End of the year awards for the Big Ten will be handed out tonight (the award show can be seen at 7 p.m. on the Big Ten Network), but before the coaches and media selections are announced, here are my picks for Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Freshman of the Year and 1st and 2nd team All-Big Ten teams.
Player of the year: Draymond Green, Michigan State — Green was the heart and soul of the Spartans all season and the senior forward was the only player in the conference to average a double-double for the season with 16.2 points and 10.3 boards per game. Green really did it all for Michigan State — which shared the Big Ten regular season crown with Ohio State and Michigan — as he lead the team in blocks, steals and minutes played as well as points and rebounds.
Coach of the year: Tom Izzo, Michigan State — This pick isn’t quite as easy as it would’ve been a week ago — as Izzo and the Spartans had two opportunities to get a W in the last week which would’ve given MSU the outright regular season conference title — but Izzo has still done a phenomenal job in East Lansing this season. This wasn’t supposed to be the year for the Spartans, who started the season unranked, but Izzo and company fought their way to the top of the Big Ten standings. Izzo pulled a lot of the right strings on a team that returned only two starters from a season ago. After kicking former starter Korie Lucious off the team after he repeatedly broke team rules and Izzo instilled a lot of trust in Draymond Green which panned out well. And who knows, another one of those Michigan State Final Four runs could be in the works again in 2012.
Freshman of the year: Trey Burke, Michigan — Burke emerged as a star for the Wolverines in his first season in Ann Arbor. The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 14.6 points per game and was second in the conference in assists, dropping 4.6 dimes a contest. Many would argue Cody Zeller should win this award since he has better numbers (15.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg and a 63.5 shooting percentage), but Burke was the best player on a Michigan team that shared the Big Ten regular season championship and he made big shots in big moments.
First Team All-Big Ten
Draymond Green (senior forward, Michigan State) — See above.
Jared Sullinger (sophomore forward, Ohio State) — Entering the season, Sullinger was in POY talks for not just the Big Ten, but the entire country. While the sophomore didn’t have the breakout, monster-type season that some were expecting, he still posted big numbers for a good Ohio State team. His stats were actually a little bit down from last season (2010-11: 17.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg; 2011-2012: 16.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg) but getting 16 and nine in the Big Ten is still quite an accomplishment.
Trey Burke (Fr. guard, Michigan) — See above.
Tim Frazier (Jr. guard, Penn State) — I don’t care that the Nittany Lions had only four conferences wins, Tim Frazier deserves to be recognized for the outstanding season he had. His numbers alone speak for themselves (18.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.3 apg), and Frazier is either first or second in the conference in scoring, assists, steals and minutes played. Frazier led the league in assists with his teammates combining to shoot 38.4 percent from the floor and on top of that he was second in the Big Ten in scoring. I may be a little biased here because I had the privilege to watch Frazier all season, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind he should make the first team.
Robbie Hummel (Sr. forward, Purdue) — Robbie Hummel is one of the more interesting stories in the Big Ten. After having tearing and having surgery on his right ACL twice in less than two years, Hummel returned to the floor in the 2011-12 campaign. Hummel had a solid season and was fourth in the conference in both scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg). And with the Boilermakers’ NCAA Tournament hopes in question in mid-February, Hummel stepped up when it mattered; averaging 22.6 points per game in Purdue’s final seven contests.
Second Team All-Big Ten
John Shurna (Sr. forward, Northwestern) — 19.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 80 made 3-pointers
Jordan Taylor (Sr. guard, Wisconsin) — 14.6 ppg, 4.1 apg, 2.6 assist/turnover ratio
Cody Zeller (Fr. forward, Indiana) —15.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 63.5 field goal %
William Buford (Sr. guard, Ohio State) — 15.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
Matt Gatens (Sr. guard, Iowa) — 15.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 48.2 field goal %