Wes Johnson Was a Superstar, but Andy Rautins Was Syracuse's MVP
Each year, the Syracuse Orange Blogging Community organizes a series of awards for the past basketball season. These awards include "Best Freshman," "Best player/coach featured video," "Most Valuable Player," and many more.
For a full list of the awards and when they will be handed out, visit Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician .
Yesterday, I handed out the award for Best Sophomore which went to forward Kris Joseph. Today, I reveal the team's MVP and as indicated by the title, the Syracuse Orange Bloggers chose Andy Rautins by a convincing margin over superstar Wes Johnson.
Back in February following the first Louisville loss, I wrote Johnson must be an absolute superstar for the Orange to win a National Title. While he became this team's best scorer and an excellent defender, he was unable to carry the team on his back like a true superstar.
Johnson couldn't do much off the dribble and didn't do a whole lot of creating for his teammates; thus, he was not the oil that made this team's engine go. Despite this, several Syracuse Orange Bloggers felt he was still the team's MVP.
Chuck Fiello Jr. of The Big Orange Bloggers made his case: "I agree with most that Andy could have easily won it and it was a tough choice to make but with that said, Wes is not being discussed as a top-five player in the draft for no reason. Andy was a leader when we needed it but Wes made plays as well that not only made your jaw drop but saved their butts."
The Orange Fizz , a site that's main focus is Syracuse football and basketball recruiting, took the route the MVP should be the team's best player: "Lots of love for Rautins here, but it's Wes. Best player on the floor wearing Orange every night for the entire season."
Finally, Josh from 'Cuse Country explains everything that Johnson represented as well as his talent made Johnson the MVP: "Rautins is the sentimental pick but I'm going with Wes Johnson. Forget for a moment about how he played for weeks with a hand that resembled an eggplant. He was the missing ingredient that launched this team to its success. Not just his basketball abilities but his utter lack of ego and his willingness to give himself up for the team. He never got a big head (even though he had a Big Head!) and the chemistry that this team exhibited flowed from him. That is why he was valuable, not just best."
Those three were the only three that saw Wes Johnson as this team's MVP. Not a bad choice considering he scored 16.5 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field, 40 from three and grabbed 8.5 rebounds.
It was Andy Rautins, however, who helped this offense succeed the most. Rautins rarely created his shot with the ball, but the way the senior ran off screens flawlessly, frequently leaving his defender behind was a thing of beauty.
His incredible full-court bounce passes and half-court needle threading passes created many easy baskets for his teammates which allowed the Orange to post an incredibly effective field goal percentage.
On the defensive end of the floor, Rautins provided the Orange with a big guard at the top of the zone. In years past, Rautins's effectiveness was often lost when he played on the baseline in the zone. This year, with Rautins up top, the Orange turned their opponent over more than in any year in recent memory, but also defended the three-point line better.
Other Syracuse Bloggers pointed out his leadership and being irreplaceable as reasons for his MVP.
Andrew from Three Idiots on Sports said, "He was outstanding in all aspects of the game and was the emotional leader of the team. He lead his teammates and willed them to better performances. Wes was the best player, Andy was the most valuable. Plus, if Andy had went down, there was no one to replace him. Kris Jo couldn't have at least partially replaced Wes."
Steven from CuseOrange said, "Did anyone see what happened at Gtown? Nuff said."
The organizer of these awards, Sean Keeley from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician says, "Wes might get all the hardware but Andy Rautins was the spark that kept this team moving. This was Andy's squad and he led it. We knew he would hit clutch shots this season but we had no idea how he would evolve defensively and all-around. He kept a level-head when the team needed him to and got feisty when they needed that as well. He was the leader."
Andy Rautins' leadership is best exemplified in the following story done by ESPNU Campus Connection reporter Eva Zaccaria :
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