Friday, January 8, 2010

Andre Akpan, I Feel Your Pain


Teal Bunbury claimed the MAC Hermann trophy. He was the best weapon on the best offense in the country.  So there should be little debate about who should have won the award; however, there is part of me that wishes Andre Akpan lifted the award. I know, I know. Bunbury had better numbers, played for a better team, and I even voted him as player of the year. That said, Akpan had one of the best college careers we may ever see.

Look at the numbers:
2009 Season Stats: 19 games, 12 goals, 6 assists
2008 Season Stats: 18 games, 10 goals, 4 assists
2007 Season Stats: 17 games, 14 goals, 9 assists
2006 Season Stats: 17 games, 11 goals, 12 assists

Career totals: 71 games, 47 goals, 31 assists
Some teams don't even account for that many points over four years. For the most part, he was the main man for Harvard. Defenses would game plan around him and they still could not stop the best Afro in college sports. Ivy League defenses are actually better than most would believe, five of the defenses rank in the top 100. So the competition didn't exactly bend over for him, especially after four years of being embarrassed by the same player. I look at those numbers, and then I look at what Bunbury did in two years:
2009 Season Stats: 25 games, 17 goals, 5 assists
2008 Season Stats: 23 games, 6 goals, 3 assists

Career totals: 48 games, 23 goals, 8 assists
It is a fine career, but would he ever reach Akpan's numbers? Could he keep up those numbers for two more seasons? Comparing the first two seasons, Akpan is actually ahead (25 g, 21 a) to Bunbury's (23 g, 8 a).  But isn't this award supposed to be about this year? Look at the criteria for the award:
1. Recipient must attend an accredited Division I college or university located in the United States.
2. Recipient may be in any year of his/her college education.
3. Recipient promotes ethical and sportsmanlike behavior. 
That's it? Seriously? Well if those are my three categories. I say coaches should have bucked the trend and let the scholar from Texas win because of his body of work. We may never see another player like Akpan (four very good years), while we have already seen a player put up similar numbers as Bunbury (one great year). That type of career being lost in the record books of Harvard (because Akpan never received the national attention that he deserved) is a travesty.