Fact Not Fiction: Downey Is SEC POY
Jodie Meeks, the sharp shooting guard from Kentucky, is an exciting player to watch. Nick Calathes, the solid backcourt leader for the Florida Gators, is a fan and coach's favorite. These high profile guards are tagged by most to be the leading candidates for the SEC Player of the year. If that happens an injustice would have been dealt to Devan Downey and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
The league player of the year should be awarded to the player that has presented the most consistent and productive performances throughout the season. To make the case of productivity, first Downey is 3-1 against Kentucky and Florida, both formerly ranked teams during the 2008-2009 season. Going into the weekend Downey has the Gamecocks as the leading scoring team in the conference and the second best record in the conference behind LSU. Downey leads the conference in steals at 3 spg, just as USC leads the conference in this category as well. As an aggressive point guard, Downey has been able to lead the team to the top of the Turnover Margin stat also.
The USC 5'9" guard is third in scoring (20.1 ppg), Meeks at 6'4" is first at 25 ppg, while Calathes 6'5" is sixth at 18.2. Downey is third in assists (4.5 apg), with Calathes leading the conference at 6.4 apg. Meeks is not sighted in the top 15 SEC players. In the steals category, Calathes is second with 2 rips per game, while Meeks is 14th (1.37).
With all three players in the top five in minutes played, any observer should also recognize that Downey controls the pace of most games and is the single most target by opposing teams to attempt to contain. His speed and elusive maneuvers have generated opposing player foul trouble, open shots for teammates, easy baskets and not to mention spectacular finishes on his part amongst towering players.
This was the year South Carolina was to reveal slight improvement, finish in the middle of the East and position itself for a run in the NIT. Through the productive and consistent play of Downey, he has literally displayed great leadership and poise and efficiency on both sides of the floor, while leading his team past both Kentucky and Florida, led by Meeks and Calathes.
To add intangibles, Downey has taken a new coaching philosophy for the third time in his college career and has once again maintained his maturation as one of the country's most exciting and prolific backcourt players.
In head to head competition, Downey has held his own, recording 20 pts, 4 assists & 3 steals against Florida in Columbia, and 33 pts, 3 assists in Florida. Against Kentucky he recorded 21 pts. 5 assists & 5 steals in Columbia, and 23 pts, 5 assists and 4 steals in Lexington. Of course you have to consider the game winning shot in Lexington by the little fella from Chester, SC over Jodie Meeks that made one of his many highlights nationally. In that particular game, he scored 19 points in the second half on hostile soil. He outscored both players in 3 of the 4 contests, matching Calathes with 20 during the USC win in Columbia.
Meeks and Calathes have had a great year. However, Devan has had the best year all around when one considers individual stats that resulted in team success. Devan Downey is the 2008-2009 Player of the Year, one way or the other and THAT's A FACT!
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