Saturday, April 10, 2010

Props: Evan Turner

The 2009-2010 Ohio State basketball team's season ended a couple of weeks ago with a three-point loss to Tennessee, but Buckeyes star Evan Turner didn't finish his run until yesterday.

Last night, Turner won the coveted John R. Wooden Award as the nation's top player. That honor will share space in his trophy case with the Naismith Award, the Oscar Robertson Award, the AP National Player-of-the-Year Award and the Big Ten Player-of-the-Year Award.

It was, in the end, a consensus sweep for the 6'7" Turner, whose per-game averages of 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists were impressive if not spectacular. There's a compelling story behind the stats, however -- in a December game against Eastern Michigan, Turner landed awkwardly and hard, suffering fractures to his spine.

Fans feared that the junior swingman was out for the season, but he returned to action less than five weeks later, propelling OSU to the Big Ten Championship and a 29-8 overall record.

That's leadership.

His truckload of national awards -- each the equivalent of college football's Heisman Trophy -- is symbolic of the respect he earned. Within and beyond the borders of Buckeye Nation, no one deserves that respect more than Evan Turner.