Running Hammer & Rails is a lot of fun, and this time of year it is a special joy as I get to do two of my favorite things: collect the SB Nation all-Big Ten teams and attend the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. This year I will not be doing the latter, as Jace will be going in my place with the site media credential, but I do get to do the former. It is a banner year, too, as we have 24 voters across 13 of the SB Nation Big Ten sites:
BT Powerhouse - Thomas Beindit
Bucky’s 5th Quarter - Drew Hamm
The Champaign Room - Jeff Horwitz, Matt O’Neill, Michael Berns, Tristan Kissack, Drew Pastorek, Anthony Pasquale
Corn Nation - Patrick Gerhart
Crimson Quarry - Mike Miller
The Daily Gopher - Steve (Zips of Akron), Street
Hammer & Rails - Travis Miller, Jace Jellison, Kyle Holderfield, Andrew Holmes
InsideNU - Daniel Olinger, Meredith Revsine
Land-Grant Holyland - Connor Lemons
Maize N’ Brew - Anthony Broome
The Only Colors - Ryan O’Bleness
On the Banks - Aaron Breitman
Testudo Times - Lila Bromberg
That is by far the largest contingent of voters we have ever had since I started doing this.
SB Nation Big Ten Player of the Year: Luka Garza - Iowa
Officially, Garza is the repeat winner here, but it was much closer than last year when he was the unanimous selection across 16 ballots. This year he received 15 votes to nine for Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois. This officially makes Garza the first two-time SBNation Big Ten Player of the Year.
SB Nation Big Ten Freshman of the Year: Hunter Dickinson - Michgian
Even with four voters from Hammer & Rails, with our absolute love for Jaden Ivey, Dickinson was a unanimous selection for this award. He was dominant all season long and likely would have been First Team all-Big Ten if not for the the strength of the league at the center position.
SB Nation Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Johnson - Rutgers
There was fierce debate over this, with 12 different players receiving at least one vote. In the end it came down to a choice between perimeter defense and post defense. Johnson received 6 votes and our own Eric Hunter Jr. got 4. Kofi Cockburn, Franz Wagner, Trent Frazier, and Gabe Kalscheur each got 2 votes. Darryl Morsell, Aaron Henry, Luka Garza, Liam Robbins, Jacob Young, and Eli Brooks each got one.
SB Nation Big Ten Coach of the Year: Juwan Howard - Michigan
Howard received 16 of a possible 24 votes, winning the award handily as the other eight were split amongst Brad Underwood (4 votes), Matt Painter (3 votes), and Chris Holtmann (1 vote).
As far as the actual all-Big Ten teams, this year’s team was interesting, to say the least. The absolute wealth of dominant big men has made for some unconventional lineups. On our first team alone you have three centers, but we’re trying to award the league’s best players, not form conventional lineups. The methodology was simple: Each player with a First Team vote received 3 points, a Second Team vote was worth two, and a Third Team was worth one. Here we go:
SB Nation First Team all-Big Ten
Ayo Dosunmu - Illinois - 72 points (Unanimous selection)
Luka Garza - Iowa - 72 points (Unanimous Selection)
Kofi Cockburn - Illinois - 64 points
Trayce Jackson-Davis - Indiana - 63 points
E.J. Liddell - Ohio State - 62 points
That is quite the lineup that won’t get much three-point shooting done, but they are extremely talented at their own positions. I suppose if you were trying to have this as a conventional lineup you would have Dosunmu at the point, TJD at the three, and Garza at the four. There would be physically no room at all in the paint.
Also, as far as I know, Garza becomes the first TWO time First Team player since I started doing this. Dosunmu was a Second Team selection last year and both Jackson-Davis and Cockburn were Third Team selections. Liddell makes a big jump from not receiving votes last year to First Team.
SB Nation Second Team all-Big Ten
Trevion Williams - Purdue - 52 points
Marcus Carr - Minnesota - 51 points
Hunter Dickinson - Michigan - 45 points
Isaiah Livers - Michigan - 36 points
Joe Weiskamp - Iowa - 36 points
Weiskamp makes a jump from Third Team to Second Team this year, as does Carr. Dickinson obviously is a newcomer, while Trevion Williams received votes last season. Livers did not.
SB Nation Third Team all-Big Ten
Aaron Henry - Michigan State - 29 points
Duane Washington - Ohio State - 25 points
Franz Wagner - Michigan - 25 points
Ron Harper Jr. - Rutgers - 20 points
D’Mitrik Trice - Wisconsin - 17 points
This is a pretty solid Third Team, and Harper was the only one that received votes last year as well. League champ Michigan had three of the best 15 players in the league by this metric, while Iowa, Ohio State, and Illinois each had 2.
The following players all received at least a Third Team nod on one ballot:
Teddy Allen - Nebraska (9 points), Myreon Jones - Penn State (6 points), Eric Ayala - Maryland (6 points), Donta Scott - Maryland (5 points), Myles Johnson - Rutgers (4 points), Jacob Young - Rutgers (4 points), Micah Potter - Wisconsin (3 points), Kyle Young - Ohio State (3 points), Jordan Bohannon - Iowa (3 points), Mike Smith - Michigan (2 points), Liam Robbins - Minnesota (2 points), CJ Fredrick - Iowa (1 point), Trent Frazier - Illinois (1 point), Aaron Wiggins - Maryland (1 point), Eli Brooks - Michigan (1 point)
As always, a big thank you to my fellow writers for this. It is a lot of a work, but a lot of fun to track this all down.