Ohio State junior guard Evan Turner has often expressed a desire to be one of the best players to ever play basketball in a Buckeye uniform.
Turner may have cemented his place in that discussion Sunday when he was named the Naismith National Player of the Year award winner, something no OSU player has ever done. He was given the honor at the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Guardians of the Game awards show in Indianapolis, Ind.
“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 bested the three other finalists, Kentucky’s John Wall, Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson and Kansas’ Sherron Collins, to be named college basketball’s best player. Turner led the Buckeyes in points, rebounds and assists, despite breaking his back early in the season.
“Winning the Naismith Player of the Year is an amazing achievement,” Turner said. “I’m honored to be recognized for this award. Though this is an individual honor, I’m thrilled to represent my family, my teammates, coaches and The Ohio State University.”
The award was the fourth of the weekend for Turner, who received AP Player of the Year and the Oscar Robertson Award Saturday, as well as the Coaches’ Association Division I player of the year to go along with the Naismith Sunday.
For the season, Turner averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per contest.