West Virginia senior forward Kevin Jones has apparently lost to Marquette's Jae Crowder in the running for the 2012 Big East player of the year award.
As of now, nothing concrete has been announced. However Adam Zangoria of SNY.tv reported via his twitter page that Crowder indeed overtook Jones in voting.
If this is indeed the case, and Crowder is named the Big East's best for 2012, then we will have witnessed arguably the most grievous error of the college basketball season.
It's not enough to look at the stat sheet and do an apples to apples comparison of Jones' and Crowder's numbers to get a sense of who the better player is. This would simply marginalize the overarching issue concerning who the better player is.
What truly matters, what should ultimately decide who takes home the honors, is which player is more important to his team.
If you're arguing that the better player is the one's whose actions have the greatest immediate impact on his team's ability to win or lose, then it's Jones by a landslide.
To say that West Virginia was young this year is like saying that the Peyton Manning has been discussed in the media of late.
Jones was one of two seniors on a 12 man roster this year. Aside from fellow senior Truck Bryant, only center Deniz Kilicili carried upperclassmen credentials.
It was this lack of experience that forced Jones to carry the team night after night, laboring mightily to pull the Mountaineers back from second half meltdowns that came to define the Mountaineers' season.
Shouldering that kind of load while clamoring to stay in the top-8 of college basketball's toughest conference should warrant universal praise.
At least Dick Vitale was feeling the love on his twitter page.
No one can argue that Crowder has had anything less than an exceptional season. I'm certainly not trying to cook up a diatribe belittling his every contribution to Marquette's success this season. The point isn't that Crowder wasn't good, it's that Jones was better and is arguably the sole reason that West Virginia appears to have cracked the tournament bubble.
It's been well publicized that this is West Virginia's swan song before heading West to the Big XII. Could this slight by the voters (the coaches) have its basis in some degree of scorn for West Virginia AD Oliver Luck flipping the proverbial bird to the Big East and its basketball-centric mentality?
Part of me wants to say yes while the other part of me wants to base it solely on the fact that Marquette had a better record than West Virginia in 2011-2012. Either way, both excuses fail to hold much, if any, weight.
Jae Crowder is great, as is Darius Odom-Johnson who leads Marquette in scoring and 3-point percentage and therein lies the most concerning fact of all: Crowder might not even be the best player on his own team.
With Jones, no such discrepancy exists. He's head and shoulders above the rest of his fellow Mountaineers and has been for the entirety of the season.
This won't affect Jones' and West Virginia's chances to make a run up the Big East tournament, it won't affect West Virginia's chances to compete in the NCAA tournament and it will have no bearing on Kevin Jones' journey to the NBA.
It still doesn't make it right, though and it certainly isn't any way to reward Kevin Jones for having the season that he did.
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