Which Terps have a shot at Big Ten honors?


Feb 24, 2015; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Melo Trimble (2) is congratulated by guard Dez Wells (44) in the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

As the Big Ten season winds down, it’s time we turn our attention to how the all-conference teams will play out. Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky appears to have Big Ten Player of the Year locked up, especially after his 31-point performance against Michigan State on Sunday. Kaminsky isn’t just deserving of Big Ten honors, but he is also deserving of winning the Naismith Award for the top college basketball player. After Kaminsky though, who else will receive Big Ten honors and what Terrapins could make the list?

One of the best races to watch this season has been Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The Big Ten season started with Indiana’s James Blackmon, Maryland’s Melo Trimble, and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell chasing the award. As the season has progressed, Trimble and Russell have consistently stayed at the front of the pack with Blackmon contributing big games throughout. Russell has seemingly led the entire way, with him even entering the conversation for Big Ten Player of the Year.

Over the past five games, Russell opened the door back up for Trimble to get into the conversation and Trimble has answered the call with big games against Indiana, Penn State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Trimble is fifth in scoring in Big Ten play, but at the top of most lists is Russell. The Ohio State freshman has had an incredible year and looks poised to be the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and to be on the All Big Ten First Team.

After Russell and Kaminsky, the rest of the First Team for the Big Ten appears to be a mess. Trimble is certainly in the mix, but so is Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell who has improved his efficiency, passing, and turnovers this season. Both players mean a lot to their team and are responsible for the success they have been having. It’s tough call between the two, but it is possible to fit both of them on the first team line. You can find separation between Ferrell and Trimbe in assists and assists to turnover ratio, but it’s hardly enough to say that one deserves the nod over the other. Yogi has better assists numbers in conference, but Trimble has led his team to a better record. I would put both of them on the first team along with Kaminsky and Russell.

The final spot on the first team is between A.J. Hammons of Purdue, Iowa’s Aaron White, and Michigan State’s Branden Dawson. Before looking at the number’s closely, White stood out because of his scoring, which is 15.7 in conference compared to 12.8 and 12.7 from Dawson and Hammons. All three in tops in the league in field goal shooting, but Hammons and Dawson are shooting an unbelievable 62.3 percent and 58.4 percent respectively. Not that White’s 50.7 percent is low, but Hammons and Dawson are making almost everyone of their shots count. White’s scoring kept him alive in this race, but he was knocked out when considering that Hammons and Dawson are first and second in the league in blocks. With little to separate Hammons and Dawson, I used the large margin in rebounding to give Dawson the nod into the first team.

First Team

F – Frank Kaminsky; Wisconsin (POY)

F- Branden Dawson; Michigan State

G – D’Angelo Russell; Ohio State (FOY)

G – Yogi Ferrell; Indiana

G – Melo Trimble; Maryland

With Dawson getting the nod for the first team that pushed Hammons and White down to the second team. Not bad for either player considering that one forward positioned was locked up already with the eventual national player of the year. Joining them on the second team is Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker at the third forward position. Dekker has taken a back seat at times on a Badger’s team with a lot of options. The guard spots for the second team were tricky with a couple of different options. Michigan State’s season has been up and down, but both Dawson and Travis Trice have been having a great year. Trice is top ten in points and made three pointers, and top five in steals, assists, and assists to turnover ratio in conference play. He could have made a run at first team, but I think the role that Melo played in Maryland’s success should be rewarded.

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  • Trice clearly stood out for the first guard spot, and the second spot was much tougher. Maryland’s Dez Wells, James Blackmon Jr. of Indiana, and Malcolm Hill of Illinois were under consideration. Penn State’s DJ Newbill is having a great year, but I can’t put someone on the second team whose team isn’t even on the NIT bubble. There is a clear Maryland bias, but Dez Wells has played an important role in Maryland being the second best team in the Big Ten. There is no category for big plays in a game, but Dez has had several throughout the year. His 14.9 points per game and 51.5% three-point shooting in conference help give him the nod over Blackmon Jr. and Hill.

    Second Team

    F – A.J. Hammons; Purdue

    F – Sam Dekker; Wisconsin

    F – Aaron White; Iowa

    G – Travis Trice; Michigan State

    G – Dez Wells; Maryland

    Third team all conference was a fun race to track as I included the players getting good numbers on bad teams into consideration. This helped to give DJ Newbill one of the guard spots. From the second team discussion, I pushed Malcolm Hill and James Blackmon Jr. to the third team. Hill picked up the load when Rayvonte Rice was suspended and injured, and has Illinois in the NCAA Tournament picture. Blackmon Jr. came in with the reputation of being a great shooter, and he has lived up to that but another area that he is impacting the game is on the glass. At 5.2 rebounds per game, he ranks top twenty in conference play, which is impressive for a guard.

    Joining his teammate on the third team, Troy Williams has had an under the radar great freshman season at Indiana. The Hoosiers aren’t known for their post play, but Williams has been able to make a big impact in the fast pace small ball system. At 6’7” and just over 200lbs. he has made an impressive impact on the glass and ranks third in rebounding.

    No All Big Ten team would be complete without a Wisconsin player, and for the third team I took Nigel Hayes. An efficient 52% shooting in conference play ranks eighth and at 12.3 points per game he ranks twenty six in scoring. Also under consideration were Kadeem Jack from Rutgers and Illinois’s Nnanna Egwu. Jack and Hayes have similar numbers, but I took the efficiency of Hayes over Jack’s rebounding ability. Egwu has been a beast on defense, but there wasn’t enough offense to justify him being ahead of either Hayes or Jack.

    Third Team

    F – Nigel Hayes; Wisconsin

    F – Troy Williams; Indiana

    G – James Blackmon Jr.; Indiana

    G – Malcolm Hill; Illinois

    G – D.J. Newbill; Penn State

    Finally, to close things out the All Freshman team, which includes many of the same players already mentioned. This should serve as a warning sign to the conference to cut out the nonsense of sitting freshman out for a year. This year and every other year, freshman will have a key role on several teams in conference.

    Freshman Team

    G – D’Angelo Russell; Ohio State (FOY)

    G – Melo Trimble; Maryland

    G – James Blackmon Jr.; Indiana

    F- Troy Williams; Indiana

    F – Isaac Haas; Purdue

    There are still a couple of games left, which means that I could be eating my words on several of these selections. For the most part though, these players deserve to be recognized in some form this year. As long as Russell and Kaminsky are on the first team, I don’t think the conference could make many mistakes with the All Big Ten teams.

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