Handing Out the 2013 Big Ten HardwarePosted by jnowak on March 12th, 2013
The best season of Big Ten basketball in recent memory blessed us with plenty of talented players, performances and games. So, without any further ado, our choices for this year’s Big Ten awards:
Player of the Year: Trey Burke, Michigan — Burke probably locked this up when he picked Keith Appling’s pocket in the closing seconds of Michigan’s narrow win against the rival Spartans in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago. It just goes to show you can never let your guard down against Burke, who nearly left for the NBA after his breakout season a year ago. He led the Big Ten in scoring during conference games, while leading the conference in assists (6.8 per game) by a long shot. He can put this team on his back and carry it deep into March.
All-Big Ten First Team
- Trey Burke, Michigan — Directed the conference’s second-best offense, and narrowly missed the Big Ten scoring title. Sharp on defense, brilliant in the lane. An NBA point guard.
- Victor Oladipo, Indiana — All aspects of the game considered, the most fun player in the Big Ten this season. Can rebound, drive, defend and lead his team to a title.
- Cody Zeller, Indiana — Billed as the Big Ten’s top player entering the year, it’s incredible to think that this honor and 16.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG would be any kind of disappointment.
- Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State — The conference’s leading scorer (19.7 PPG) and the player most valuable to his respective team in the conference.
- Adreian Payne, Michigan State — His visible growth during conference play slides him into this up-for-grabs fifth spot on the first team.
All-Big Ten Second Team
- Andre Hollins, Minnesota — Taking a spot that typically would otherwise have been reserved for teammate Trevor Mbakwe, Hollins was the most consistent player on an inconsistent Gophers team.
- Gary Harris, Michigan State — Enjoy him while you can, Spartan fans.
- Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan — Half of the best backcourt in the conference, and perhaps the country.
- Aaron Craft, Ohio State — A player that no other guard in the country wants to see. He’s been one of the best defenders in America since he enrolled at Ohio State, runs the Buckeyes’ offense and has proven he can be a scoring option if needed.
- D.J. Newbill, Penn State — He had the unenviable task of filling in for Tim Frazier when the Nittany Lions’ star went down, and Newbill became a star himself. Finished fifth in the conference with 16.1 PPG and fourth in assists (4.1) while logging 36.4 minutes per game, second-most in the Big Ten.
Defensive Player of the Year: Victor Oladipo, Indiana — The most electric player this conference has seen in some time, with the ability to single-handedly change games (his 11 steals in Indiana’s two wins against Michigan State were a significant difference-maker) by getting into the passing lanes, to say nothing of his on-the-ball defense. Aaron Craft typically sets the benchmark in this department, and Oladipo’s 2.2 steals per game outdid Craft’s 2.0.
Newcomer of the Year: Gary Harris, Michigan State — Every time we thought Harris would hit a wall, he kept powering through, proving to be the Spartans’ most consistent player this season. His scoring as a freshman (team-high 13.2 PPG) at MSU is rivaled only by Magic Johnson (17.0) and Shawn Respert (15.8), while he’s given the Spartans another staunch defender and a fierce three-point threat. MSU will be lucky to have him one more year.
Sixth Man of the Year: Will Sheehey, Indiana — At times, the player on Indiana’s deep roster who brought the most cohesiveness was coming off the bench. Averaging nearly 10.0 PPG in more than 22 minutes per game, he has the ability to fill the need for a role player or surprise as the team’s leading scorer. A nod also goes to Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker.
Coach of the Year: Bo Ryan, Wisconsin: With due respect to Tom Crean, who has finally brought the Hoosiers back to the top tier of the college basketball world, and all the other coaches who were fighting until the last day for a conference title, no one has done more with less this year than Bo Ryan. That’s been his M.O. at Wisconsin, but it reached an entirely different level this season with the preseason loss of Josh Gasser, and the additional absence of Mike Bruesewitz early. The Badgers had some growing pains, but emerged as a contender (like every year, it seems) without any premier talent. It may be Ryan’s best coaching performance yet.
Game of the Year: Indiana 72, Michigan 71 (March 10) — Well, take your pick. There were so many hyped games that lived up to it, pitting conference and national title contenders on the biggest of stages. Illinois upsetting Indiana on a last-second shot, Michigan and Michigan State twice doing battle for bragging rights, Wisconsin knocking off Michigan after Ben Brust’s incredible buzzer-beater, Michigan and Indiana for ESPN’s College Gameday. The list goes on. But it’s hard to top one of the last games of the season, which determined the final outcome of the standings. One game, to determine if one school would stand alone or if four would share, that came down to the last possession, the last shot, which hung on the rim for what felt like minutes. It was only fitting.
- Gary Harris, Michigan State — Gary, Magic and Shawn. Need we say more?
- Glenn Robinson III — Take your pick from Mitch McGary, Nik Stauskas and Robinson. Michigan’s future.
- Yogi Ferrell, Indiana — It’s not easy to play point guard — and play it well — for the best team in the conference, and perhaps the country.
- A.J. Hammons, Purdue — Second on the team in scoring (10.6 PPG), second in rebounding (6.2 RPG), and a star in the making.
- Sam Dekker, Wisconsin — One of the most talented freshmen Bo Ryan has ever had, and one of the best sixth men in the country.