OHIO STATE: Turner doesn't get picked as Big Ten Player of the Year

COLUMBUS It was announced Monday night that Michigan State's Kalin Lucas was named the Big Ten Men's
Mark Hazelwood
May 24, 2010

 

COLUMBUS

It was announced Monday night that Michigan State's Kalin Lucas was named the Big Ten Men's Basketball Player of the Year, ending weeks of speculation that despite being on a fourth place team in the conference, that Ohio State sophomore surprise Evan Turner would be the selection for the award.

However, Turner was selected to the All-Big Ten first team.

But as the Buckeyes (20-9, 10-8) find themselves at a season crossroads in regards to the Big Ten and NCAA tournament, Turner has bigger things in mind for his future at Ohio State, which is good news for Buckeye fans.

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"I'm just thinking about the next tournament we have to play and I think there is a lot of potential on this team," Turner said after carrying his team down the stretch of an eventual 52-47 win over Northwestern in the regular season finale Sunday that likely clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament for the Buckeyes.

"I want to come back next year to win a Big Ten championship, make it to the Final Four and win a national championship," Turner said. "I just want to be able to leave here a winner, not just as being labeled an 'almost' player. I think we have the potential to do that and right now I'm just focusing on that."

The key word there was come back next year, as Turner, who averages 16.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game, has been projected by some publications as a mid-first round pick in June's NBA Draft.

"I like college, I enjoy it and I like playing with my teammates," Turner said. "Playing college basketball is a great feeling and I'm enjoying myself and I'm not really thinking about next year."

But does that mean fans definitely won't see his name on the early underclassmen list come draft day?

"No, no it won't be there," Turner said while laughing at being pressed on the issue. "I haven't even thought about it and I'm coming back. I'm worried about my finals this week and need to work on a paper right now because if I don't get that done you'll be asking me next week if I'm playing or not."

Meanwhile, fellow sophomore guard Jon Diebler (Upper Sandusky) was more than willing to stump for Turner as the Player of the Year after the Northwestern victory.

"Evan has progressed as a leader on the floor being vocal," Diebler said.

"But he also does it in scoring, rebounding, getting guy's open and drawing attention on defense. The little things that he does on the court separate him from everyone else in the conference because he is our anchor right now. He makes plays for us when he needs it ... he's got my vote."

Turner is also one of the first to admit the Buckeyes have been a frustrating team to keep track of this season, but still believes there is something to be accomplished this season.

"I was thinking of this quote that Muhammad Ali said, which was 'champions are made by who has the last ounce of energy and who wants it more.'

"I just think we're capable of beating anyone on any given day, especially when we're all clicking. When we play like we are supposed to play and bring the right energy we are a hard team to beat. And that says a lot for us especially since we're missing a big part of our team, David Lighty. I just think we're really capable, I really do."