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April 4, 2010Ohio State junior point guard Evan Turner has already been named the Associated Press Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, and U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Player of the Year this season.
Now he can add perhaps the most prestigious award to the list.
Turner was named the recipient of the Naismith Award, given annually to the best player in college basketball. He is the first Buckeye ever to win the award in its 49 year history.
"As the first Buckeye to win the award, to have my name listed with some of the greats of the game like Kareem (Lew Alcindor), Bill Walton, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan is incredible," Turner said. "I appreciate those who voted for me and am just really excited to be associated with this award."
Turner beat out Sherron Collins of Kansas, Wesley Johnson of Syracuse and John Wall, who were also finalists for the award.
After averaging 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists this season, Turner led Buckeyes to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a run to the Sweet 16 before eventually losing to Tennessee in St. Louis.
Despite the fact that Turner missed six games of the regular season after a failed dunk attempt turned into a nasty land that broke bones in his lower back, he returned for the Buckeyes and made an incredible 17-3 run to finish out the season. In his absence, the Buckeyes went just 3-3 during that span.
During that span, the Buckeyes finished the year as regular season Big Ten Champions before heading to Indianapolis to win the Big Ten Tournament crown.
Turner has yet to make a decision in terms of whether or not he will be returning to the Buckeyes for his senior season, but he did mention that he was not pleased with the way the Buckeyes' season ended.
Ohio State, though holding leads for the most part of the game, lost 76-73 in St. Louis to Tennessee, ending their season. Turner missed two 3-pointers on Ohio State's last possession before the Buckeyes eventually fell.
"I can't give a percentage right now," the 6-foot-7 point guard said shortly after the loss in regards to if he will return next season. "This (loss) is just sticking in my head. I really don't want to go out like this. I just don't know."
Turner is expected to announce his decision within the next week. He is expected to be a top-3 pick in the NBA Draft if he decides to forgo his senior season with the Buckeyes and pursue a professional career.
Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.