With the Big Ten regular season in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to hand out some awards.
It was a season dominated by three schools: Michigan State, Purdue and Ohio State. And those three schools dominate my postseason awards.
Keita Bates-Diop of Ohio State gets my nod for player of the year over Purdue’s Carsen Edwards. Bates-Diop seemingly came out of nowhere as a junior, as he played just nine games the year before because of injury. But he was No. 2 in the Big Ten in scoring (19.2 ppg) and was No. 2 in rebounding (8.9 rpg). Bates-Diop also was a top defender and leader on one of the nation’s most surprising teams.
Speaking of the Buckeyes, Chris Holtmann is the Big Ten coach of the year in my book, edging Nebraska’s Tim Miles. Holtmann didn’t arrive from Butler to OSU until June but still stitched together an NCAA team, going 24-7 overall and 15-3 in the Big Ten a year after the Buckeyes went 17-15 overall and 7-11 in the Big Ten.
Freshman of the year? That’s easy; it is Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson, who looks like another Chris Bosh. The 6-11 Jackson can play inside or outside, showing dominance in the paint with a 3-point touch. And he is a top rim protector, too, in helping the Spartans go 28-3 overall and 16-2 in the Big Ten en route to winning the Big Ten for the first time since 2012. Jackson averages 11.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and a Big Ten-leading 3.4 blocks.
ALL-BIG TEN (regardless of position)
Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State
Tony Carr, Penn State
James Palmer Jr., Nebraska
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Miles Bridges, Michigan State
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
Jordan Murphy, Minnesota
Vincent Edwards, Purdue
Moritz Wagner, Michigan
Nick Ward, Michigan State
Anthony Cowan, Maryland
Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Juwan Morgan, Indiana
Isaac Haas, Purdue
Jae’Sean Tate, Ohio State
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Jaren Jackson, Michigan State
COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris Holtmann, Ohio State