There’s a fundamental problem when discussing who the best point guard in college basketball is this year. The problem is many of the names in the conversation aren’t actually point guards.Whether it’s a player covering for an injury to a team’s regular starting point guard, or they are filling in for a position in which the team lacks any real talent in the first place, many of the point guards who are considered the best in the college game don’t really belong in the category.That said, there’s still no excuse for why it took Saturday afternoon’s game against Ohio State to enter Jordan Taylor’s name into the conversation, when all season he has done nothing less than put Wisconsin on his shoulders and climb.The junior from Bloomington, Minn. may not have the sensational statistics like other highly-touted “point guards” around the country (although 18.1 ppg and 4.8 apg isn’t half bad), but his value isn’t only qualified by numbers.His worth is measured by games like the conference opener against Minnesota when he had an answer for everything the Golden Gophers threw at Wisconsin.It’s measured by games like last week against Iowa, when at the end of regulation the Badgers were desperate for a score and Taylor hit a monster jumper to send the game into overtime. It’s measured by a game like Saturday afternoon against the top-ranked team in the land, when, no matter how great the deficit, Taylor was able to take the game over, scoring 21 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and march Wisconsin to the improbable comeback.However, regardless of how well Taylor has played and what he’s meant to his team, the national media has failed to appropriately recognize him.Recently the Blue Ribbon Selection Committee chose the 10 Bob Cousy Award finalists, who supposedly represent the top 10 points guards in the country. Inexplicably, Taylor was left off that list until after Saturday’s game against the Buckeyes.Taylor’s chances of winning the award are diminished because several of the players on the ballot are only marginally point guards.Nolan Smith only plays the point because freshman Kyrie Irving, who was supposed to shoulder the majority of the point guard duties for the Dukies, suffered an injury earlier in the season. Jimmer Fredette, another player of the year candidate, is more of a race car driver than a point guard. He leads his team in assists only because he regularly draws double teams leaving a lot of his teammates open.In similar fashion, Kemba Walker takes on the lion’s share of his team’s scoring responsibilities, as well. Granted he doesn’t have much talent around him and, between him, Fredette and Smith, is probably the truest point guard of the three. But even Walker is a shoot first, pass second player.Naturally, there are a few players on the list who actually appear to be point guards. But many of them (those not previously mentioned) pale in comparison to Taylor and the season he has put together for the Badgers.One of the most telling stats for a point guard is his assist-to-turnover ratio. The ratio demonstrates the efficiency and, more importantly (especially for a point guard), reliability of a player.Anyone who watches any level of basketball knows that one of, if not the most, important aspects of the game is the ability to take care of the basketball. Period.Obviously, the player who handles the ball most is the point guard.A point guard must distribute the ball, when his teammates are in the best possible position to score, while making sure he doesn’t force anything and create unnecessary turnovers.That’s his job, creating scoring chances (assists) and quelling mistakes (turnovers). Therefore, it would seem that the assist-to-turnover ratio is rather important. No?The best assist-to-turnover ratio among the 10 point guards (besides Taylor) up for the Bob Cousy Award is about 3-1 held by San Diego State’s DJ Gay and St. Mary’s Mickey McConnell.Taylor has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4-1. And he barely made it onto the list.OK,so maybe the committee that decides which players to nominate for this award undervalues this statistic. Maybe in this new age of basketball, the point guard, as we have seen in theNBAwith players like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams, now must establish themselves as scorers.That’s fine, but among the 11 finalists, Taylor sits fifth in points per game (and that’s behind three national player of the year candidates mind you).The fact that Taylor was only added (and added rather quietly to boot) after two great games shows that someone wasn’t paying attention. And if you think I’m just being a homer – truth be told, I’m actually a Marquette basketball fan.
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