Beat writer Marcus Jackson submitted his All-Big Ten ballot Sunday. Here’s his take on the top awards:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Trey Burke, Michigan
The sophomore point guard flirted with the NBA draft last summer before deciding to come back. It has worked out well for him and the Wolverines, who ascended to No. 1 in the country briefly for the first time since the Fab Five was wearing baggy shorts in Ann Arbor 20 years ago. Burke is a favorite for the conference’s top honor as well as the various National Player of the Year awards after finishing second in the league in scoring and leading in assists.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Gary Harris, Michigan State
The silky smooth guard has rebounded nicely from an early-season shoulder injury. The three-time Freshman of the Week leads all Big Ten rookies in scoring (13.2 points per game). The Indianapolis-area product reached double figures in 10 of the last 11 games.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Tom Crean, Indiana
You might not like him, but you can’t argue with what Crean’s Hoosiers have done this season. They opened as the No. 1 team in the country, and while getting everyone’s best shot managed to win the Big Ten title outright for the first time since 1993 in the toughest and deepest Big Ten field in recent memory.
Trey Burke, Michigan; Victor Oladipo, Indiana; Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State; Adriean Payne, Michigan State; Cody Zeller, Indiana
— Four were no-brainers. Payne got the nod over Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe for the fifth spot on the team.