By Paul M. Banks
INDIANAPOLIS- Big Ten player of the year, and likely national player of the year Evan Turner has become quite the polarizing figure this weekend. The Ohio State swing-man made magical memories for OSU fans on his way to becoming Big Ten tournament MVP. But he also angered many partisans of the teams who were vanquished by the Ohio State Buckeyes; en route to their tournament championship.
If he’s on your side- you love him. Here’s what his coach Thad Matta had to say after the tournament championship game.
“You know, at what point I literally said, hey, take the game over, and that’s when he hit the three off the pull-up. But when you say that to a guy like Evan, he’s so cerebral basketball-wise, he can do it with the pass, you can do it with the defensive stop. But his play-making ability is really good. And just with his size, they had smaller guys on him, they tried Johnson on him there for a while, but it was — when you look at the body of work over the weekend,
I mean, this has to go down as probably — I know I’ve been in this league for six years. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Of course, if you’re playing against Turner, you probably don’t enjoy his body of work so much. I even heard two different nicknames for ET circulating around the BTT. People who love him call him “His Royal Smoothness,” his detractors refer to him as “The Velociraptor.” Evan was candid about his disgust with the Illini trash-talking on Saturday. “They were just running their mouths too much, and that was it.They were hitting shots and front runners, and they were running them off entirely too much. That’s all I’m saying,” Turner re-iterated.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term “front-runner” he means they only talk smack when they’re winning, and remaining quiet when the game is tight.
So what did certain Illinois players say?
Now I can’t verify this, but what I heard from three different reporters who were court-side for Illini-Ohio St, was Illini freshman D.J. Richardson supposedly said: “If I keep spanking you, they’re going to send my black ass to jail.” At Turner. And Turner’s friend/former high school teammate Demetri McCamey added: “You’re going to prison,” at Richardson. Again these are not verbatim QUOTES, just what was SUPPOSEDLY overheard.
Of course, Turner is anything but innocent in this exchange, as we saw him make the “grasping money” signal with his hands towards the Illinois bench in one of the overtime sessions.
Whether that signifies the money he’ll soon make in the NBA, that his shot is “so money,” I don’t know. But what I do know is minutes after Ohio State’s 72-53 route at Illinois on Feb. 14, Evan Tweeted “You all witnessed the ‘Valentine’s Day massacre,”’ on his Twitter account after finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. So you could say he started this up a month ago.
(Also, in a semi-related story, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson drew a technical foul for allegedly saying “he keeps grabbing on my sh#$t” to the referee; in reference to an opposing Minnesota player during the other game Saturday night.)
So here’s what some Illini fans have had to say about Turner on the highly-watched Youtube video I shot of him after the game. Feel free to add your own comments.
WOW! This guy amazes me. Trying to act like the Illini players were the only ones talking trash? Sorry Evan but you were also talking trash the entire game. You were also popping your jersey way? too much at the end of the game. How about Turner and Buford signaling to the Illini bench that they should get a timeout after the 20 run by Ohio St? Turner is a classless player and a whiner and it shined through on Saturday…yet this guy has the nerves to call out the Illini after the game. DOUCHE!
ET is such a whiner. After every call, whine! whine! whine! That’s probably why he gets so many calls. All he did in OT was shoot free throws. It was ridiculous. The? Illini couldn’t breath on him or they’d be called for a foul. Ugh, the Big Ten officials are the worst!
guess he’s not gonna mention any of his own trash talk or his whining for fouls? or his tweet after the win @ illinois