On Tuesday, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 10 finalists for the Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award, given annually to the top shooting guard in the country. After an outstanding debut season for the Ohio State Buckeyes, it’s no surprise to see guard Taylor Mikesell’s name on the list.
Mikesell joined Ohio State after transferring from the Oregon Ducks, and is having a career performance in terms of scoring in her senior season. Currently, Mikesell leads the nation in field goal percentage from three-point range, making 49.1% of shots from deep. Within the Big Ten conference, Mikesell leads all players with 82 made threes.
Among the Buckeyes’ roster, Mikesell is second behind only guard Jacy Sheldon in points with 19.5 per game, but is averaging 21.1 points per game in Big Ten play. After transferring to Ohio State, Mikesell has moved into a shoot-first role and is thriving. Tuesday’s shortlist announcement comes as no shock after receiving a season’s worth of praise from within her own team.
“She’s one of the best players I’ve ever played with and she’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever met too,” said Sheldon after Mikesell’s 33-point, five-rebound performance against then-No. 12 ranked Maryland Terrapins. “She’s amazing, it’s like I told somebody, she’s easy to play with. She makes shots, she makes the right decisions and she’s really good at what she does.”
Joining Mikesell on the shortlist is another Big Ten guard in Michigan Wolverine Leigha Brown. At the end of February, the list will narrow down to five selections, with the winner selected in April. Starting Friday, fans can vote for their favorite candidate, with fan vote winners receiving one extra vote to combine with votes from the media, coaches and former players.
Here is the full list of finalists:
Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award Finalists
|Taylor Mikesell||Ohio State|
|Charlisse Leger-Walker||Washington St.|
Prior to the 2021/22 season, the Buckeyes faced an uphill battle to return to the form that saw themselves in the 2019 Big Ten Tournament Championship. In December of 2020, the Columbus Dispatch reported that the Buckeyes self-imposed a postseason ban after former assistant coach Patrick Klein admitted to improper communication with student athletes.
The fallout of that ban included losing a pair of transfers in forwards Aaliyah Patty and Dorka Juhasz. Petty left for Texas A&M, and Juhasz joined college powerhouse UConn. Then, just one day before the start of the 2021/22 season, starting point guard Madison Greene sustained an injury that required season-ending knee surgery.
A bright spot throughout all the turmoil was on Nov. 6, when the Buckeyes made an announcement on Twitter. Mikesell wasn’t sure if she’d be eligible for the 2021/22 season, until head coach Kevin McGuff announced her eligibility during a team practice.
The Massillon, Ohio-native played two seasons with the University of Maryland, winning two Big Ten Tournaments and the 2020 Big Ten Conference Championship. Mikesell transferred to Oregon for one season and became part of the Ducks’ run to Sweet Sixteen, where they lost to the University of Louisville.
Ohio State continues Big Ten play on Thursday, when they welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the Schottenstein Center.