Column - Jones will use Player of the Year snub as motivation
Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 01:03
West Virginia senior forward Kevin Jones didn't win the Big East Player of the Year award.
So what happens now?
What happens when the Big East's most statistically impressive and unwaveringly consistent player doesn't win the award he seems to justly deserve?
Well, we don't have to guess if we don't want. It happened during football season.
Remember when redshirt junior quarterback Geno Smith was (arguably) the obvious choice for the award and Cincinnati senior running back Isaiah Pead won it?
Smith threw 1,000 yards more than the nearest quarterback. Pead wasn't even the leading rusher in the Big East.
Kind of sounds like Jae Crowder— who isn't even Marquette's leading scorer.
Is any of this making sense?
West Virginia has never had a Big East Player of the Year in basketball. The closest it has come in recent memory is when Da'Sean Butler was selected first team all-Big East in 2010, but he didn't win the award.
Jones leads the conference in both scoring and rebounding – only the third player in Big East history to achieve that feat.
He's put together one of the most impressive seasons in program— and conference – history. Yet, in terms of winning the coveted Player of the Year award, it didn't matter.
Some say Crowder deserved the award because Marquette is a better team and has won more games.
Well, that's fine, but if you ascribe to that particular argument, then why was St. John's freshman forward Moe Harkless named Rookie of the Year?
Connecticut freshman center Andre Drummond has helped the Huskies compile a considerably better record than St. John's.
Yet, I digress. I'm not here to argue for or against the verdict that has been handed down. That's been done enough, and nothing can change it now.
What I'm trying to predict is what will happen next.
In football season, Smith was bothered that he didn't win the award – and rightfully so. The Miramar, Fla., native would ultimately set the conference record for the most passing yards in a single season in Big East history.
However, he was able to harness the emotion he felt from not winning the award and use it in a positive way.
Many things, including a determined quarterback on a mission, fueled West Virginia's record-setting win in the Orange Bowl.
Can the same thing happen in the Big East Conference tournament and the NCAA tournament for the West Virginia basketball team?
Jones is surely disappointed he didn't win the award. How will he respond to Crowder's crowning achievement?
Today, West Virginia will find itself playing in its biggest game of the season.
Connecticut, the defending conference tournament and national champion, awaits. A New York native, playing in his final season, Jones will be looking to shine on the biggest stage the conference has to offer.
Throw in that this will be the Mountaineers' final Big East Conference tournament and that nobody expects them to do well, there is enough motivation and firepower to fuel the entire team to do something great.
There's no telling how someone will respond to adversity, especially something like this. Jones was anointed as the front-runner for the award since the first month of the season and he ultimately did not win.
What I do know is there is no player in the country who will be more focused, more determined and more prepared than Jones will be today.
Now, fans will have the opportunity to see him play with fervor and intensity like never before.
I can't wait to see how he responds – if he puts on an incredible performance, don't be surprised.
You can thank those who voted Crowder as Player of the Year for that.