Every once in awhile, there is a tweet or a search that we simply cannot ignore. Today is one of those days.
At least one person was directed to OVC Ball when searching the following: “Will Zay Jackson be the OVC player of the year 2013-14.”
No, it’s not happening. Here’s three reasons why:
1) HE HASN’T PLAYED COMPETITIVE BASKETBALL IN A FULL SEASON — I’m not going to get back into the debate over Jackson’s actions, and the punishment surrounding them, but the entire event did keep Jackson out of games for an entire season. When he takes the floor in November, it will be his first actual game time since March of 2012.
He did practice with the team, even attended games with the team this past season. But there’s no substitute for actual game action over 18 months.
2) THERE’S A STRONG CHANCE MURRAY STATE ISN’T THAT GOOD – It’s pretty much a fact: to win the OVC player of the year award, you have to be on a good team. In fact, it helps when you’re on the best team in the league.
This is something very few (read: no) Racers fans will be willing to admit, and will likely openly argue, but Murray State isn’t poised to be that great this season. There is a lot of talent leaving the program that was just 21-10 last year, and their depth is highly questionable. There’s only one senior, and few juniors with notable experience. The word “rebuilding” will likely be thrown around by us media types (because coaches would never admit such a thing openly) to describe the forthcoming season.
3) THERE ARE SOME GREAT NOMINEES ALREADY… – including UT Martin’s Myles Taylor, Eastern Kentucky’s Glenn Cosey, and Southeast Missouri’s Nino Johnson, to name the first few that popped into my head. All three are likely to have great seasons, and I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if all three finished ahead of the Racers in the standings.
BONUS) PEOPLE HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN THE WHOLE ‘CAR’ THING – Let’s be honest, if it’s close at the end of the year, (and it almost always is) you have to convince 11 other coaches and athletic directors to vote for him over the other guy, who will presumably have never been publicly involved in a major, negative incident. That’s not going to be especially easy.
So, is there no chance he’ll win the award? Well, I guess there’s a chance. Three reasons why I might be wrong.
1) HE SHOULD HAVE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD THE RACERS — Isaiah Canaanwon a share of the award last year after putting the team on his back, and Jackson could do the same with this year’s team. Cannan and Jackson aren’t the same style of player (although I’m sure that comparison will be made a ridiculous number of times this season) but running the point, the team’s success could be heavily dependent on his growth, especially until T.J. Sapp is eligible in December.
2) HISTORICALLY, BETTING AGAINST MURRAY STATE ISN’T SMART – While I’m somewhat bearish on the Racers chances this year, you can’t discount their impressive streak of winning seasons and top-4 OVC finishes. They seem to always find a way, and while I’m not certain what that way will be, you can’t just discard history.
3) INJURIES HAPPEN – Hey, you never know.