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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Fiammetta: With Taylor, lack of UW respect needs to end

Bucky fans, load up.

Recapture that Super Bowl rowdiness, break out your Sharpies and poster board and hit the streets. Get outraged, because this is, well, outrageous.

Jordan Taylor is not one of the 10 finalists for the 2011 Bob Cousy Award, given annually to college basketball’s top point guard.


Nope, the Wisconsin point guard averaging 17.8 points per game, 4.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game is not one of the nation’s 10 best point guards. That’s fine, those numbers aren’t that great…right?

Wrong. Taylor’s scoring total is sixth in the conference and his assists are seventh. Yeah, but those numbers aren’t that impressive…right?

Wrong again. Illinois’ Demetri McCamey, by comparison, averages 14.7 points (11th in the Big Ten) and 6.7 assists per game (second). Yet his assist-turnover ratio of plus-2.88 is fourth in the conference. Taylor’s, meanwhile, is plus-3.88. That’s first – in the country.

But guess what? McCamey is a Cousy Award finalist.

This isn’t to doubt or criticize the accomplishments of the 10 players who are Cousy finalists. Rather, it’s about questioning how the leader of the nation’s most efficient team (plus-1.78 assist-turnover ratio) – also the No. 13 team in the AP Top 25 – isn’t one.

Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, it’s about why Wisconsin fans should be pissed and peeved, irritated and indignant. Thesaurus!

Taylor and the men’s basketball team are too focused – rightfully so – on winning games to care too much. Yeah, they recognize he should’ve been on the list. Yeah, they’ll stick up for him.

They’ve just got too much at stake to raise a stink about outside accolades. Heck, Bo Ryan doesn’t even hand out individual awards at postseason functions. So when people like UW assistant coach Lamont Paris chime in on the issue, expect some honesty, but don’t expect any complaining.

“I think that the name ‘Jordan Taylor’ may not be, for lack of better terminology, as sexy of a name to the sports writers and some of the people that vote,” Paris said. “It’s in the mold of Wisconsin, typical Wisconsin. Every year, they pick Wisconsin to be middle of the pack. Fair. Over the years, we’ve consistently outperformed what they thought – which to us, means nothing. To Jordan Taylor, you think he cares about the Cousy Award? I don’t think so.”

Don’t be mistaken – Paris meant zero disrespect to the Cousy Award nor the committee that selects candidates. It’s just that the biggest thing that has been standing in the way of Wisconsin athletics – for decades, it seems – has been the lack of national respect.

This is by no means a surprise. But with UW garnering so much buzz, with everything from a Rose Bowl berth and near-victory to reports about it being the nation’s most talked about university, there was a sort of collective belief among Badger faithfuls that perhaps Wisconsin athletics were turning the corner.

After all, there’s no doubt the success of one team feeds that of the rest. Of course, that statement is most true with the football team, as Bret Bielema’s squad was one of the most talked about teams in the nation this past season. But that’s a topic for an entirely different column…or two, or three.

Either way, the situation is that Taylor is yet another victim of Wisconsin not garnering the national attention it (and he) deserves.

“I think it’s in the same fashion that he’s an unsung hero, he probably gets overlooked a little bit,” Paris continued. “I’m glad he’s on our side. I’ll take him as much as I’ll take anybody else, any one of those guys. Probably ahead of most of those guys.”

Unsung, overlooked – both familiar adjectives to followers of Wisconsin sports. That’s fine to them, just as it’s fine to the players and coaches themselves. Enough’s been written about UW not caring about its lack of respect to rewrite Rodney Dangerfield’s entire filmography.

Wisconsin embraces its underdog role, reveling in the ability to lurk in the shadows and then pounce when nobody’s looking. But in Taylor, the Badgers have a player that very well could be the best to come through the program in a long, long time. With the Wisconsin Badgers so close to becoming a nationwide household name, the Badger faithfuls need to get behind Taylor. They need to get behind him, make him the next school hero (? la J.J. Watt) and draw that national recognition.

Normally, unsung, overlooked and underrated would be fine, even for Wisconsin’s best players. But that can’t be the case with Taylor, not with the program this close to turning the corner.

This isn’t a plea for fans to show up to games on time and actually pack the Kohl Center – though there’s plenty of talk throughout the program of how that would be nice. It’s a call to arms for Bucky to stand up, get vocal and tell the nation that not only is Jordan Taylor a top 10 point guard, but Wisconsin athletics are ready for primetime.

Mike is a junior majoring in journalism and communication arts. Do you agree Taylor is a top 10 point guard? Are you eager to see UW turn the corner? Let him know at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @mikefiammetta.

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