Let’s start with a hot take, shall we? The people who decide the Tewaaraton usually get it right. For all the griping we do, will do in the future, and that I will do in this piece, they mostly do a good job. Yes, there have been some bad and bemusing calls. Steele Stanwick over Rob Pannell in 2011 was evidence of their bias towards players who have good postseasons. Max Seibald in 2009 was evidence of the power of narrative and leadership and grit and all that. Chris Rotelli in 2003 was just weird. But Matt Rambo, Dylan Molloy, Lyle Thompson, Lyle and Myles Thompson, Pannell in 2013, these were all good calls.
Which brings us to this year. Where on Thursday night, the people who decide the Tewaaraton Award came out with their five finalists, and didn't include Jeff Teat. The Teat who was a First Team Media All American. Who will very likely be a First Team USILA All-American. Who has 97 points, 2nd in America. Who has 60 assists, most in America. Who has 5.7 PPG, tied for 3rd most. Who has 16.78 points per 100 possessions, most of anyone. Who has 42.5% of all of the points on Cornell’s team, more than any of the finalists for the award with the exception of Connor Kelly. Who has transformed Cornell this season on offense and been the driving force behind the Big Red going from a moribund program to one win away from the Final Four. That guy apparently isn’t one of the five best players in the country.
Like everyone else, when I saw this, I was shocked. It made no sense. Teat should have been the 1st name on the list, not the at best 6th. So I decided to look into the numbers and the history, to see if there’s a prior example of this happening. Of one player so great and meeting all the criteria, statistical and sentimental, not being even included as a finalist. So I decided to look at the numbers. Of players who had 97 or more points, had 60 or more assists, had 5.7 PPG, and had their team in the NCAA Tournament.
The answer is, simply enough, no. There have been 12 seasons by players since the Tewaaraton was first awarded - 2001 - that eclipsed 97 points. They are Lyle Thompson and Rob Pannell in 2013; Lyle Thompson, Myles Thompson, and Jordan Wolf in 2014; Lyle Thompson and Mike Rooney in 2015; Dylan Molloy in 2016; Connor Fields in 2017; and Justin Guterding and Jeff Teat in 2018. 10 of them resulted in Tewaaraton Finalist spots, the ones who didn’t: Rooney in 2015, and Teat this year.
There have been seven seasons since the Tewaaraton was first awarded where a player hit 60 assists. Ned Crotty in 2010; Lyle Thompson in 2013; Lyle Thompson in 2014; Lyle Thompson and Mike Rooney in 2015; Connor Fields in 2017; and Jeff Teat in 2018. Five of those resulted in Tewaaraton Finalist spots, the ones who didn’t: Rooney in 2015, and Teat this year.
There have been thirteen seasons since the Tewaaraton was first awarded where a player had 5.7 PPG or more. Garrett Kikot in 2005; Lyle Thompson, Rob Pannell, and Kieran McArdle in 2013; Lyle Thompson and Myles Thompson in 2014; Lyle Thompson and Mike Rooney in 2015; Dylan Molloy in 2016; Connor Fields in 2017; and Justin Guterding and Jeff Teat and Michael Sowers in 2018. Eight of those resulted in Tewaaraton Finalist spots, the ones who didn’t: Kikot in 2005, McArdle in 2013, Rooney in 2015, Teat in 2018 and Sowers in 2018.
Here’s where we add in the final portion of this quotient. None of those players - Kikot, McArdle, Rooney, or Sowers - had their team in the NCAA Tournament. Not only does Teat, he has them in the Quarterfinal. So no one in college lacrosse, since the Tewaaraton has been awarded, has put up 97 or more points, 60 or more assists, 5.7 PPG or more, and had their team in the NCAA Tournament and not being a Tewaaraton Finalist until Jeff Teat this season.
That outlines for you the decision that was made. We’re watching a historic season in college lacrosse by Jeff Teat, a guy who’s either one or two in almost every statistical category, who’s taken a team that won 11 games combined the last year, led them to 13 this year and one more away from the Final Four and he’s not one of the five best players in the country? Get out of here.
As said to start this piece, the Tewaaraton usually has gotten it right. And provided they don’t pick Trevor Baptiste, they will choose a worthy winner this year. But none of the five have done what Teat has done, and for him not to be on that stage in late May is a travesty.