(This piece was written January 13, 2010)
John Wall is one college hoops phenom whom I believe is thought to be more phenomenal than he really is. All the talk about this Kentucky freshman point guard is in my opinion overstated in the sense that he is the player of the year. Most people’s eyes get real big when they see a freshman put up numbers similar or if not better than Derrick Rose’s statistics in his single year at Memphis. Wall’s 7.1 assists per game is second in the nation and his 17.2 points per game is tied for 97th in the nation. These statistics look great right, especially coming from a freshman point guard? The statistics that appear to go unnoticed when speaking of contention for player of the year are the turnovers per game and assist to turnover to ratio. Wall has committed 60 turnovers this season, tied for 13th most in Division I basketball. Although his assists look like strong numbers, his assists to turnover ratio ranks a horrid 384th in the nation with 1.8 assists to turnover ratio. I feel this stat is overlooked because turnovers almost always turn into points for the other team, thus evening how many points you score because of how many you are allowing the other team to score.
Now for the people who believe it’s about having the player who is most valuable to their team. First, the diction of the NCAA is used specifically. They call the award the “Player of the Year” not the “Most Valuable Player”. This is where the award differs from most others in their respected sports. Secondly, if it was the most valuable player then there’s no doubt an argument that Wall is less valuable to his Kentucky Wildcats than some other players around the nation such as Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson. Johnson leads the Orange with 17.4 points and 8.9 rebounds. Wall leads his team in points by a mere .5. This is simply one comparison of a player who is by definition more valuable to his team than John Wall.
As much as this sounds like a complete anti John Wall article, I do respect his talents and believe he’ll have a future that may be better than any point guard in college basketball history. I simply believe at this state in his career it is too soon to call him player of the year because of his lack of sufficient statistics. One award I believe he will receive is freshman of the year because he leads all freshmen in assists and points.
Wall isn’t ready to assume the player of the year yet, but the nation is waiting and expecting his career to sky rocket as he matures.