Every year, the Basketball Hall of Fame presents the Cousy Award to the nation's top point guard. I'm not sure college hoops needs all that many position-specific awards -- like in-stadium gardening and mediocre bowl games, this is another thing college football has way too much of -- but the Cousy Award, with its stellar list of recent winners, is something most college point guards probably dream of winning. Is it something you'll remember in five years? Probably not. But it's cool enough in its own way.
The Cousy Award nomination process, on the other hand, happens to be a total mess.
Take even a passing glance at the the 2010-11 Cousy Award watch list and you begin to understand why. The watch list includes, by my count, 68 players, though it's really 67, as Cleveland State's Norris Cole is included a second time on the list under the convincing pseudonym Cole Norris. (To be fair, Google seems confused about Norris Cole's actual name, too.)
You would think a list comprising that many players would be too big to have any glaring omissions. You'd have thought wrong. As AnnArbor.com's Michael Rothstein noted last night, the list is missing Michigan guard Darius Morris, who is third in the nation in assist rate and tied for fifth in the nation in assists-per-game with 7.1. It's also missing Georgetown point guard Chris Wright -- it's missing all of Georgetown's guards, actually -- as well as Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine, Cal State Fullerton guard Perry Webster and a handful of other obvious to not-so-obvious candidates.
So, hey, maybe there are 67 players more deserving of the honor than the aforementioned? Not really. Northern Iowa guard Kwadzo Ahelegbe made the list despite his poor assist-to-turnover rate and Northern Iowa's disappointing start. Same goes for Baylor's A.J. Walton. TCU guard Hank Thorns is there despite some pretty meh numbers to date this season. Like the list of snubs, the list of questionable inclusions could go on for a while.
Part of me likes the inclusivity. If you're going to throw a party, invite everyone, right? Plus, there's nothing wrong with good players from lesser-known, award-averse schools getting some midseason publicity. If you see the list and spend a minute to research the play of, say, Alan Chaisson, well, good. Spread the love, and all that.
But if you're going to invite everyone -- and it almost feels like the Cousy Award committee took every nomination they received to date this season, compiled them, and said, "OK, looks good, let's get it out there" -- you better make sure everyone who deserves a nomination is there. Or, you know, don't release a list at all. If you only want to mention the players who have a chance of winning the award, narrow the list to, say, 10 candidates. Pick a strategy and go with it.
As it is, the list is useless: It's neither a good representation of the nation's top point guards nor a helpful device for identifying underrated and unknown performers. It's just, well, a mess.
There are far greater crimes to humanity, so I refuse to get too care too much about this. But, well, yeah: The Cousy Award did not have its finest moment yesterday. Here's hoping the rest of the season's list-narrowing proceeds in a more orderly fashion.