INDIANAPOLIS - After not making the initial top 10 list, causing massive backlash from the Badgers fan base, media personalities and anyone with knowledge of college basketball, the Bob Cousy committee seemed to get one right.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Thursday that Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor is among the final five candidates in consideration for the 2011 Bob Cousy Award.
Making the cut along with Taylor are Cleveland State senior Norris Cole, BYU senior Jimmer Fredette, Duke senior Nolan Smith, Duke and Connecticut junior Kemba Walker.
The winner of the 2011 Bob Cousy Award, given to the top point guard in college basketball, will be announced on April 1 as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame class announcement at the Final Four in Houston.
“I’m humbled and honored to be on a list with these other great point guards,” Taylor said in a statement. “One of my high school coaches used to talk about Bob Cousy all the time and tell me how he was the greatest player ever. I’m sure he’d be proud that my name is in the same sentence as Bob Cousy. I know I am.”
Added UW coach Bo Ryan: “Jordan Taylor is exactly what the Cousy Award looks to recognize, a point guard who is a leader on and off court, makes his teammates better and has the ability to create on his own. “Jordan has proven all year long that he has those traits, and I’m proud that he is being honored as one of the nation’s top lead guards.”
A 2011 first-team All-Big Ten selection and a member of the conference's All-Defensive team, Taylor leads the nation with an impressive 4.26 assist-to-turnover ratio. Taylor ranked third in the Big Ten in scoring during conference play averaging 20.1 points per game. Taylor also ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 4.8 assists per game, the only player to rank in the conference’s top five for both scoring and assists.
Taylor was added to the list of 10 finalists after a spectacular performance in UW's 71-67 victory over then-unbeaten Ohio State. It was one of his 13 games where he has posted 20 or more points.
Ironically, Taylor's name was never posted on the online fan voting page, which accounts for part of the vote.
“These final five players have truly separated themselves from the rest of the pack in college basketball,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Our committee has worked hard to narrow the field down and we look forward to recognizing a winner that represents Bob Cousy’s passion and skill for the game.”
Each of the final five candidates will be reviewed by the Hall of Fame’s Blue Ribbon Selection Committee, chaired by former NABC President and Hall of Fame Trustee Ken Kaufman. The Blue Ribbon Selection Committee is made up of top college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers.