Holt: Taylor snub mind-boggling

first_imgAdam is a senior majoring in journalism. Think Taylor got snubbed, or is the list of finalists correct? E-mail him at [email protected] or Tweet @AdamJSHolt If you’re an athlete at Wisconsin, it’s all right to be underrated, fly under the radar and to be under appreciated on a national scale. It comes with the Motion W you wear.But at a certain point, it’s nice to get recognition. And even if it doesn’t always come in the form of a SportsCenter shoutout, it manages to manifest itself in some other way – like inclusion in the list of finalists for some kind of award.Go ahead; think of almost any major award in sports and think about the finalists. More often than not, you see some guys who you’ve never heard of, yet a further look says they deserve the accolades they’re in the running for. Maybe someone shouldn’t be included (think John Clay as a Doak Walker finalist).And then you have Jordan Taylor.The Wisconsin junior point guard was inexplicably not one of the 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the best collegiate point guard.Some of the guys on the list – Kemba Walker of Connecticut, Jimmer Fredette of Brigham Young, Nolan Smith of Duke – are no-brainers. Others, like D.J. Gay of San Diego State, Brandon Knight of Kentucky or Demetri McCamey of Illinois are there because someone had no brains.Usually, if a player is snubbed, it’s because he’s playing for a team that is either playing in a crummy conference or struggling to win.Taylor is helping the No. 13/14 Badgers to a 18-5 record and share of second place in the Big Ten, which has re-established itself as one of the top conferences.I don’t have any explanation as to why Taylor is not on that list.The junior averages 17.7 points per game, 4.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He shoots 45.1 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range. He hits 86.1 percent of his free throws. He leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at a 3.89 mark and according to stats guru Ken Pomeroy, is tops in the country in offensive rating among players used in at least 24 percent of his team’s possessions.Compare those numbers to this guy: 19.5 PPG, 4.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 45.9 FG percentage, 37.3 3PT percentage, 79.2 FT percentage and a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Pretty even matchup – you might take Taylor based upon the lack of turnovers and slight edges from behind the arc and from the free throw line.That mystery player happens to be former Badger and current NBA pro Devin Harris, with the stats coming from Harris’ junior year. Harris is generally considered the top UW basketball export in recent memory.I haven’t seen much of Gay or Knight this season. But I have seen their stats.Gay averages 11.9 points, shoots 41 percent from the field, has a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio and is on the list because San Diego State is 24-1. Knight averages 17.5 points and an unsightly three turnovers per game and is on the list because he plays for Kentucky.Let’s make the biggest beef with McCamey though. He’s the only other Big Ten guy on the list, ergo, he and Taylor share the most common opponents.The Illini senior shoots 45 percent from the field and hits an excellent 48.5 percent  from behind the arc. He averages 6.7 assists per game as well. All great numbers.But he averages a pedestrian 14.7 points despite being used 25.4 percent of the time (Taylor is used 26.1 percent). He checks in at No. 42 in offensive rating.McCamey was expected to have a great season – and sometimes he has. But Illinois has fallen from the rankings and is in the midst of a 2-5 tailspin. McCamey has five, six and six points in three of his last four games.I decided to take a look at how Taylor and McCamey performed in games against teams ranked at the time, and against unranked conference foes.Taylor has played in five games against teams ranked at the time. He averaged 19.8 points, four rebounds and 4.4 assists, as well as 1.2 turnovers in those games.Meanwhile, McCamey averaged 16 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.9 assists and three turnovers in games against ranked foes.Both players performed admirably against quality opposition; Taylor never scored less than 15 points in those games, while McCamey’s only dud came in a five-point, four-turnover loss to OSU.You could then predict that against the bottom of the Big Ten, the two guards’ stats would look even better. You would be half-right.Taylor’s line against unranked Big Ten foes looks like this: 20.7 points, 5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.2 turnovers.McCamey somehow managed to regress against such competition. In those six games, he averaged 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.8 turnovers.This seems to say that A) McCamey isn’t a consistently dominant player, and B) Illinois isn’t a consistently good team.Based upon this examination, there should be no question which Big Ten point guard is having the better season – and should be on that list. Freddette or Walker will likely win the actual award – and probably rightly so. But the exclusion of Taylor is an insulting oversight, especially when you compare what the Minnesota-native has done in comparison – individually and for his team – to some of his peers who were named finalists.last_img read more