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.