Men's Basketball Postseason Honors
March 6, 2017
ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference unveiled the men's basketball All-Conference teams and individual award winners on Monday night on BTN Live.
Purdue's Caleb Swanigan earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors from the conference's coaches and a media panel, and was a unanimous selection by the coaches. Minnesota's Richard Pitino claimed Coach of the Year laurels from both the media and his peers. Michigan State's Miles Bridges picked up Freshman of the Year accolades in both ballots. Minnesota's Reggie Lynch was named the Defensive Player of the Year and Iowa's Nicholas Baer was voted the Sixth Man of the Year by the coaches.
Swanigan earns the Big Ten Player of the Year award after pacing the conference with 18.9 points and 12.6 rebounds per game in conference games. He became the first player to lead the Big Ten in scoring and rebounds in conference games since Ohio State's Evan Turner in 2009-10. Swanigan becomes the fourth player in Purdue history to earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors and the first since JaJaun Johnson in 2010-11.
Pitino led the Gophers to a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament with an 11-7 conference record, and a total of 23 wins, which ties the school record. Minnesota, which won eight of its last nine Big Ten games, is the NCAA's most improved team from the 2015-16 campaign. Pitino becomes the second Minnesota mentor to earn Big Ten Coach of the Year honors and the first since Jim Dutcher in 1981-82.
In conference games only, Bridges ranked fifth in the Big Ten in scoring (16.6 ppg), sixth in rebounding (8.1 rpg) and fifth in blocks (1.7 bpg). He has posted seven double-doubles entering the Big Ten Tournament. Bridges, who was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week five times, becomes the Spartans' second Freshman of the Year selection and first since Gary Harris in 2012-13.
Lynch collects Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year laurels after leading the Big Ten in blocks in overall games (3.5) and conference games only (3.7). Lynch posted 11 blocks against Penn State on Feb. 25, the second-highest total in conference history for a Big Ten game. He becomes the second Gopher to claim Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year recognition, and the first since Travarus Bennett in the 2001-02 season.
Baer is the only reserve in the Big Ten with more than 200 points, at least 175 rebounds, 35 or more blocks and at least 40 steals. He became the first player in the NCAA Division I ranks this season to amass at least 200 points, 35 or more blocks, at least 40 steals and 35 made three-point field goals. Baer becomes the third Hawkeye to claim Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year honors, joining Doug Thomas in 2005-06 and Gabriel Olaseni in 2014-15.
The Big Ten also announced 14 Sportsmanship Award Honorees. The students chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, they must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. This season's honorees are Illinois' Malcolm Hill, Indiana's Collin Hartman, Iowa's Nicholas Baer, Maryland's Damonte Dodd, Michigan's Zak Irvin, Michigan State's Eron Harris, Minnesota's Bakary Konaté, Nebraska's Jordy Tshimanga, Northwestern's Sanjay Lumpkin, Ohio State's C.J. Jackson, Penn State's Payton Banks, Purdue's Jon McKeeman, Rutgers' Mike Williams and Wisconsin's Vitto Brown.
The complete list of All-Conference honorees and individual award winners can be found here: 2016-17 Big Ten Honors