Chuck Landon: Elmore never winning POY is a sham
Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
This is the Jon Elmore edition.
What has Elmore accomplished in his illustrious career for Marshall’s Thundering Herd? Here’s a shorter version of that question. What hasn’t he done?
The second is more appropriate.
Since Marshall’s 6-foot-3 senior guard is a self-avowed “team guy,” let’s start with those accomplishments rather than his individual exploits.
In roughly three and a half seasons, Elmore has led Marshall to a 79-50 record. In 2015-16, the Herd started the season 2-6 without him and, then, compiled a 15-10 record after Elmore became eligible.
In 2016-17, he led Marshall to a 20-15 record and the finals of the Conference USA Tournament, where the Herd lost to Middle Tennessee.
Next, in 2017-18, Elmore paced Marshall to a 25-11 record, including a 67-66 victory over Western Kentucky in the C-USA Tournament championship game. Then, Elmore led the Herd to its first NCAA Tournament victory in school history with an 81-75 win over Wichita State. He scored 27 points and dealt four assists.
Finally, in 2018-19, Elmore led the Herd to a 19-14 record and a berth in the CIT. Marshall will play IUPUI at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Cam Henderson Center.
Going into Elmore’s 130th game in a Marshall uniform (he has started every game), the Herd’s record is 79-50. MU also will be going after its third consecutive 20-win season on Tuesday.
Yet, as impressive as those team statistics are, Elmore’s individual numbers are even more spectacular. For example, he is C-USA’s all-time leader in both points (2,555) and assists (765). Even more stunning, Elmore is the only player in NCAA Division I basketball history to score more than 2,500 points and deal more than 750 assists.
Mull that over a moment.
Elmore has accomplished something no other C-USA player has achieved and, on a grander scale, he has attained something no other NCAA Division I player has realized.
Interestingly enough, Marshall coach Danny D’Antoni was mulling over those accomplishments during the post-game press conference following the Herd’s 82-73 loss to Southern Miss in the C-USA Tournament last week in Frisco, Texas.
After enumerating Elmore’s deeds, D’Antoni mused, “Jon has done some things that nobody else has done. Yet, he has never been Player of the Year in this conference.”
Too bad the microphone was in a stand. Otherwise, D’Antoni could have done a mic drop and walked away.
It would have been perfect.
How does Elmore achieve all the unparalleled records he has accomplished, yet never was named Player of the Year in the very conference he dominated on a yearly basis?
Now, here’s the bad answer.
It’s because Marshall has never won a regular-season championship in C-USA. What does that have to do with it? Everything.
For the last three consecutive seasons - and in four of the last five - the C-USA Player of the Year has played for the team that won the regular-season title. In 2019, it was B.J. Stith from Old Dominion. In 2018, it was Nick King from Middle Tennessee preceded by JaCorey Williams from Middle Tennessee in ’17.
So, a regular-season title is a prerequisite for winning Player of the Year honors in C-USA.
What a crock.
The problem is the entire system of voting for post-season accolades in C-USA needs completely revamped.
It simply doesn’t work.
Jon Elmore is Exhibit A.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.