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April 2, 2010Ohio State basketball junior point guard Evan Turner always envisioned being in Indianapolis this weekend with his team to participate in the Final Four.
Though he wasn't there with his Buckeyes to compete, Turner was in Indianapolis Friday to win something - The Associated Press National Player of the Year Award.
After averaging 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in addition to leading the Buckeyes to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a run to the Sweet 16, Turner received 54 of the 65 votes from the national media panel.
Kentucky's John Wall, considered to be Turner's biggest competition, recieved the second most votes with nine and Da'Sean Butler of West Virginia and Luke Harangody of Notre Dame each received one vote.
Turner continues to cement his legacy with the Buckeyes whether he returns or not, especially given he is the first Buckeye to win this award since Gary Bradds earned it in 1964. Ohio State legend Jerry Lucas won the award in back-to-back years in 1961 and 1962 as well.
Despite the fact that Turner missed six games of the regular season after a failed dunk attempt turned into a nasty land that broke bones in his lower back, he returned for the Buckeyes and made an incredible 17-3 run to finish out the season. In his absence, the Buckeyes went just 3-3 during that span.
During that span, the Buckeyes finished the year as regular season Big Ten Champions before heading to Indianapolis to win the Big Ten Tournament crown.
Turner has yet to make a decision in terms of whether or not he will be returning to the Buckeyes for his senior season, but he did mention that he was not pleased with the way the Buckeyes' season ended.
Ohio State, though holding leads for the most part of the game, lost 76-73 in St. Louis to Tennessee, ending their season. Turner missed two 3-pointers on Ohio State's last possession before the Buckeyes eventually fell.
"I can't give a percentage right now," the 6-foot-7 point guard said shortly after the loss in regards to if he will return next season. "This (loss) is just sticking in my head. I really don't want to go out like this. I just don't know."
Turner, if he decides to forgo his final season at Ohio State and enter the NBA Draft, is projected to be a top-3 pick. He has already been named the Sporting News player of the year and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) player of the year.
Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.
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