Draymond Green led the Spartans to a Big Ten regular season title.
F Draymond Green, Michigan State: 16.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 3.6 apg
Day-Day has done it all this season for the Spartans, and done it all well. Green is a shoo-in for first team All-America and is probably third in the race for national Player of the Year – behind Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. More on Green later.
F Jared Sullinger, Ohio State: 17.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.1 apg
Ohio State hasn’t had the dominant season many expected, but Sullinger has still had an outstanding season. The slimmed-down sophomore is hard to stop on offense. He is tied with John Shurna for the highest offensive rating (117.5) among Big Ten players who have used at least 24 percent of their teams’ possessions. He also ranks 13th in effective field goal percentage (56.7) and 11th in true shooting percentage (61.1). Sullinger has been one of the conference’s elite rebounders, ranking second in the Big Ten in both offensive (12.0) and defensive rebounding percentage (25.6). His defensive mark is good for 25th in the nation.
F John Shurna, Northwestern: 20.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.7 apg
As mentioned above, Shurna is tied with Sullinger for the highest offensive rating (117.5) in the conference. His shot may be ugly, but Shurna makes things happen on offense. The senior leads the Big Ten with 20.1 points per game, and ranks 15th in effective field goal percentage (56.3) and 14th in true shooting percentage (59.4). The 6-9 forward has excellent range, making .425 percent of his three-point attempts. Shurna has also been one of the Big Ten’s better shot-blockers, ranking seventh in block percentage (5.3).
F Robbie Hummel, Purdue: 16.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
It’s been odd watching Hummel play this season without his old running mates JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore (both are currently on the Boston Celtics). But despite playing without those stars and having to recover from two season-ending ACL injuries, Hummel has had a strong finish to his Purdue career. The 6-8 forward has the third best offensive rating (116.0) among Big Ten players who have used at least 24 percent of their teams’ possessions. The fifth-year senior leads the Boilermakers with 16.8 points per game, but Hummel has also been valuable on the defensive end. Hummel ranks fifth in the Big Ten in defensive rebounding percentage (20.8) and 10th in block percentage (4.7).
G Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin: 14.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.1 apg
Taylor came into the season as a preseason All-American, but he just squeaked onto the Big Ten’s postseason first team. It was a tough call between Taylor and Michigan freshman Trey Burke, and really, there isn’t a wrong choice. I gave Taylor the edge due to his aversion to turnovers, and the fact that the Badgers would be NIT bound, or worse, without him. Among Big Ten point guards, Taylor ranks fifth in assist rate (27.2) and first in turnover rate (12.0).
Michigan’s Trey Burke is one of two freshman on the second team.
F Cody Zeller, Indiana: 15.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg
F Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State: 15 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 apg
G Aaron Craft, Ohio State: 8.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 4.5 apg
G Trey Burke, Michigan: 14.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.8 apg
G Tim Frazier, Penn State: 18.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.3 apg
John Shurna gets all the attention in Evanston, but Drew Crawford has been great for the Wildcats.
F Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan: 14.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.3 apg
C Meyers Leonard, Illinois: 13.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg
G Drew Crawford, Northwestern: 16.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.1 apg
G Lewis Jackson, Purdue: 10.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.2 apg
G Matt Gatens, Iowa: 15.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 apg
Honorable Mention: William Buford, Ohio State; D.J. Byrd, Purdue; Keith Appling, Michigan State; Brandon Paul, Illinois; Branden Dawson, Michigan State
Player of the Year: Draymond Green, Michigan State
As one would expect from the nation’s best conference, there have been a lot of great individual performances in the Big Ten this season. However, picking Draymond Green as the conference’s player of the year was a no-brainer. Green has done everything for the Spartans this season, as evidenced by the number of categories in which he ranks among the top 20 in the Big Ten. The senior forward ranks seventh in offensive rating (108.3), 18th in offensive rebounding percentage (8.3), first in defensive rebounding percentage (27.1), 13th in assist rate (22.8), 16th in block percentage (3.2) and 10th in steal percentage (2.8).
Cody Zeller will lead the Hoosiers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008.
Freshman of the Year: Cody Zeller, Indiana
Trey Burke would be the best freshman in a lot of conferences across America, but Cody Zeller happens to also play in the Big Ten. Zeller has had a tremendous season for the Hoosiers, and it was hard leaving him off the first team. His offensive rating of 127.9 is first in the Big Ten and 12th in the nation among players who used at least 20 percent of his team’s possessions. Zeller has been an efficient scoring machine for Indiana. The freshman is the third in the Big Ten and 19th in the nation in effective field goal percentage (63.4), and first in the Big Ten and 10th in the nation in true shooting percentage (10th). He has also been a solid rebounder, ranking fifth among Big Ten players in offensive rebounding percentage (10.7) and 15th in defensive rebounding percentage (16.7). Zeller was also the Big Ten’s ninth best shot-blocker, posting a block percentage of 4.8.
Big Ten guards have nightmares about Aaron Craft.
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Craft, Ohio State
Craft might be the best on-ball defender in college basketball. The sophomore averages 2.41 steals per game and ranks first in the Big Ten and 16th in the nation in steal percentage (4.61). Craft’s defensive prowess is more than steals, he has the ability to take an opposing team’s best guard out of the game.
Izzo did it again and the Spartans are a final four contender.
Coach of the Year: Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Michigan State was unranked in pre-season polls, and after the Spartans started the season 0-2, expectations were low in East Lansing. But, Izzo did his thing – again – and the Spartans are now regular season Big Ten champs, ranked in the top-five and in line for a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament.