All right, we’re about one-third of the way into conference play this season, so Fetch and I thought it would be a good idea to have a nice, healthy debate. We all know about John Wall by now, and how much ESPN loves him and how he’s going to be ZOMGthebestPGevar. And that’s exactly why I’m going to make an argument for the SEC Player of the Year… for South Carolina’s Devan Downey.
Now don’t get me wrong, John Wall is a special talent, and I’m sure he’ll succeed in the pros. However, I think Devan Downey could be having a better year in the SEC. It was an argument brought up during South Carolina’s upset of No. 1* Kentucky Tuesday night, and one I’ve discussed with a few friends, as well.
Obviously, there are a couple of things to take into consideration when comparing the two guards. One: Downey is a senior, and thus, arguably more mature and has more experience, etc. Two: both players play point guard, but John Wall has a considerable size advantage over Downey — Wall is 6’4″ and Downey is listed at a generous 5’9″.
Looking at the stats of these two players, you could easily make an argument for either, but let’s take a look at a few stats. For the year, Downey is averaging 22.35 points per game to Wall’s 17.1. Also take into consideration that Downey is averaging nearly 32 points per game in conference play to Wall’s 16.8.
Considering Wall’s roughly 7-inch height advantage, he’s barely even outrebounding the diminutive Downey: 3.68 to 3.35. As Downey is obviously more of a scoring point guard, it’s no surprise that Wall is averaging 3 more assists per game, and his assist to turnover ratio is almost double Downey’s, despite the two committing about the same amount of turnovers.
One area that Downey really eclipses Wall is in steals. Downey leads the nation in steals and his 3.1 average is second in the nation. This stat should come as no surprise, especially considering Kentucky doesn’t really play defense.
As far as shooting goes, Wall has a better shooting percentage (48.4) than Downey (41.9) which is largely due to Downey’s propensity for the three-pointer (he’s taken 72 more than Wall has)… so of course, let’s take a look at each player’s true shooting percentage, which as we know, takes into account a player’s FT shooting and 3-point shooting as well: Wall’s is 58.7% to Downey’s 52.8%.
Again, the two match up relatively well… but if I’m voting for the SEC Player of the Year, I’d probably go with Downey. I love his game, and the way he scores considering his size. I also think he means more to his team than Wall does. Wall has the luxury of playing with DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson and half a dozen other incredible athletes. Kentucky is still a good team without Wall, but without Downey, where would South Carolina be? Probably in the cellar of the (weak) SEC.
Again, there’s still a lot of conference play left, and anything can happen… but for now, Downey is my choice. That being said, let the debate begin.
Oh, and one more video, because this shot was equally sick: