Earlier today, Adam Zagoria tweeted that his sources were telling him that Marquette's Jae Crowder will be named the Big East Player of the Year over the other main candidate, West Virginia's Kevin Jones.
His tweet set off a fury of reactions upset West Virginia fans, disappointed to see that the Mountaineers' best player was not going to win the award. Since there has been such outrage over the possibility that Crowder will most likely win the award, here's a look at their statistics side-by-side. After looking at them, you make the call.
|Player of the Year Candidates|
|Kevin Jones||Jae Crowder|
|FG%||51.5% (245/476)||51.1% (184/360)|
|3PT%||28.2% (33/117)||37.3% (56/150)|
|FT%||77.4% (96/124)||73.5% (97/132)|
|REB (OFF/DEF)||346 (134/212)||232 (52/180)|
It would seem, then, that the only real argument for Jae Crowder over Kevin Jones for Big East Player of the Year is that Marquette finished with a much better record than West Virginia, and that as is the case with most individual records anymore, they go to one of the best players on one of the best teams (Marquette finished the season 25-6 and 14-4 in the Big East while West Virginia finished 19-12 and 9-9 in conference play).
It's often unfair to punish an individual player for his team's performance, and bringing the team's record into play is a two-edged sword. Is Kevin Jones not deserving of the award because his team went 9-9 in conference and his team is on the NCAA Tournament bubble? Or, is West Virginia lucky to be where they are and would have had no hope of even being on the bubble were it not for the stellar play of Jones (he's only the third player in conference history to average a double-double for a season).
If it's not statistics, and it's not team performance, perhaps it's one other thing: petty revenge. West Virginia is leaving the Big East and its athletics director did refer to the school's exit of the conference this way:
"We were fortunate to get out. We got out when the ship was seriously going down. I mean, only the tip of the sail was showing."
Perhaps the league's coaches simply didn't want to give an award to a player from the school that never hesitated to damage the remaining schools whenever its athletics director spoke. Is that petty? Of course. Should a player be punished for the decisions and actions of administrators? No. But is it at all understandable? Sure. I don't like it, and I would've voted for Kevin Jones, but coaches not doing so shouldn't surprise anyone. The Big 12 just did the same thing to Frank Haith in its Coach of the Year voting.