June 26, 2011
[ONE // northwestern’s smith, purdue’s boudia named big ten’s best]
Northwestern lacrosse player Shannon Smith and Purdue diver David Boudia were named the Suzy Favor Female and Jesse Owens Male Big Ten Athletes of the Year, respectively, the conference office announced on Monday. The Big Ten Athletes of the Year were selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution. Smith is the second Northwestern lacrosse player in the last four years to collect the Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year Award and the fourth Wildcat overall to take home the honor. A junior from West Babylon, N.Y., Smith won both major national lacrosse awards, winning the Tewaaraton Award and the Lacrosse Honda Sports Award. She was named NCAA Championship MVP after scoring the game-winning goals in the semifinal and championship contests, leading the Wildcats to their sixth national title in seven years. A three-time NCAA Diver of the Year, Boudia is the first diver to be named Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year and the second Boilermaker to earn the accolade, following basketball player Glenn Robinson in 1994. A junior from Noblesville, Ind., Boudia has won six NCAA titles in his career, including championships in the 1-meter and 3-meter in 2011. The Big Ten Conference has recognized a Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year since 1982 when Indiana's Jim Spivey earned the inaugural award. The following year, a women's award was created. In 1991-92, as part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of women's athletics in the conference, the women's award was renamed in honor of former Wisconsin track standout and three-time recipient Suzy Favor.
[TWO // and the other winners are…]
The Big Ten Network recognized the best of Big Ten sports in 2010-11 with the fourth annual BTN Awards Show on Monday night. Mike Hall and Rick Pizzo hosted the one-hour show, which featured the Suzy Favor Female and Jesse Owens Male Big Ten Athletes of the Year awards as well as several others. Congratulations to all the winners, including Penn State wrestling’s Cael Sanderson (Men’s Coach of the Year), Wisconsin ice hockey’s Mark Johnson (Women’s Coach of the Year), Michigan football’s Denard Robinson (Breakout Performer of the Year & Most Dominating Performance), Minnesota football’s Jon Hoese (Most Courageous Performance), Penn State wrestling (Men’s Team of the Year) and Penn State volleyball (Women’s Team of the Year). Two football contests were also recognized. The Sept. 18 contest of Notre Dame at Michigan State was tabbed Best Finish, while Illinois at Michigan on Nov. 6 was selected as Game of the Year.
[THREE // five hoops stars to play on the bigger stage]
Five former Big Ten men’s basketball players were selected in the 2011 NBA Draft this past Thursday, marking the conference’s highest draft total since 2007. Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson was the first Big Ten player selected, going with the 27th overall pick in the first round to the New Jersey Nets. His rights were later traded to the Boston Celtics. Johnson will be joined in Boston by Purdue teammate E’Twaun Moore, who was taken in the second round, 55th overall, by the Celtics. Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer and Michigan’s Darius Morris went back-to-back in the second round with the 40th and 41st overall selections. Leuer stayed local, taken by the Milwaukee Bucks, while Morris was picked by his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. Ohio State’s Jon Diebler was also taken in the second round, selected 51st overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.
[FOUR // making the team]
USA Basketball announced this past Thursday its official roster for the USA U19 World Championship Team, which features three Big Ten standouts. The 12-man USA squad, led by Illinois' Meyers Leonard, Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. and Michigan State's Keith Appling, will look to defend the gold medal won by the U.S. in 2009 at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship. View the official release by clicking here.
[FIVE // big ten trio among the wnba’s all-time best]
This past Tuesday the WNBA released its list of 30 current and former players that are finalists for the WNBA's top 15 players of all time. Three former Big Ten standouts are among the 30 finalists, including Iowa’s Tangela Smith, Ohio State’s Katie Smith, and Purdue’s Katie Douglas. Big Ten fans can log on to wnba.com to vote for their favorite through July 14. Voting will also take place among the national media and current players and coaches. The top 15 will be announced at the All-Star Game July 23 in San Antonio.
[SIX // five female standouts honored for academics]
Five Big Ten student-athletes earned spots on the Capital One Academic All-America Women's Track & Field and Cross Country teams, it was announced last Wednesday. Indiana's Vera Neuenswander received first-team honors, while teammate Faith Sherrill and Michigan's Kaitlyn Peale earned second-team laurels. The Hoosiers' Chelsea Blanchard and Sarah Pease picked up third-team accolades to round out the group of Big Ten honorees.
[SEVEN // on the track, in the classroom]
On the men’s side, three Big Ten men's cross country and track and field student-athletes were named Capital One Academic All-Americans, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced on Tuesday. Penn State's Ryan Foster earned first-team status, while Indiana's Andy Bayer and Wisconsin's Elliot Krause picked up third-team laurels.
[EIGHT // all-american boys]
Three Big Ten men's golfers earned All-America recognition from Golfweek, the publication announced on Monday. Illinois' Luke Guthrie was tabbed a first-team All-American, while Iowa's Vince India was chosen as a second-team honoree. Michigan's Lion Kim earned honorable mention recognition. In addition, the same three players were honored as PING All-Americans by the GCAA this past week. Illinois’ Guthrie was tabbed a first-teamer, while Iowa’s India and Michigan’s Kim were selected to the third team. Three other Big Ten golfers – Illinois’ Chris DeForest, Iowa’s Chris Brant, and Northwestern’s David Lipsky – were named as honorable mentions.
[NINE // amazing in blue]
Staying on the golf links, congratulations to Chris Whitten, who was promoted last Thursday to head men’s golf coach at Michigan. Whitten replaces Andrew Sapp, who left to become the head coach at his alma mater, North Carolina. Whitten served as the Wolverines’ assistant coach for the past five years. Over the last two seasons, Whitten was a finalist for the Jan Strickland Award, given to the top assistant coach in all NCAA divisions. Throughout Whitten's tenure, U-M has posted eight tournament wins and five Wolverines have won eight medalist honors. Michigan has earned NCAA regional bids each of the last four seasons and won the program's first team regional title at the 2011 NCAA Central Regional. U-M also advanced to the NCAA Championships in two of the last three years.
[TEN // all hail amonte hiller]
We started the week by giving a nod to Northwestern lacrosse player Shannon Smith, who was tabbed as the Big Ten’s top female athlete of the year. Now we tip the cap to her coach, Kelly Amonte Hiller, who for the third time in four years and the fourth time overall, was named the recipient of the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division I National Coach of the Year award. Amonte Hiller previously received the honor in 2005, 2008 and 2009. In winning the NCAA title for the sixth time in seven years -- and reaching its seventh-straight national title game -- Amonte Hiller's club finished 21-2, with nearly half of those wins (10) coming against top-10-ranked opponents.
[ELEVEN // things are about to change]
Finally this week, it’s the end of an era in Big Ten history and the start of a new one. We close this week with 11 schools, but by the end of the upcoming week, we’ll conclude it having 12 members of the Big Ten Conference. On Friday, July 1, the Big Ten will officially induct Nebraska into the conference, more than a year after announcing its decision on conference expansion on June 11 of last year. The addition of Nebraska marks the Big Ten's first expansion since Penn State joined the conference in June of 1990 and increases Big Ten membership to 12 institutions for the first time in conference annals. This upcoming Friday, the Big Ten Network will help introduce the Huskers by airing the 1998 Orange Bowl (1 p.m. ET) and the 1995 Orange Bowl game (4:30 p.m. ET) as part of the BTN’s show "The Big Ten's Greatest Games." Ahman Green played in the 1998 game and he joins the BTN for an exclusive two-hour online chat during that show. Then at 4:30 p.m. Tommie Frazier joins us for a second two-hour chat during the 1995 Orange Bowl airing, too. If you are on Twitter, be sure to use #NebraskaDays so your questions will be ready for submission!