As a site manager at SB Nation I am incredibly blessed. I have always compared it to being a fan given an incredible platform and access to write from that perspective. That is why I enjoy this week of the year so much. First, my reward for a year's worth of blogging comes in the form of my Big Ten Tournament credential that I am picking up later today. Second, I get to compile the SB Nation all-Tournament team
First, let's meet this year's voters:
Hammer & Rails
T-Mill, Casey Bartley
The Champaign Room
Bucky's 5th Quarter
Curt Hogg, Phil Mitten
The Daily Gopher
Thomas Beindit, Andrew Holmes
Maize N' Brew
On the Banks
Black Heart Gold Pants
Black Shoe Diaries
The formula here is simple: I asked for a First Team, Second Team, and Third Team from each voter. If a player gets a First team vote it is worth three points, A Second Team vote is worth two points, and a Third Team vote is worth a single point. The top five vote-getters get named on the First Team and so on.
So, let's get to it: Here is your SB Nation all-Big Ten First Team:
Denzell Valentine - Michigan State - 45 points
A.J. Hammons - Purdue - 45 points
Yogi Ferrell - Indiana - 45 points
Jarrod Uthoff - Iowa - 45 points
Nigel Hayes - Wisconsin - 40 points
This was as expected. Hammons, Valentine, Ferrell, and Uthoff are unanimous First Team selections across all 15 ballots. Hayes was a First Team selection on 10 of 15 ballots and a Second Team on the other five. I don't think anyone can argue with this.
Here is the SB Nation all-Big Ten Second Team:
Malcolm Hill - Illinois - 29 points
Peter Jok - Iowa - 27 points
Matt Costello - Michigan State - 26 points
Melo Trimble - Maryland - 25 points
Bryn Forbes - Michigan State - 20 points
Hill received three of the five First Team votes that Hayes did not receive. Forbes got the fourth of the five. With Forbes and Costello here Michigan State has three of the top 10 players in the league.
Here is the Third Team:
Diamond Stone - Maryland - 14 points
Andrew White III - Nebraska - 11 points
Brandon Taylor - Penn State - 11 points
Shavon Shields - Nebraska - 10 points
Troy Williams - Indiana - 8 points
Ethan Happ - Wisconsin - 8 points
There are six players on the Third Team because Williams and Happ tied for the final spot. White got a major boost by receiving a First Team vote.
Honorable Mention Selections:
The following players were named on at least one ballot as a Second or Third Team selection:
Bryant McIntosh - Northwestern
Thomas Bryant - Indiana
Derrick Walton - Michigan
Bronson Koenig - Wisconsin
Robert Carter - Maryland
Kendrick Nunn - Illinois
Rasheed Sulaimon - Maryland
Vince Edwards - Purdue
Caleb Swanigan - Purdue
Jordan Murphy - Minnesota
Mike Gesell - Iowa
Zak Irvin - Michigan
Marc Loving - Ohio State
Tre Demps - Northwestern
P.J. Thompson - Purdue
Corey Sanders - Rutgers
Adam Woodbury - Iowa
Now, onto the individual awards:
Big Ten Player of the Year
Denzel Valentine - Michigan State
Valentine not only was a unanimous First Team selection, he was named the unanimous player of the year by all 15 voters. When you lead the league in scoring, finish 7th in rebounding, and are also 1st in assists while being responsible for about 35 points a game either by scoring or by providing an assist it is a pretty open and shut case for Player of the Year.
Big Ten Coach of the Year
Greg Gard - Wisconsin
This was a much closer vote. Gard received eight votes out of 15, with Tom Crean getting five and Tom Izzo and Fran McCaffery each getting one. I respect what Crean did, but Indiana was expected to be good from the beginning of the season. Gard didn't even know he was going to be the head coach at the beginning of the year, was dumped into the position just before Big Ten play, and took a team from 9-9 and 1-4 to start league play to the NCAA Tournament and a top four finish. That's a helluva job.
Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Diamond Stone - Maryland
This was another close vote, but Stone gets the nod with seven votes out of 15. Ethan Happ gets 6 votes, while Thomas Bryant and Jordan Murphy end up swinging things with one vote each.
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
A.J. Hammons - Purdue
Big A.J. gets to add another award to his postseason collection, and this is clearly his most prestigious. He was named Defensive Player of the Year on 13 of 15 ballots with Jarrod Uthoff and matt Costello getting a single vote each.
Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year
Max Bielfeldt - Indiana
The voting was all over the map here with one abstention, meaning there were only 14 votes to go around. Bielfeldt gets seven votes to win. His closest competitor was Isaac Haas with four votes, followed by Kam Williams, Dom Uhl, and Dakota Mathias each getting one vote.
So that's it! Thank you again to all 15 writers for submitting a ballot. We had 12 of the 14 teams represented by their respective sites, with only Testudo Times and Corn Nation not participating.