The nominees for the annual Bob Cousy Award were recently released, and the biggest omission was clearly South Carolina’s outstanding point guard, Devan Downey.
The irony is that today I was going to write an article about why Devan Downey should win SEC Player of the Year. And now the nation tells us that he’s not even the 13th best point guard in Division I basketball.
Never mind that he is snubbed from a list of the 13 “best” point guards in the nation. Devan Downey is one of the 13 best overall players in the nation.
This is an absolute sham, and hopefully someone with more clout than yours truly takes notice.
Not only are Downey’s numbers (and his team’s overall record) better than nearly all of the other nominees, he is the undisputed heart and soul of his team—the one guy necessary for South Carolina to win. And win they have done. At 17-5 and atop the SEC East standings, the Gamecocks have been the surprise of the SEC—and it all starts with Downey.
As for the Bob Cousy Award, its description reads: “A committee comprised of media members” narrowed the field to 13 Division I athletes. Just who exactly are these media members, and do they watch college basketball?
Certainly a handful of names are worthy but others have some serious deficiencies. I have broken down the 13 finalists into four categories.
Sherron Collins, Kansas
Darren Collison, UCLA
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
Ty Lawson, UNC
No qualms with these guys. They are true floor generals, although Teague is more of a score-first point guard.
Deserving but with question marks
Stephen Curry, Davidson
Toney Douglas, FSU
Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
Eric Maynor, VCU
Patrick Mills, St. Mary's
Curry is one of the nation’s best players, but he gets so much time at the two and rarely defends the other team’s point guards. Does anyone really see this guy as a point guard?
Jonny Flynn is a good player on an inconsistent Cuse team, but he has been known to disappear for an entire half, and his stats simply don’t wow you in any way. He can fill it if he gets enough attempts, but his team’s most recent seven-game stretch has been brutal.
Douglas and Maynor post scoring numbers similar to Downey’s, but Douglas shoots a terrible percentage, rarely distributes the ball, and plays on an unranked team. Maynor fills the statbook, as he has done his entire career, but with the emergence of 5-9 Joey Rodriguez, he sees a ton of time at shooting guard—and like Curry, typically defends the opponent’s shooting guard.
Mills, meanwhile, is outdone by Downey in nearly every single statistical category. The only reason I have not dropped him below this second tier is because of his team’s success, even though the West Coast Conference is not considered an elite conference by any stretch.
Role players on great teams
Levance Fields, Pitt
AJ Price, UConn
Fields and Price are great team players, but their numbers simply don’t add up. Fields is Pitt’s fourth leading scorer at 11 ppg, and he does not even average one steal per game. While his assists average is the highest of all the nominees, he simply doesn't hurt you in other areas.
Price, meanwhile, starts but loses major minutes to freshman Kemba Walker. He, too, is the fourth leading scorer on a great team, but his assists are far too low (4.5 per game) for a player who only averages 12.2 ppg. What about Price stands out—other than his team’s ranking?
It seems both Fields and Price benefited greatly from the strength of the Big East rather than their individual play.
Dominic James, Marquette
Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga
James is a great athlete and defender, but he shoots an abysmal 27% from three and 45% from the free throw line. His 11.7 points and 5.1 assists simply don’t make up for the awful percentages just listed.
Pargo’s name on this list is nothing short of egregious. The fifth leading scorer on his team, Pargo averages 9.5 points and 5.4 assists while shooting 30% from the three-point line and 64% from the free throw line. In yesterday’s embarrassing loss to Memphis, Pargo recorded two points and four assists.
For whatever reason, Devan Downey continues to be overlooked by the rest of the college basketball nation. While leading his team to the aforementioned 17-5 record, Downey is currently averaging exactly 20 points, 4.4 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 2.9 steals while shooting 38% from three and 75% from the line. He is also getting rave reviews from opposing coaches.
Look for this latest snub to be used as motivation for Downey as the season winds down. With the bulk of their schedule out of the way, the Gamecocks are poised for a first-place East finish and NCAA tournament appearance—and Devan Downey will be leading the charge.