Home > Uncategorized > Making the case: Why Scottie got hosed for Big East Player of the Year

Making the case: Why Scottie got hosed for Big East Player of the Year

When Scottie Reynolds was named the only unanimous selection to all-Big East first team, it seemed like it would suggest that he was the favorite to be named Villanova’s third Big East Player of the Year in school history. Apparently not.

The news broke on Tuesday that it was Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson, and not Reynolds, who would be taking home this year’s award. There’s a strong case that can be made for Johnson, and there’s no doubt that both could wind up as first team All-Americans. However, there is a better case for Reynolds, and here it is:

1) Scottie paid his dues

For four years Reynolds has become one of the faces of the Big East. He burst onto the scene his freshman year with a 40-point game in a win at UConn. His legend grew when he led a 12th-seeded Villanova team to the Sweet 16 as a sophomore. In the Elite Eight during his junior year, he hit the shot that made him a national name.

When the season is over Reynolds should be Villanova’s all-time leading scorer and one of the most memorable players in the school’s and the conference’s history.

Wesley Johnson, quite simply, is not.

It’s no knock on him, but the facts are that Johnson is essentially a one-and-done for Syracuse. He is a transfer from Iowa State that will most likely be headed to the NBA next season. Syracuse and the Big East are just a stop on Johnson’s path, not a home like Villanova and the conference are for Reynolds.

To me the situation is a lot like the 2002-’03 Player of the Year race. That year Syracuse forward Carmelo Anthony took the nation by storm as he averaged 22.2 points per game and 10 rebounds per game en route to an NCAA title.

While Anthony won a lot that season, one thing he didn’t win was Big East Player of the Year. That went to Big East lifer Troy Bell, the senior guard from Boston College who averaged 25.2 points per game. He was a better scorer than Reynolds was, but they were very similar players. Bell got the nod not just because of his stats, but likely also because of his career.

2) Reynolds was better than Johnson in Big East play

Overall this season Reynolds has averaged 18.8 points per game while Johnson is at 15.7. The disparity becomes much greater in Big East games. Reynolds was third in the Big East in scoring during conference play, elevating his scoring average to 19.9 ppg. Johnson’s scoring dipped to 14.8 ppg, good for only 16th in the conference.

Johnson cracked the 20-point mark three times during Big East games. Reynolds did it in nine games.

In his final nine games, Johnson scored more than 16 points just once. Reynolds scored at least 16 in every game.

There’s obviously more to a game than scoring, and Johnson clearly contributes more as a rebounder, averaging 8.5 per game. As a scorer, though, Reynolds was dominant and Johnson was run-of-the-mill in conference play.

Also, it’s true that Johnson suffered form a hand injury down the stretch and that hampered his play. However, Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody missed five games this season with a bone bruise, but his numbers are equally, if not more impressive than Johnson’s, so why not give it to him. And if you think Reynolds is 100 percent healthy after an 18-game Big East schedule, you are mistaken.

3) Reynolds is more important to his team

When Villanova was on the ropes against Louisville, Reynolds scored 30 points in the second half. When the Wildcats needed some one to hit a shot to beat Marquette, Reynolds threw the ball between his legs and then hit a running jumper. When his team needed a lift in the second half, he gave them one each game.

Reynolds is the best player on Villanova, and he has to be every game. It’s not the same for Johnson.

Johnson has surely had some memorable performances (the 20-point, 19-rebound performance against Seton Hall sticks out), but when he contributed less at the end of the season, it was okay. Andy Rautins, Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku could carry the load too.

Outside of the occasional dominant performance from Corey Fisher, Reynolds always carries the load. There is no player that means more to his team in the Big East than Reynolds.

Reynolds does-it-all for Villanova. He is the face of the program, and in many ways this year’s face of the Big East. Even without winning Player of the Year, he will be remembered within the conference much more often than Johnson will be. In many ways, he represented what the Big East was all about.

-David Cassilo

  1. March 10, 2010 at 10:40 am

    While I agree that scottie got hosed, the first reason you give should have no bearing.

  2. March 10, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Great case. And after reading this – I vote for Scottie myself.

    But, strange to think, but I believe we may have been a better team, a more tournament ready team without Scottie this year. Maybe a few more loses, but probably still a 4 seed in the Big East. Crazy? Not so sure.

    I can not argue his stats, his clutch drive against Pitts and if he hit the one against WVA last week – well the perfect send off. (he missed) Also, when I watch him play, I watch his face – I don’t see a leader. We didn’t play well against quality teams this year, we didn’t have the same never out of a game tenacity as last year. I can’t provide a case with facts and figures – but let’s see how far we go this year, and let’s see what the Corey’s can do next year.

    Stay Adventurous,
    Villanova ’95

  3. M Devin
    March 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Scottie did get hosed, but the BE made another mistake — Harangody shouldn’t have been voted onto the 1st team. You can’t possibly be a legitimate all conference 1st team if your team plays better with you on the bench. Rautins should have been the sixth player on the 1st team. Harangody should have been placed on the second or maybe even the third team.

  4. March 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    You make some strong and good arguments above (except for your 1st point, which as Fact stated, is irrelevant. Keep in mind that the voters for this award are coaches, not sportswriters, and as such, are less impressed by statistics and more about actual play on the court. Also keep in mind that the award is not the Most Valuable Player award, but rather Player of the Year. Player of the Year implies the best player; not his value to the team. So the relative value of Reynolds to Villanova compared to Johnson as Syracuse is also not as relevant as you would want. If Johnson played on a team with less balance, he could’ve scored 20-23 points a game. The team probably would not have won as much. Instead he bought into the team concept, and as a result seven Orangemen scored 8.3 or more points a game (that’s an amazing stat of balance). I think the coaches recognize the team effort of Johnson deflating his statistics, and its hard to knock the results as Syracuse went 15-3 and won the conference by 2 games.

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