The final possession of the Ohio State/Tennessee Sweet Sixteen game on Friday night was significant for reasons beyond the outcome of the game and it leaves me asking several questions. One, keeping in mind that Evan Turner is Ohio State’s best player, should he have passed the ball to one of his teammates, namely David Lighty who was open at the top of the key, instead of taking either one of his horrible three point attempts to tie the game? Two, was he fouled by J.P. Prince on the final shot that was blocked as time expired? Three, was Turner a poor sport for brushing aside the hand of teammate Jon Diebler who tried to pick him up and for walking past Tennessee without congratulating them for winning? Before we answer those questions let’s examine the video of Evan Turner’s last shot against Tennessee via Matt Norlander at The Dagger:
To answer the first question, Turner took a very low percentage three pointer from the corner. He would have been better off shooting from the wing or passing to Lighty at the top of the key. It also goes without saying that his second shot had zero percentage because Prince was in his face. To answer the second question, Prince did appear to foul Turner so Evan should have been at the line with a chance to tie the game. Lastly, although I feel Turner’s pain for seeing his season come to an end — especially after he missed the team’s final three shots — he still should be more respectful of his teammates and opponents. I will also note that this probably happens frequently in athletics and that we really only see it if/when we’re looking for it, but Turner is a high-profile star so his actions are magnified, and I don’t disagree with the assertion that he was bitter. Turner should treat his teammates better and he he should be more gracious to his opponents. Now I understand why Mark Titus nicknamed Evan “The Villain” and where Titus’ reference to Turner as a headcase comes from.
Two final thoughts, one this is different from LeBron because LeBron’s worse mistake was avoiding the media after losing. I can understand being upset immediately after losing a game, but you have to face the same media that praises you following wins even after a loss. He even admitted that was a mistake. Lastly, that same chip on the shoulder Turner has during games that got him into trouble after the game is an excellent characteristic; who doesn’t want their player to have a killer instinct during battle? You just have to know when to turn it off.
Video: Evan Turner blocked at the buzzer; did he walk off the floor without shaking Tennessee’s hands? [The Dagger]
Naming the Villain [Club Trillion]
Evan Turner Wasn’t Always So Friendly [The Sporting Blog]