As the 2010-2011 college basketball season comes to an end, I thought it would be a good idea to name who I believe the Big Ten’s most exceptional players are… So here it is! (Keep in mind i am mixing it up, not just picking Jared Sullinger for all even if he is the best).
Freshman of the Year (not counting Sullinger): Tim Hardaway Jr.- Tim Hardaway Jr. has been blowing up for the Wolverines as of late. The 6-5 combo guard out of Miami has played consistent all year and always has Wolverine fans at the edge of their seats. Hardaway is averaging 13.2 PPG and has scored in double digits in 20-28 games this season. Hardaway became big news to me after his recent 30 point effort in the Wolverines OT win vs. Iowa. Beilein got a good one here people. Oh, and his dad played in the NBA.
Defensive Player of the Year: Delvon Roe- In my opinion, Delvon Roe could cover any big man in the nation. besides constantly being praised by the national analysts, (Bilas, Vitale, Davis) Roe has backed up the talk by shutting down opposing big men all season. Roe’s best defensive effort of the year was in the Spartan’s home win vs. Wisconsin, where he held Jon Luer to 10 points (his average is 19.2 PPG). Roe also had a strong performance against Duke, where he successfully covered Kyle Singler to perfection. Roe also had a 5 block game earlier in the season vs. Northwestern. Remember, defense is more than just stats and Roe is as good as a defender i have seen at Michigan State since Antonio Smith.
Most Valuable Player to his team: Taylor Battle- This one to me is quite obvious and Battle may end his career as the best Penn State basketball Player of all time. Last season, Taylor Battle led the Nittany Lions in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. This season, Battle has not disappointed and has averaged 20.7 PPG, 3.1 APG and 4.5 RPG. Battle has also had 3 games this season where he has scored over 30 points. Battle caught my eye his freshman year where he scored 17 points in a win over my Spartans and he has continued to be a Spartan killer in his career (29 points in a win over MSU his sophmore year/19 points and game winning shot in win over MSU this year). Taylor, you are the man.
Best Seniors: Kalin Lucas, Jajuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, David Lighty and Demeteri McCamey.
Kalin Lucas- Kalin Lucas has cemented himself as one of the best 4 year players in MSU history. Kalin came in as a freshmen and took away minutes from former first team All American Drew Neitzel, Won Big Ten player of the year his sophomore season and received first team All Big Ten accolades his Junior season before injuring his achilles tendon in the NCAA tourney. Kalin has also been putting the Spartan’s on his back as of late (averaging 21.8 PPG in his past seven games). If Michigan State wants any chance at making a run, Lucas must be on his game.
JaJuan Johnson- Johnson is currently the leading scorer in the Big Ten with 20.7 PPG and also leads the conference in blocks with 2.3 per contest. Johnson also pulls down rebounds and is averaging 7.8 RPG. Long story short, JuJaun made the right decision coming back to college and should be a lock in the first round of this years draft.
E’Twaun Moore- Did anyone catch Purdue’s game vs. Ohio State today? Well if you didn’t, Moore dropped a career high 38 points in a convincing Boilermaker victory over Ohio State. Moore has been outstanding in his 4 years in West Lafayette and has been crucial for Purdue after the loss of Robbie Hummel. As long as Moore is on, I expect a late run out of Purdue.
David Lighty- Lighty is the lone remaining member of Thad Matta’s renown class known as the “Thad Five”, which consisted of Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook and Othello Hunter. While all the other members of this group are off to careers in the NBA, Lighty has been the definition of a “program player” for Ohio State. Lighty will end his Ohio State career as a Buckeye Legend.
Demeteri McCamey- Demeteri McCamey has done it all for the Illini in his outstanding four year career. McCamey is unlike most point guards due to the fact he is so much stronger than his counterparts. Along with his strength, McCamey has a smooth touch from the outside and plays some mean defense. McCamey is averaging 14.5 PPG, 6.2 APG and 3.3 RPG.
Best Shooter: Jon Diebler- Jon Diebler is that white boy that I wish Michigan State could lock up. The kid straight up hits every open shot he takes and has a very quick release time which allows him to get his shots off in what seems to be a mili second. By the way, Diebler is the Big Ten’s all time 3 point leader sinking 331 in his career.
Coach of the year: John Beilein- As much as I hate to say it, Beilein finally has the pieces to fit his puzzle. While this Michigan team may not be as talented as last years (manny/deshawn), Beilein has found the right players for his system and they are connecting. The Wolverines currently have 17 wins and have a strong chance at making the tournament. Funny thing is, I picked them to finish LAST in the conference this year. Hell of a job this year John.
Runner up player of the year: Jordan Taylor- Jordan Taylor has been Mr. Clutch for the Badgers this season. Taylor proved he is worthy of player of the year a few weeks ago when he posted 30 points at home vs. Michigan State and then almost made that performance forgettable by scoring 27 points in an upset of #1 Ohio State (at the time). In any other year, Taylor WOULD BE the player of the year. However, this isn’t a normal year.
Player Of The Year: Jared Sullinger- Not only is Jared Sullinger the best player in the Big Ten, he is the best player in the nation. With the worlds most powerful butt, Sullinger has the ability to back down anyone in the NCAA as a freshmen. Sullinger is averaging 17.8 PPG, 10 RPG and is the main reason Ohio State has been so successful this season. Sullinger is also a class act of the court and has the tendency to re-tweet people back on Twitter! Jared Sullinger has the possibility to win Big Ten POY, the James Naismith award (National POY), lead the Buckeyes to a National Championship and become the first overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft. Big Ten nation salutes you Jared.