Handing Out Big Ten Awards and Superlatives

Posted by Patrick Engel on March 8th, 2016

With the regular season complete, it’s time for our Big Ten postseason awards. Here are our three all-conference teams, all-rookie team and individual award winners as voted on by our microsite staff. Note that our ballots were submitted before the Big Ten released its official winners on Monday night.

Individual Awards

Tom Crean helped his Indiana team regroup and win the Big Ten after a poor nonconference showing. (Getty)

Tom Crean helped his Indiana team regroup and win the Big Ten after a poor nonconference showing. (Getty)

  • Player of the Year (unanimous): Denzel Valentine (G, Michigan State). The Wooden Award Candidate is the first player to lead the Big Ten in both scoring and assists per game since Iowa’s Andre Woolridge in 1996-97. He’s the Big Ten’s best passer (44.6 percent assist rate) and notched a sterling 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. Valentine takes 30 percent of Michigan State’s shots (over half are three-pointers) and he still has a top-35 offensive rating (126.9) nationally.
  • Coach of the Year: Tom Crean (Indiana). The Hoosiers won the outright Big Ten title with a strong 15-3 record and significantly improved its defense during the Big Ten season. Despite losing one of its best offensive players with James Blackmon, Jr.’s injury in January, Indiana still boast the nation’s fourth-most efficient offense (119.6 points per 100 possessions).
  • Rookie of the Year: Ethan Happ (F, Wisconsin). Happ’s production and consistency on both ends of the floor gives him the edge here. He is tied for second in the conference with nine double-doubles and was an important part of Wisconsin’s resurgence after a 1-3 start to the Big Ten season.
  • Defensive Player of the Year: A.J. Hammons (C, Purdue). Hammons has tallied four more blocks (74) than fouls (70) this season, and he helps Purdue hold opponents to a difficult 42.7 two-point percentage. He also rebounds 23.4 percent of opponents’ misses.
  • Most Improved Player: Peter Jok (G, Iowa). Jok went from an inconsistent reserve as a sophomore to a consistently productive scorer as a junior. Iowa needed a complementary scorer to put alongside Jarrod Uthoff this season, and Jok became that guy.

All-Big Ten First Team

Denzel Valentine has become one of the nation's best players, if not the best, in his senior season. (AP)

Denzel Valentine has become one of the nation’s best players, if not the best, in his senior season. (AP)

  • Denzel Valentine (G, Michigan State): Valentine is the only player in the modern history of college basketball to average at least 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game (assists became an official statistic in 1983-84). He also logged two triple-doubles and shot 49.6 percent from beyond the arc in conference play.
  • Yogi Ferrell (G, Indiana): The Hoosiers’ senior point guard is the Big Ten’s fourth-leading scorer (17.1 PPG), fourth-leading distributor (5.5 APG), 10th-leading three-point shooter (42.1 %) and the conference champion’s best player.

  • Jarrod Uthoff (F, Iowa): The Big Ten’s second-leading scorer at 18.8 PPG leads the conference with 2.7 blocks per outing and makes 39.2 percent of his three-point attempts.
  • A.J. Hammons (C, Purdue): Hammons’ 2.55 blocks per game ranks behind only Uthoff among Big Ten players. His 59.4 percent field goal shooting ranks third in the league.
  • Malcolm Hill: (G, Illinois): The Fighting Illini have had a rough season, but Hill’s 18.6 PPG puts him third in the Big Ten. He scored at least 30 points four different times this season, the most among Big Ten players.

All-Big Ten Second Team

  • Melo Trimble (G, Maryland): The sophomore’s numbers have dipped slightly from last season, but he still averages 14.4 PPG and 5.1 APG for a team that has held an AP Top 20 spot all year.
  • Nigel Hayes (F, Wisconsin): His shooting numbers have declined as well, but Hayes is one of six Big Ten players to average at least 16.0 PPG and 5.0 RPG.
  • Peter Jok (G, Iowa): Jok’s scoring more than doubled from last season, from 7.0 PPG to 15.8 PPG. He averaged 17.3 PPG in Big Ten play to go along with a robust 42.3 percent clip from distance.
  • Matt Costello (F, Michigan State): The senior forward is the only player to average a double-double in Big Ten games (12.5 PPG, 10.1 RPG).
  • Andrew White III (G, Nebraska): The Kansas transfer is the conference’s fifth-leading scorer at 16.5 PPG. His 48.5 percent shooting from the field ranked third among Big Ten guards.

All-Big Ten Third Team

  • Shavon Shields (F, Nebraska): Shields is just behind his teammate White in scoring at 16.4 PPG but also logged a 20.2 percent assist rate.
  • Bryant McIntosh (G, Northwestern): The sophomore’s 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play ranked only behind Iowa’s Mike Gesell and Big Ten POY Valentine. His 6.7 assists per game in all games stands only behind Valentine.
  • Bryn Forbes (G, Michigan State): Forbes led the Big Ten in made three-pointers (104) and three-point percentage (50.5%).
  • Brandon Taylor (F, Penn State): The senior increased his scoring by more than seven points per game this year in averaging 16.3 PPG to go with 6.5 RPG.
  • Ethan Happ (F, Wisconsin): In conference play, the redshirt freshman averaged 12.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG, the latter of which ranks fourth in the conference.

All-Rookie Team

Corey Sanders has been perhaps the only bright spot in another poor season for Rutgers. (Getty)

Corey Sanders has been perhaps the only bright spot in another poor season for Rutgers. (Getty)

  • Corey Sanders (G, Rutgers): He is the Big Ten’s ninth-leading scorer (16.2 PPG, tops among freshmen) and tied for the conference lead with 1.8 steals per game.
  • Ethan Happ (F, Wisconsin): Happ had the Big Ten’s highest steal rate (4.1%) and tied for the league lead in steals with Sanders.
  • Caleb Swanigan (F, Purdue): The former five-star prospect is tied for second in the conference in rebounding (8.2 RPG).
  • Diamond Stone (C, Maryland): Another former five-star recruit, Stone’s 12.7 PPG led all Big Ten freshmen big men. His 77.2 percent mark from the foul line leads all Big Ten freshmen.
  • Thomas Bryant (C, Indiana): The third former-five star recruit on this list leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage (69.8%).
Patrick Engel (33 Posts)

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