Evan Turner, Ohio State’s do-it-all junior guard, is Sporting News’ national player of the year.
The Big Ten’s top scorer and rebounder is the Buckeyes’ first winner since Jerry Lucas, who won back-to-back Sporting News player of the awards in 1961-62. He’s the first Big Ten player to be honored by SN since Illinois’ Dee Brown in 2005.
During a record-setting junior season, “Evan Almighty” joined Jim Jackson as the only Buckeyes with 1,000 career points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists. Turner also piled up and a record seven Big Ten player of the week awards despite missing more than four weeks with a fracture in his lower back.
“He breaks his back, and they don’t do so well.” Northwestern forward John Shurna told SN. “He comes back, and everyone else around him plays so well.”
That’s just one of the qualities Big Ten coaches and players admire about Turner.
Minnesota coach Tubby Smith compares him to Hall of Famer Magic Johnson- “a legit 6-7 guard that can do it all.”
Michigan State forward Draymond Green sees some LeBron James in Turner-“because he scores, rebounds and gets everyone involved while leading his team.”
Buckeyes teammate John Diebler says Turner’s game is reminiscent of Scottie Pippen’s-“He can play multiple positions on offense and can guard anyone.”
How to stop him, as Big Ten and NCAA tournament teams will try to do in the coming weeks?
“I don’t know how you do it, but make him pass,” Penn State guard Talor Battle told SN.
“Try to force him to shoot 3s,” Shurna said. “He made a couple against us, and I texted him and said, ‘Where did that come from?’ “
Sporting News will roll out its entire awards package throughout the week in Sporting News Today and on sportingnews.com.
The full two-page package appears in the new issue of Sporting News Magazine, available at all Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson Retail outlets. — The Sporting News