It takes a short period of time for an athlete to become relevant to the media.
Sometimes one seeks the attention, like Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, who went WWE on FOX Sports' side reporter Erin Andrews in a post-game interview Sunday and caused Twitter to go blow up.
Sometimes one has no control over his newly found fame like Syracuse Orange freshman point guard Tyler Ennis, who netted a game-high 16 points, including six in the final minutes, in Saturday's 59-54 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Panthers.
Ennis' performance was nothing out of the ordinary for those who have watched the first-year floor general play this season. The Canadian born sensation has been arguably the key component in the Orange's 18-0 start, as he is averaging 11.9 points per game and has an unflappable turnover/assist ratio of five-to-one.
A quick look at Ennis' game logs from this season and one will see a slew of jaw-dropping performance for a first-year player including: 28 points against the California Golden Bears; 20 points and zero turnovers against Villanova Wildcats; 10 points, seven assists, three steals and two turnovers against the North Carolina Tar Heels; 10 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals against Boston College Eagles.
Heck, Ennis has been so good that even his zero-point performance against Eastern Michigan, Dec. 31, which included nine assists, five rebounds and three steals, was solid.
In Atlantic Coast Conference play, Ennis is averaging 12.2 points, 5.8 assists, 2.6 steals and 1.8 turnovers per game. Against Top 25 opponents the production is just as good -- 15.7 points, 4.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.33 turnovers per game.
Overall, Ennis has been nearly flawless when it comes to decision making.
#Syracuse freshman Tyler Ennis currently 5th in country in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.17 to 1) and 7th in steals (2.76 per game).— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) January 19, 2014
So, why has it taken so long for the attention to finally swing his way? First, this season the college basketball landscape is loaded with freshmen players that the media loves. Players like Kansas' Andrew Wiggins, Duke's Jabari Parker, Arizona's Aaron Gordon and all of Kentucky's starting five ate up a lot of the early-season coverage.
However, as those story lines faded a bit -- mainly because those players haven't lived up to the media's hype -- other hot stories, such as Ennis, have appeared. The one thing Ennis has on a lot of other college basketball story lines is that he has been in the rumor mill for awhile, but hasn't yet had that big opportunity to breakout.
Saturday's backdrop was perfect, as Syracuse was in a tight game, against an old rival which was giving the Orange a hard time and when everyone was expecting a veteran leader, like a C.J Fair, to step up it was instead a crafty, freshman point guard who made it look easy.
All of a sudden, everyone is now paying attention to not only Ennis but the No. 2-ranked team in the nation.
Tyler Ennis is absolutely unflappable. He's the best freshman point guard, by far. I wonder if he's cracked a smile yet. Impressive.— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 18, 2014
Ive never seen a freshman PG as cool as Tyler Ennis — just dominant— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) January 18, 2014
Will dive more into college hoops starting this week. So far, I think the best team I've seen is #Syracuse. The point guard is terrific.— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) January 19, 2014
The polls love the Orange (second in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls). Ken Pomeroy's module loves the Cuse (No. 2 overall on KenPom.com), too.
According to SportsReference.com, Ennis' Win Shares total - an estimate of how many victories are attributable to a player's offensive and defensive performance - is 3.2. That approaches the measures for national player of the year candidates such as Doug McDermott (3.7), Nick Johnson (3.6) and Marcus Smart (3.4). And none of the nation's other vaunted freshmen match Ennis' value in this way.
Of course, all of this was days after ESPN published an article about how vaulable Ennis has been:
Ennis has contributed more wins to his team than any freshman in Division I this season (3.2).
Ennis is basically irreplaceable as Syracuse's point guard. He has accounted for 43 percent of his team's assists and 29 percent of steals, both of which are the highest rates among major-conference freshmen this season.
In so many ways, Ennis has been better than SU's former point guard, Michael Cater-Williams, who was a NBA lottery pick and could very well be the NBA's Rookie of the Year. That's not a knock on MCW, that's a testament to how good and important Ennis has been.
For SU fans, that is the only surprise about this whole thing. Ennis has proved his worth for awhile now, but nobody at the beginning of the season was expecting this. Now, all of a sudden, Orange Nation's hidden gem is officially exposed to the nation and with a match-up with Duke, which features the FOTY front-runner, Parker, looming the talk is only going to grow.
Tyler Ennis may not have wanted this, but that's how the media works sometimes. Fame just finds you. And if we all know one thing about the freshman it is he will continue to play well, so the spotlight isn't going away anytime soon.