.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game (both of which are FAR superior averages when compared to Turner’s toughest competition for the Naismith Award, John Wall). In addition to his Big Ten leading point and rebound average, Turner also provides 5.8 assists per game (putting him at second in the Big Ten in that category).
On both offense and defense, Turner’s presence on the court demands full and constant attention from his opponents. He possesses surprising speed for his size, 6-feet 7-inches and 210 lbs, which allows him to be successful at nearly every position on the court.
While Turner’s statistics make an extremely strong case for him as the Player of the Year, it was actually his time OFF the court which demonstrated just how important and impactful Evan Turner has become.
After suffering several broken vertebrae during a game in early December, Turner was forced to miss six games before he could return to the court. At the point when Turner suffered that injury, the Buckeyes were sitting at 7-1, but during the six-game period where Turner was unavailable, they played to a disappointing 3-3 record with losses coming against Wisconsin, Michigan, and Butler. The Buckeyes fell to 0-2 in the Big Ten, and 10-4 overall.
Upon his return, the Buckeyes found themselves once again rolling through their competition, as they would go on to win 14 of their last 17 games and finish on top of the Big Ten with a conference record of 14-4.
As good as Turner’s supporting cast of John Diebler, David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale, and William Buford are, their performance without Turner on the floor was very telling. During their loss against Butler, they were out-rebounded by the Bulldogs 45-32 (Turner’s 10 rebound average would have surely made a difference). Two weeks later in their loss to Wisconsin, the Buckeyes went 14 of 43 from the field, and tallied only 43 total points in the game (Turner’s 20 points per game would have made a HUGE difference in that performance). Finally, when they lost to Michigan four days after their game against the Badgers, Ohio State once again turned in a terrible second-half performance, shooting only 28 percent from the floor during the final twenty minutes of play (they were only 36.9 percent shooting overall that night).
Simply put, the Buckeyes would be a middle-of-the-pack team without Evan Turner, who is like the little Dutch boy plugging leaks in the dyke. His versatility allows him to fill any role that is needed on the court at any time, whether that position is point guard, shooting guard, forward, or anything else that may be required at a moment’s notice.
Had he not been able to return to play for Ohio State, they would have entered the Big Ten conference tournament with a bubble-team’s hope for reaching March Madness, and an NIT berth as a more realistic expectation. Instead, Evan Turner has almost single-handedly propelled the 24-7 Buckeyes into very serious consideration for a top seed in the national tournament (a case helped even more by the Syracuse loss in the early rounds of the Big East tournament).
There is simply not another player in the country as effective offensively AND defensively as Turner, who possesses the best all-around skills in the game today. It doesn’t matter what it is called – best player, player of the year, most valuable player – Evan Turner is the only logical choice for the Naismith Award in 2010.