We sure are in the middle of a boring time in UK athletics. Now that the excitement over the track and field national championships is over, we really don’t have much else interesting to discuss until football season comes back in full force in August. So I thought it might be a good time to bring back a themed week that I did a few years back that got a lot of conversation going and even got me a twitter lashing from one King Rex. More on him later in the week.
So for the next 5 days, we are going to spend each day breaking down candidates for jersey retirement at each position. Some guys are OBVIOUSLY going to get up there at some point, such as Anthony Davis. There is no point in putting guys like that into the post. Instead we will put guys up for debate who are fringe candidates for the honor or fans tend to bring up more often than others. Today we focus on the point guard position and two guys who are quite opposite: JOHN WALL and WAYNE TURNER. It is the epitome of the One and Done superstar and the 4-year steadying force. But in the case of Wall and Turner the team success plays a role too. So let’s take a brief look at each:
JOHN WALL (2009-10)
Points: 616 (126th all-time)
Assists: 241 (35th all-time)
-1st team All-American, SEC Player of the Year, SEC Tournament MOP (2010)
-#1 NBA Draft Pick (2010)
-19th best scoring season in UK history
-2nd best assists season in UK history
2009-10: 35-3 (Elite 8, SEC Champions, SEC Tournament Champions)
WAYNE TURNER (1995-99)
Points: 1,170 (42nd all-time)
Assists: 494 (4th all-time)
Steals: 238 (1st all-time)
-SEC Tournament MOP (1998)
-2nd best steals season in UK history
1995-96: 34-2 (National Champions, SEC Champions)
1996-97: 35-5 (National Runner-Up, SEC Tournament Champions)
1997-98: 35-4 (National Champions, SEC Champions, SEC Tournament Champions)
1998-99: 28-9 (Elite 8, SEC Tournament Champions)
I don’t think you are going to find many people who will argue that John Wall isn’t a better player in most or all areas than Wayne Turner. His superstar status in the NBA plus his All-American status in his 1 season at UK, something Turner never did, proves that. But there is also no question that Turner played a role in two national champion teams and another Final Four team. He is the ultimate winner. So I think the question comes down to what kind of player you think deserves to be up there and how much does team success matter.
I think both guys have an argument to be there but I would choose Wall to be more deserving. That honor is an INDIVIDUAL one above all else. And while I think Turner is deserving as an individual, you have to admit that part of his success and statistical build-up is due to the talent he had around him. Wall would have been a star in any setting but would Turner have been? Either way, John Wall might be the best point guard in this school’s history and while I would support both guys going up, if given a choice my answer would be Wall hands down going up first.