A Duke Fan’s Rebuttal to Greivis-for-POY

Here to rebut Andy’s argument that Greivis Vasquez is this season’s ACC Player of the Year is Duke senior and former Deadspin intern Ben Cohen.

Typically, when Duke goes up to play Maryland, the subsequent jeers are vulgar. Sometimes, they’re laced with profanity. In J.J. Redick’s case, they’re not-so-veiled allusions to sisters in high school. Mercifully, Operation Scheyerface, the taunt of choice the last two years, is neither offensive nor crude. It’s creative, clever and admirable. It’s good heckling. Tomorrow night, it’s going to need to be effective heckling, too. It would be a special sort of irony for Duke to celebrate an ACC championship amidst cardboard Scheyerfaces — and for Jon Scheyer to beat out Greivis Vasquez for the inside track to Player of the Year honors in the process.

That’s not meant to belittle Vasquez, who has, indeed, had a wonderful season on a team with considerably less talent than Scheyer’s. He very well might be the best player in the league, and, on a slightly related note, he may just be named ACC Player of the Year. This is all well and good, and no one’s going to quibble with it. But in the spirit of civilized discourse — it’s not like Duke-Maryland is an actual rivalry or anything — the fact that Vasquez is clearly one of the two best players in the conference doesn’t mean we should devalue Scheyer’s merit, either.

So, when we look at the statistics without dismissing either candidate beforehand, the result is not all that stunning. Essentially, they’re the same.

No, they’re not! you’re thinking in abject horror.

OK, fine. You are correct. They’re not.

But the fine voting members of the ACC’s media corps are not going to give Vasquez the honor because his league statistics are marginally superior, nor will they anoint Scheyer because his offensive rating is tops in the league. This award — utterly meaningless as it may be — won’t be decided by scoring average, because it’s not an objective crown, and it isn’t meant to be. There are all sorts of biases and interpretations that come into play, all of which are subjective and none of which are much more relevant than any other.

That brings us to Wednesday’s supposed showdown in College Park, which will probably give one player the edge over the other; to ignore it altogether seems foolish. After all, Duke’s last two games — at Maryland and home against that team with a 4-10 ACC record — are more worthwhile than any other games it’s played. Maybe Scheyer will score 30 in both and bring an ACC banner to Cameron’s rafters. He probably won’t. Maybe, in Vasquez’s final two games, he will score 30 and celebrate an ACC title in Charlottesville. He also probably won’t. Either way, neither player’s candidacy is already complete. Because of the immediacy of our attention spans, both players’ qualifications hinge rather dramatically on what they and their teams do tomorrow night.

Back in December, if you recall, prominent sportswriters were ready to name Scheyer the National Player of the Year after Duke throttled Gonzaga in Madison Square Garden. Diehards at the Duke Basketball Report had a serious, if short-lived, discussion about retiring his jersey. There was a rumor — that I might be making up, but still! — that the local temple was flirting with offering him free admission to the next year’s high holidays. He was good enough to squash stereotypes. No one remembers that now, of course, just as no one with a Player of the Year vote will remember Vasquez’s 41 in Blacksburg or his two points in the first half at Duke if Scheyer outshines him tomorrow and then, on Saturday, ends his Cameron Indoor Stadium career with a rousing ovation and his first home win over that NIT-bound squad down the road.

The only reason I recall anything about last year’s matchup in College Park, after all, is because there is currently a 4-foot-high, black-and-white Scheyerface in the back hall of the student newspaper office that I frequent. Our reporters stole it from the Comcast Center floor, where it was tossed and sitting, lonesomely, after Duke’s 78-67 victory. Scheyer’s three in the last two minutes iced that win, and that big ol’ replica of his face won’t let me forget it.

(Also: Scheyer will be ACC Player of the Year because he’s a white guard, and because it’s a lifetime achievement award and because no one likes Vasquez. And, oh yeah, because Scheyer plays for Duke. See you tomorrow, suckers!)

19 thoughts on “A Duke Fan’s Rebuttal to Greivis-for-POY”

  1. Duke fans’ answer to Scheyer face? Apparently subtle, yet super-devious orange wristbands. They are smarter.

  2. Not surprising that a Duke journalism major would reply with a thousand words that when you boil it down, actually says nothing.

    BTW, the whole MD students use vulgarity thing is old and tired. I know that the Crazies don’t lower themselves to that level but I’ll let you in on a little secret, when you graduate and get into the world, you’ll find that everyone uses vulgarity, you pompous, elitist asshole.

  3. Here’s my rubut to Duke senior and former Deadspin intern Ben Choen’s thoughtful and well researched rubuttal.

    Fuck Duke.

  4. Sorry I confused journalism with “majoring in English and pursuing a certificate in policy journalism and media studies”

    Seems like a lot of bullshit to say journalism major. Although that does help explain your rebuttal.

  5. Benny’s right. Come on guys. When JJ Redick wrote poetry, did we call him a poet? So when a Duke fan writes an opinion piece, we shouldn’t promote him to journalist (although it strikes me as odd that this one would react the way he did). We should instead base our view of him on the piece’s merit… which is a steaming pile of Franz Kaka.

  6. Jamie – Andy wrote a very factual piece about the POY race and didn’t demean Duke at all. Mr Cohen responded with satire. He opened himself up to it. F him.

  7. If that’s said earnestly, then I apologize to you Mr. Mottram. I wouldn’t want you to appear to be an ungracious host. But then again, Dukies do bring out the best behavior in us Maryland fans.

    I’m going to go practice car-tipping now in anticipation of a victory– or a loss.

  8. Wow. A disjointed and flawed opinion piece that uses neither stats or proper rhetoric. If God had cursed me with being a Duke fan I would be appalled that one of my own wrote this. This literally seems the product of a rushed group project. It’s like all the group members e-mailed their separate parts and didn’t really bother to make sure the paper as a whole was cohesive. Is this an attempt at satire? Is this a sports piece? Is this the drunk musings of a Duke loving hobo? I personally have no idea. But I do know one thing, when Duke gets knocked out in the second round by a 10 seed you didn’t even know existed, I’ll be here laughing.
    (Also: It’s not a lifetime achievement award and Vasquez thrives despite facing the most hostile environments. Their numbers aren’t comparable Greivis has a distinct advantage in rebounds, assists, and points)
    Win or lose, at least I’m not a bandwagon hopping delusional Duke fan. Hey Duke- go fuck yourself

  9. “Can Wilbon come on tomorrow to lecture Greivis and tell us about how great John Scheyer is?”

    I dunno, did he just last month write about Greivis’ superiority? If not, it just wouldn’t be the same Wilbon nonsense we have become accustomed to reading.

  10. Take two:

    “Can Wilbon come on tomorrow to lecture Greivis and tell us about how great John Scheyer is?”

    I dunno, Scheyer is White after all. But then again Vasquez is Venezuelan. So… race race race race race. Look, if not Wilbon, someone has to insert race into every public opinion.

  11. This kid is a senior at Duke, he hasnt had a special team there, what he got to see a bunch of sweet 16s big deal, this kid was a baby when duke won something……

  12. Thanks Johnny Holliday. Although I won’t be listening to the radio tomorrow, could you be little quicker with the call when Greivis takes and hits a half-court buzzer-beater? You were a little off your game on that one. I went into cardiac arrest twice that game.

    PS Saw you perform at a dinner theater when I was a kid-you killed.

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