As always, the SB Nation all-Big Ten team is one of my favorite columns to organize. It is great to hear from the fellow SB Nation bloggers and their thoughts on Big Ten basketball. In addition to our usual H&R staff, this year we heard from the following contributors:
Kevin Knight - Corn Nation
Kyle Holderfield - Hammer & Rails
Kyle Thele - The Only Colors
Andrew Holmes - Hammer & Rails
Matt Belz - Bucky’s 5th Quarter
Tyler Hunt - Bucky’s 5th Quarter
Jace Jellison - Hammer & Rails
Ryan O’Bleness - The Only Colors
Drew Hamm - Bucky’s 5th Quarter
Tristan Kissack - The Champaign Room
Matt O’Neill - The Champaign Room
Aaron Breitman - On the Banks
Joseph Weinberg - InsideNU
Connor Lemons - Land-Grant Holyland
Thomas Beindit - BT Powerhouse
Thank you to everyone for submitting a ballot. This gives us a great baseline to work with. Without further ado, here are this year’s awards.
Big Ten Player of the Year: Luka Garza, Iowa
This was a unanimous selection across all 16 ballots. It is not a surprise, either. He led the conference in scoring at 23.9 points per game and was fourth in rebounding at 9.8 per game, just under a double-double.
Big Ten Freshman of the Year: Kofi Cockburn - Illinois
The Illini will make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013 and Cockburn is a major reason why. Just seeing twice against Purdue convinced me, as the Boilers struggled big time to contain him. Cockburn received 9 of the 15 votes, with the other seven going to Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis. TJD is a worth selection and would have been higher if we wasn’t criminally underused by Archie Miller.
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year: Xavier Tillman - Michigan State
We have a tie! Tillman and Oturu each received six votes while Zavier Simpson, Mike Watkins, and Jamari Wheeler each received one. If you had a team with Oturu and Tillman in the spot you’re not scoring much on them at all. (Ed Note: Thomas Beindit of BT Powerhouse submitted a late ballot and broke the tie in favor of Tillman.)
Big Ten Coach of the Year: Brad Underwood, Illinois
This was very, very diversified with Underwood receiving five votes, Greg Gard and Steve Pikiell getting four, and Fran McCaffery, Pat Chambers, and Mark Turgeon each receiving one. To me, Underwood was solid, but Pikiell basically resurrected a program from the dead.
Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year: Micah Potter, Wisconsin
This one is always varied with most blogs voting for a favored son. Potter received four votes with Andres Feliz receiving two. The funniest vote went to Archie Miller, who had to be physically moved off the court by an official in the Purdue game in West Lafayette.
First Team All-Big Ten
Luka Garza - Iowa (48 points)
Cassius Winston - Michigan State (47 points)
Daniel Oturu - Minnesota (42 points)
Lamar Stevens - Penn State (41 points)
Anthony Cowan Jr. - Maryland (40 points)
Due to a tie for the fifth spot we get six First Team selections. Garza is the lone unanimous first teamer, as the overall balance in the Big Ten is shown here. I don’t think you’ll fine many arguments with these. (Ed. Note: Thomas’ vote broke this tie as well.)
Second Team All-Big Ten
Jalen Smith - Maryland (39 points)
Ayo Dosunmu - Illinois (37 points)
Xavier Tillman - Michigan State (31 points)
Kaleb Wesson - Ohio State (28 points)
Zavier Simpson - Michigan (26 points)
Pretty solid team here. Dosunmu could be completely dominant at times and is a POTY candidate if he returns next year.
Third Team All-Big Ten
Joe Wieskamp - Iowa (18 points)
Marcus Carr - Minnesota (15 points)
Kofi Cockburn - Illinois (13 points)
Trayce Jackson-Davis - Indiana (12 points)
Myreon Jones - Penn State (8 points)
It says something about Minnesota that they finished 12th in the league with two of the best 15 players.
Ron Harper Jr. - Rutgers, Nate Reuvers - Wisconsin, Geo Baker - Rutgers, Trevion Williams - Purdue, Connor McCaffery - Iowa, Gabe Kalscheur - Minnesota, Cam Mack - Nebraska, Jon Teske - Michigan, Mike Watkins - Penn State
All of these players received at least one Third Team selection. Tre is the only Purdue player even getting a mention anywhere, as he closed with five points.