We live in a society fueled by consumption. And as college hoops fans, we continuously seek out the best that the sport has to offer. The best highlights, the best stats, the best teams, and of course, all the best rim-rattling dunks we can get our hands on. Before we can even fully digest what we're witnessing, we pack up our brains and move on to the next thing. Bigger and better. All the time.
That's why it's so darn easy to overlook consistent greatness for part-time excellence. Score 40 points? Make SportsCenter. Dish out 15 dimes? Make the local newspaper(s) as a feature story. Dunk on somebody's head? Make BIAH's Posterized list. And the list goes on and on, for better or worse.
So when the 2011 Bob Cousy Award finalists were announced back in February, it actually made a strange amount of sense that Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor was not included. Just for comparison's sake, here are the ten original finalists: Norris Cole-Cleveland State, Corey Fisher-Villanova, Jimmer Fredette-BYU, DJ Gay-San Diego State, Brandon Knight-Kentucky, Demetri McCamey-Illinois, Mickey McConnell-St. Mary’s, Nolan Smith-Duke, Isaiah Thomas-Washington, and Kemba Walker-Connecticut. A who's who of some of the biggest names in the sport, to be sure.
Taylor's response to the proverbial slap in the face came on the court. He followed up the snubbing with an unstoppable 30-point performance in a blowout of Michigan State. Sadly, that alone was apparently enough 'shock value' for the rest of the country to stand up and take notice. And, lo and behold, that's exactly what happened. Taylor's name miraculously appeared on the list as the 11th finalist. Hilarious. A pathetic attempt to praise a kid that simply wasn't good enough to be considered only a few days earlier.
By my count, Jordan Taylor isn't just in the discussion for the best point guard in the country. Nope. He IS the best floor general in the sport, hands down. Nobody exemplifies the position better. Nobody takes better care of the ball. Point guards aren't supposed to take 25 shots every night and pass only when double teams come their way. It's easy to go ahead and label players like Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker as point guards because of their size, but that distinction is very much based on where these guys fit as NBA players, and not necessarily how they play in the college game. To clarify this, Jimmer gets my vote as the best shooting guard in the country. Hopefully that doesn't come as a shock to anyone.
But if you are still on the fence about Taylor deserving such a high amount of praise, maybe this can sway you. How does he stack up against the other ten guys named for the Cousy Award, you say? Consider:
The second table is even more ridiculous when you consider that Taylor has only had two games all year where he even had three turnovers. Unreal. The No. 1 area for evaluating the point guard position, in my mind, is how well a player limits mistakes in order to get open looks for his teammates. If we base things solely on that point, then Taylor wins in a landslide. But when you throw in his 17.8 points per game, his shooting accuracy (84.7% FTs, 41.7% 3Ps), his staggering 4.37 assist-to-turnover ratio in Big Ten play, AND the fact that he's doing it on one of the best teams in the country; well then I think you get the picture.
Pure point guard? Yep, I'll take Jordan Taylor every single time.