William Buford has big shoes to fill next season. Evan Turner is poised to be a top three pick is this year’s NBA Draft after winning every possible player of the year honors including the Naismith. Turner finishes his career as the only Naismith Award winner in Ohio State history, something Buford is well aware of.
Filling the shoes of Evan Turner will not be easy, but Ohio State’s young scoring guard is up to the task. He finished this season scoring 14.4 points and 5.6 rebounds a game playing in Turner’s shadow for most of the season. These stats came while he was not even close to being the focal point of the Buckeye offense last season.
Evan Turner went down with a back injury in the middle of last season, giving Buford time to shine, at least for a few games. During Turner’s absence Buford averaged 15.3 points and 7.1 rebounds a game. He had a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds during that stretch along with a 20 point performance as well.
The addition of top prospect Jared Sullinger will help take some pressure off of Buford to carry the team on offense, along with the senior leadership of David Lighty, Jon Deibler, and Dallas Lauderdale.
Buford will be expected to take the game winning shots next season by head coach Thad Matta, much like Turner did last season. He can hit mid-range jumpers, drain threes, or drive the lane. His expansive offensive ability opens up the Buckeyes offense much the same as Turner.
Buford’s offense mimics much of what Turner did last season, giving Ohio State the ability to maintain the same offensive sets. Add this with the fact it has greatly improved its post depth and the Buckeyes should be in good shape next season.
Much of that success will directly correlate to the production on both sides of the court by Buford. Buford will have an added pressure of being the leader of next year’s team, much like Turner did. His ability to adjust to this new role will go a long way in determining how good the Buckeyes will be next season.