On Wednesday morning, I woke up to my alarm around 9 a.m., but as always, I couldn’t get out of bed right away. I abused the snooze button until almost 10 a.m. before I finally got up, brushed my teeth and sat down at my desk. I went on Twitter because I knew the Big East individual awards were going to be announced Wednesday morning, but I wasn’t sure exactly what time.
Well wouldn’t you know, the first Tweet I saw on my timeline was from the Big East men’s basketball account announcing the Big East Player of the Year: Sandro Mamukelashvili of Seton Hall and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Collin Gillespie of Villanova.
At first I was just confused. Like, did someone make a mistake and send out the All-Big East team again instead? I soon became annoyed when I realized that nope, they just gave a PLAYER of the year award to three different PLAYERS. Something isn’t right about that. I’m not saying all of them didn’t have a claim to the award. They definitely did. But so did Julian Champagnie of St. John’s, James Bouknight of UConn and Marcus Zegarowski of Creighton, who each made the All-Big East First Team alongside the three players of the year.
I’m sorry, but the player of the year is supposed to be the best of the best, and when you name half the All-Big East team as the “Player of the Year,” the title becomes meaningless. You might as well just name the all-conference team and leave it at that.
I believe Mamukelashvili should have won the award outright. He was a monster this season, but if they wanted to give it to anybody on the all-conference team, I wouldn’t have complained. The only requirement is, I believe, the player of the year needed to be one player, not three.
I understand there are kinks in the voting system that can lead to ties, and if two players tie who both had such incredible seasons that it’s impossible to pick one, then so be it. I’m not a fan because I think individual awards should go to one individual, but if it’s a clear tie then I guess there have to be co-winners. We saw this on Sunday with the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award, which was shared by UConn’s Isaiah Whaley and St. John’s Posh Alexander. Once again, I believe Whaley should have won it outright, but Alexander was also phenomenal, so having co-winners wasn’t a huge deal.
However, under no circumstances should there ever be a three-way tie, especially with Player of the Year, the most prestigious individual award. If there’s a three-way tie in voting, then hold a runoff election with only those three players to decide who wins Player of the Year. I’m sure the thought process is that they want to honor all three players since the race was so close, but what they don’t realize is by doing that, all three of those players lose. Winning Player of the Year is supposed to mean that you alone were the best player in your conference. When you have to share it with two other players, it completely diminishes the meaning of it for all three of them.
Mamukelashvili, Robinson-Earl and Gillespie are not each going to be thought of as the best player in the Big East. They’re each going to be thought of as one out of the three of the best players in the Big East. What fun is that? These players are all really good guys, so I’m sure when they’re interviewed about it, they’ll say all the right things. But I’d be very surprised if the three of them are actually happy with this result. They’re competitors at heart, and they all want to be the best. They probably don’t want to have to share that title with anyone else, and especially not with two other people.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think when the Big East Player of the Year is three different players, it doesn’t mean nearly as much. Three players winning almost makes it seem like nobody really wins. It’s now an award for being one of the three best players in the conference, but you already have that with the All-Big East team. Any Player of the Year or MVP award in any sport should be won by only one player. Possibly two, but only on a very rare occasion. But never, and I mean never, should three players have to share a player of the year award. The Big East messed up on this one.