JF

The Midwest had its first paralyzing blizzard, the part of the college football season that matters is over for a month, the Big Ten has a new logo, and the height of the non-conference college basketball season is over due to finals. We now should have a decent idea of  where teams and players stand and what to expect, so it seems like an opportune time to roll-out a new  feature, the Big Ten Awards Watch. Check back weekly for our picks for each of the major Big Ten Awards, as well the other contender. If we neglect to mention one of your picks, which is probable, let us know who we forgot and why they belong on one of the lists.

Player of the year

1. Demitri McCamey has long had the skills to be one of the best players in the country, but didn’t always have the interest or motivation to take that next step. Something finally clicked, and McCamey has been dominant this year with career highs in points per game, assists per game, blocks, field goal percentage and three point percentage and a career low in turnovers per game. I personally enjoyed the five year break from excellent Illinois point guards, but that break is over.

2. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

3. Jajuan Johnson, Purdue

4. Draymond Green, Michigan State

5. John Leuer, Wisconsin

Defensive player of the year:

1. Draymond Green shouldn’t fall to the same fate that Damian Johnson did a year ago when he was of the top stealers and shot blockers in the conference, especially since he is part of the premier basketball team in the conference. Green ranks second in the conference in steals at two per game and  is the 9th best shot blocker in the conference. Johnson looked like a defender. Green barely looks like a basketball player, but that hasn’t stopped him from being one of the best all around players in the conference. Remember young  hoopsters out there, playing smart can take you a long way, even if you aren’t as athletic as your opponents.

2. Dallas Lauderdale, Ohio State

3. Al Nolen, Minnesota

4. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue

5. Eric May, Iowa

Freshman of the year:

1. Jared Sullinger should have been the recipient of all the hype that was directed towards Harrison Barnes.  He ranks sixth in the conference in scoring, second in rebounding, third in field goal percentage,  and 15th in steals. He has four freshman of the week awards, and four double-doubles.

2. Jordan Morgan, Michigan

3. Deshawn Thomas, Ohio State

4. Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan

5. Melsahn Basabe, Iowa

Sixth man of the year

1. Draymond Green might be a bit of stretch for sixth man of the year, but he has only started half of his teams games. With Michigan State continuing to struggle, he’ll probably start more, unless Izzo isn’t nearly as brilliant as I think he is.

2. Stu Douglass

3. Deshaun Thomas

4. John Hart

5. Brandon Paul

Coach of the year

1. Bruce Weber couldn’t get his team to meet expectations last year. Somehow, he finally convinced his players to work together as a cohesive unit, and just like that they are exceeding expectations. The Illini are essentially the same team they were a year ago, when they backed in to the NIT. It might have taken Weber a year too long to get all the talented players in the right places, but now they have to be considered one of the favorites to win the Big Ten. It all starts on the defensive end, where the Illini have jumped from 300th in forcing turnovers to 61st.

2. Tubby Smith

3. Bill Carmody

4. John Beilein

5. Matt Painter

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