There has been a lot of talk about All-State and Player of the Year picks. And I just feel like, ah the heck with it. I'm just going to come right out and say it...voting for all postseason awards should not happen until AFTER the tournament is over. There I said it. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff here. But allow me to explain why I feel this way...
It is mind blogging that these awards are voted on before the most important part of the season. The tournament is where you really see who the top players are. The tournament separates the men from the boys. The stakes are higher and the competition is stiffer, hence tourney play is the best barometer of how good of a season a player had.
Now I'm not saying the All-State teams and Player of the Year awards should be based solely on tournament play. Because of course there is 18 regular season games that you must consider. You can't base it all on tournament play. But it is a no-brainer that you MUST at least take the way players play in the tournament into account when voting on these teams.
When the gyms are packed the most, the most pressure is on...it's in the tournament. That's when the scouts are watching. When it's win or go home. During THESE situations is when you TRULY see how good the players are.
So PLEASE, somebody tell me why it is BEFORE the tournament starts that the voting is done. Please...somebody...because honestly, it makes absolutely no sense.
The name of the award is "Player of the Year." It is not "Player of the Regular Season." The tournament is part of "the Year". It is the MOST important part of "the Year."
Allow me to offer this hypothetical scenario:
Player A could have a great regular season. Average 20 points a game. Lead their team to the #1 seed heading into the tournament. Then in the playoffs they play horrible. Shoot 1/15 from the floor, 7 turnovers, foul out in the third quarter. And his team gets blown out at home by the #16 seed. Meanwhile Player B was the second best regular season player, he was on the second best regular season team. He was an excellent player, just not quite as good as Player A in the regular season. But Player B raises his level of player when it matters most. He has an unbelievable tournament. Leads his team to the title. Every tourney win is by double digits and Player B scores 20 points or more in all 4 tourney games. But ooops! We already had the voting for Player of the Year! The voting was done before the tournament even started! Player A has already been given the award! Oh nooooo!
This could happen. And it might not even happen for Player of the Year. What if 2 players are really close for a first team All-State spot. One blows up in the tourney and the other is exposed as a player who only produces against weak teams. But oops! The voting already happened!
It could happen in Class L, it could happen in Class S. It could even happen for a second team or honorable mention spot. And it might even be as obvious as the examples I've already mentioned. You might just have two players who match up in the quarterfinals. It is a good match-up and both players play well. But everyone agrees that Player A definitely did get the better of the match-up, even if it was only a slight edge. But Player A's team also won the game. And after the regular season, the two players were a tossup for a second team spot. The spot SHOULD go to Player A. But since the voting was done before the tourney Player B gets it.
The point is that you wait until EVERY LAST GAME has happened. You let EVERYTHING happen, you let it ALL play out. THEN, and ONLY THEN do you do ANY voting WHATSOEVER. Because you just NEVER NOW what might happen.
Many companies have an "Employee of the Month Award." Do they hand out the award with a week still left in the month? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. Now let's suppose for this particular company that the last week of each month is always the most important for their sales. And again, they give the Employee of the Month award out with one week left in the month! They give it away before the most important week happened! That would be insanity!
That's exactly what NH is doing with the postseason awards! We give all of the awards out right BEFORE the most important part of the season happens! The NHIAA says, "The Class L Player of the Year for the 2009-2010 season is awarded to Player X". How can the NHIAA possibly say this when the 2099-2010 season is STILL BEING PLAYED. Not only that, but the part of the season that hasn't happened yet is the MOST IMPORTANT PART.
Now again, I'm not saying that you should only look at how the kids play in the tournament to decide All-State teams and POY honors. But You MUST use it as a factor. You MUST look at each player's entire body of work. You have to break it down, look at how the payers did over the course of the entire regular season AS WELL AS THE TOURNAMENT.
I know that in most leagues, especially professional leagues, they do the same thing. Voting happens once the regular season concludes and then throughout the playoffs award winners are announced. I know that this is how many other leagues do it. But those leagues drive me crazy too! The worst is All-Star games like the NBA and MLB where they have the All-Star games in the MIDDLE of the season. And the voting starts a MONTH into the season. Give me a break! That's no honor to be selected as an All-Star in those leagues. All it means is that you were one of the top players for the first month and a half of the season! And that's the part of the season that means the less! And then when a player is up for election in the hall of fame in one of these sports, people will say things like, "Well he went to 8 All-Star games" and use that as a reason why he should or shouldn't get in. Are you kidding me?
Ok, enough of that tangent. We're talking high school here, not the pros. That example does support my argument, though. Bottom line is when you're voting for player of the year or All-State teams, you MUST look at the ENTIRE season, including the tournament. Not just the regular season. Because otherwise these awards mean nothing.
The final part of my argument is this. Coaches are the ones who vote on these awards. And coaches can't vote for their own players. So the players they actually are voting on they've only seen play once. And in Class I or M, you don't even play everybody. So you don't even see all of the teams. But if you wait until after the tournament is over, chances are the 2-5 teams that you didn't see in the regular season you WILL see at least one of those teams in the tournament. Either by playing against them or by watching them.
Let's remember that coaches are scouting all the time. If they're not playing on a particular night, but someone else is chances are they're at that game scouting. Most of these "scouting chances" happen in the tournament.
Maybe your the coach of a team that didn't make the tournament. You'll probably see at least 4 tourney games, and at least 6 different teams. or If you lost in the quarterfinals but still went to scout the semis and title game. You're seeing other games, other teams that you DID NOT SEE IN THE REGULAR SEASON. Translation: You're seeing more teams and more players and therefore your ballot for PO and All-State holds MORE CREDIBILITY.
Get it? This is especially vital in Class I, where each team has at least 6 or 7 teams in the league they don't play in the regular season. Chances are, either by playing against or scouting, they see at least 4 or 5 of those teams in the tournament.
And even in Class L, each team has one team they don't play. And even the teams you do play you only see them once. How good of an idea do you REALLY have of who deserves to be on the All-State teams and POY? Not a very good one. Now, add in seeing between 4-8 games and between 6-16 different teams come tournament time IN ADDITION to those 18 regular season games. Plus maybe 3 or 4 games during the season that you scouted. Now, and ONLY NOW are you as a coach able to fill out a credible ballot for these awards.
Lastly I pose this question. What's the rush? Honestly. Why is the NHIAA in such a rush to get these things voted on? In the final week of the regular season and in the few days leading up the the prelims, coaches have enough to worry about. They're trying to get their team ready for the tourney. They shouldn't have to waste time meeting with other coaches or filling out All-State ballots.
Heck, coaches are talking to each other about All-State, and making nominations in January. I know, I am an Assistant Coach at Sanborn. I was a part of these conversations. Coaches were having conversations with each other way back in January about who they were nominating, how many players from their team they were nominating...in January! You have to be kidding me! The coaches SHOULD NOT have to deal with any of that stuff until AFTER the tournament is COMPLETELY over. In January the coaches should be worrying about their team and their team only. How to get them playing better basketball, that's it. Along the way, you notice players on other teams of course. But that shouldn't be your focus. You shouldn't have to think about that stuff until AFTER the tournament is over.
What's the big rush? If the awards are given out 3 or 4 weeks after the championship game, what is the downside there? That the Player of the Year isn't able to accept his award in front of his home crowd before tip-off of one of his team's playoff games? That would only do harm. Because either a) The player is receiving the award after his team has been eliminated from the tourney in which case he probably shouldn't have been the one winning it! Or b) His team is still in it, however receiving the award while his team is still in it will put WAY too much pressure on his teenage shoulders.
Again, what's the big rush? Why not wait til the season is COMPLETELY over. Then start the voting process. A month later you hold a ceremony. Maybe on a Wednesday night for example. Either have a different ceremony for Class L, Class I, etc. or have one ceremony for all four. Present all of the first team, second team and honorable mention All-State awards. Then present the Player of the Year Awards. That way, it's done after the season, no distractions. The voting doesn't start until the tournament's over. The coaches are able to see more teams, more players. The most important part of the season (the tournament) is taken into account for the awards. And the players are all recognized together, and in front of a large crowd.
What's wrong with that, NHIAA?
You will not see me make any POY, All-State or Coach of the Year picks until after the tournaments for those leagues are over. It just doesn't make sense to me. People have posted on here what their picks are, or their predictions for different awards. But not me. Because even though the regular season is just about over in Class L and Class I, there is still A LOT of basketball left to be played.
I will wait until each division's tourney is over. THEN I will give out my awards...and so should the NHIAA.