Member Mayhem Message Board (go vote)
"What player do you feel had the biggest impact on his team's run to get to the 2009 NCAA Tournament?"
Evan Turner of the Ohio State Buckeyes and Kalin Lucas of the Michigan State Spartans were both candidates for Big Ten Player of the Year. Unfortunately, as these things go, only one could receive the honor, although both are quite deserving. It is a hard choice to choose between the two as both had extremely significant impacts on their respective team's performance. If one were to purely evaluate the two players on game statistics, Turner wins hands down. But there is more to winning basketball games than FG%, A/G, R/G, and the rest of the alphabet soup used by statisticians and fans. There is leadership. Who best led his team?
Both played tough games. Both led their teams. Both had moments of ecstasy and agony. Both kept their teams in games when the team went cold. Both led their teams to the "Big Dance." MSU beat OSU in the regular season. OSU beat MSU in the Big Ten Tournament, thus cementing a seed in the NCAA Tournament. I've seen them both play and I can not decide. I do tend to favor green and white over scarlet and gray.
As much as I like Lucas, this piece has to be about Turner. In the Big Ten Tournament, OSU took on MSU. The second half started with OSU up by 5, not a comfortable lead by any stretch. MSU started nibbling on the lead. Then Turner came alive. 18 points in 20 minutes plus assists, rebounds at both ends, steals, and blocked shots. He fired up his team and held off the Spartan rallies, and led his team to 12-point win. Would Ohio State have been in the tournament without that win? Probably, but not as a number 8 seed. Without Turner, OSU would not have danced at all.