In the first of what could be many national awards, Evan Turner was named Player of the Year Friday by the Associated Press. He drove down to Indianapolis, the site of this weekend’s Final Four, with a couple of teammates and the entire OSU coaching staff to accept the fancy trophy.
Out of the 65 votes casted for POY, Turner received 54 while Kentucky’s John Wall came in second place with nine. Luke Harangody of Kentucky and De’Sean Butler of West Virginia each received one vote to close out the rankings. But it was pretty clear in the final weeks of the season that Turner was going to be close to the consensus national player of the year as he led Ohio State to a Big Ten title and a 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The next big story will be whether Turner decides to declare for the NBA Draft soon. The Plain Dealer’s Doug Lesmerises reports that he is set to announce his decision this weekend with his family at his side.
By all accounts, Turner will be a top-three pick in this year’s draft. Only Wall and his UK teammate DeMarcus Cousins have come close to the amount of buzz from the NBA throughout the college basketball season. In my mind, he is almost more of a sure thing than either of those two because of his longer career in the college game and versatility in any style of offense. He controlled the ball for OSU this season but at 6’7″ could be a typical small forward in the league.
“I actually haven’t decided yet,” Turner said after the press conference event. “It’s a tough decision. I really love Ohio State, I love playing with my teammates. I love my teammates to death. I like the innocence of college. It’s tough honestly. I guess it’s a great decision to [have.] And I don’t want to leave my teammates out. We battled together and it’s tough.”
There are not too many historical examples of assured top-three picks staying for an extra year of college. With the one-and-done system that has become popular over recent years as well, I’d honestly be shocked to see Turner return for one more season in Columbus. It would be an incredible year next year for Buckeye hoops fans if he does somehow return, but we’ll see soon what actually happens.
(Photo credit: Amy Sancetta/Associated Press)