One of my favorite projects each season is running this SB Nation all-Big Ten team. I reach out to every Big Ten blog within our wonderful network and try to get at least one representative from each one. This year we’re only missing one school. We received 18 total responses across 14 blogs (Thomas Beindit of BT Powerhouse also contributed) and the results this year were far more varied than in the past. Usually we have several players that are unanimous First Team selections, but not this year. First, let’s get tot he big one: Big Ten player of the Year
2016-17 SB Nation Big Ten Player of the Year: Caleb Swanigan - Purdue
Whether it was the other writers kissing up to me or he was legitimately that good (likely the latter), Biggie gets another Player of the Year Award. he was the unanimous Player of the Year across all 18 ballots. It was an easy choice, too. He averaged 18.7 points (second in the Big Ten) and 12.6 rebounds. The finalist for National Player of the Year ran away with this.
Biggie was also the only unanimous First Team selection. I used a simple formula where I asked each person to submit a 5-member First Team, Second Team, and Third Team. A First Team vote counted for 3 points, A Second Team 2, and a Third Team 1. That led to the following First Team:
2016-17 SB Nation all-Big Ten First Team
Caleb Swanigan - Purdue - 54 points (unanimous selection)
Ethan Happ - Wisconsin - 52 points
Peter Jok - Iowa - 51 points
Melo Trimble - Maryland - 49 points
Derrick Walton Jr. - Michigan - 43 points
Like I said earlier, in past years the First Team was nearly automatic. I still have the data from last season’s balloting and there were four unanimous selections to the first team. All four of those players are gone, however. From last year Jok makes the jump from Second Team to First Team along with Trimble.
2016-17 SB Nation all-Big Ten Second Team
Nate Mason - Minnesota - 40 points
Malcolm Hill - Illinois - 39 points
Miles Bridges - Michigan State - 37 points
Bryant McIntosh - Northwestern - 30 points
Bronson Koenig - Wisconsin - 20 points
For the second straight season Hill is a Second Team selection for Illinois, showing that he has been consistently good on a lousy team. Mason was very nearly a First Team selection and was back and forth with Walton for that last spot. Bridges makes this list as the top freshman vote-getter, and he was even a First Team selection according to some.
2016-17 SB Nation all-Big Ten Third Team
Tai Webster - Nebraska - 18 points
Nigel Hayes - Wisconsin - 17 points
James Blackmon Jr. - Indiana - 14 points
Vince Edwards - Purdue - 14 points
Thomas Bryant - Indiana - 12 points
The big surprise here is NIgel Hayes. He was the only returning First Team member from last year and he was the preseason Player of the Year pick from the conference itself. People were all over the map on him. Many thought he was good, but not really enough for First Team selections. It is good to see our own Vince Edwards get a third Team nod from our SB Nation peers.
All-Big Ten Honorable Mention
The following players were all named on at least one of the 18 ballots I received:
Nick Ward - Michigan State
Dakota Mathias - Purdue
Moritz Wagner - Michigan
Isaac Haas - Purdue
Scottie Lindsey - Northwestern
Trevor Thompson - Ohio State
Jae’Sean Tate - Ohio State
Jordan Murphy - Minnesota
Tony Carr - Penn State
Ed Morrow Jr. - Nebraska
DeShawn Freeman - Rutgers
Vic Law Jr. - Northwestern
Jordan Bohannon - Iowa
Reggie Lynch - Minnesota
Nicholas Baer - Iowa
Just a few more individual awards to hand out.
2016-17 Big Ten Freshman of the Year: Miles Bridges - Michigan State
Bridges was a near unanimous pick here. He was the Freshman of the Year on 16 of 18 ballots, with only Tony Carr at Penn State and Nick Ward at Michigan State also getting one vote.
Big Ten Coach of the Year: Richard Pitino - Minnesota
This was very, very close. Those that voted were divided on this between Pitino, Chris Collins at Northwestern, and Matt Painter. In the end, Pitino got 6 of 18 votes, while Collins and Painter got five each. Fran McCaffery and Mark Turgeon each received one vote.
2016-17 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year: Ethan Happ - Wisconisn
This was another close vote, with Happ receiving 6 votes and Minnesota’s Reggie Lynch receiving five votes. Our own Dakota Mathias was also in the running here with three votes.
2016-17 Big Ten 6th Man of the Year: Nicholas Baer - Iowa
Baer was named the best 6th man on six ballots, while Purdue’s Isaac Haas came up just short here with five selections.