Michigan’s Stauskas named Big Ten Player of the Year
ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten men’s basketball All-Conference teams and individual award winners were announced on Monday, with Michigan’s Nik Stauskas earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors from the conference’s coaches and a media panel. Michigan head coach John Beilein claimed Coach of the Year laurels from the media while Nebraska head coach Tim Miles was named Coach of the Year by his peers. Indiana’s Noah Vonleh picked up Freshman of the Year accolades from the coaches and media. Ohio State’s Aaron Craft was named the Defensive Player of the Year while Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes was voted the Sixth Man of the Year by the coaches.
Stauskas takes home the Big Ten Player of the Year award after leading the conference with 13 games of 20 or more points. A four-time Big Ten Player of the Week this season, Stauskas ranked among the top five with 17.0 points per game and a .447 shooting percentage from three-point range in Big Ten contests only. The sophomore earns the fifth Player of the Year award in program history and the second in as many years for Michigan, following 2013 recipient Trey Burke.
Beilein led the Wolverines to their first outright Big Ten Championship since 1986. Michigan boasts a 23-7 overall record and a 15-3 mark in Big Ten play this season, marking the fourth consecutive year that Beilein has guided the Wolverines to a top-four finish in the conference standings. He is just four wins shy of his 700th career victory and five wins away from his 150th victory at Michigan. He collects his first Big Ten Coach of the Year award and the first for a Michigan coach since 1985.
Under the guidance of Miles, Nebraska posted a record of 11-7 in conference play, giving the Cornhuskers the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. With an overall record of 19-11, Nebraska is one victory shy of its first 20-win season since 2008. Miles claims his first Big Ten Coach of the Year award.
Vonleh is Indiana’s 10th Big Ten Freshman of the Year selection after becoming the first freshman to lead the conference in rebounding since Ohio State’s Greg Oden in 2006-07. Vonleh is the second Hoosier in the last three seasons to be named Freshman of the Year along with Cody Zeller in 2012. Vonleh averaged 11.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in Big Ten contests.
Craft collects Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year laurels after setting the conference record with 328 career steals. The 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Craft becomes the sixth conference player to win the award twice and gives the Buckeyes their fifth individual defensive honor. Craft led the conference with 2.7 steals and 4.6 assists per game this season in Big Ten play.
Hayes is averaging 8.0 points per game off the bench for Wisconsin and shooting 53 percent in all contests. He becomes Wisconsin’s second Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year and first since Jason Bohannon in 2008.
Stauskas was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and the media. He was joined on the first team for both the coaches and media by Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble, Michigan State’s Gary Harris, Nebraska’s Terran Petteway and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky.
Joining Vonleh and Hayes on the coaches’ All-Freshman Team were Illinois’ Kendrick Nunn, Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr., and Purdue’s Kendall Stephens. Craft was joined on the All-Defensive Team by his teammate Shannon Scott, Harris, Purdue’s A.J. Hammons and Wisconsin’s Josh Gasser.
The Big Ten also announced 12 Sportsmanship Award Honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. This season’s honorees are Illinois’ Joseph Bertrand, Indiana’s Will Sheehey, Iowa’s Mike Gesell, Michigan’s Jon Horford, Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine, Minnesota’s Austin Hollins, Nebraska’s Shavon Shields, Northwestern’s Drew Crawford, Ohio State’s Lenzelle Smith Jr., Penn State’s Tim Frazier, Purdue’s Travis Carroll and Wisconsin’s Ben Brust.