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Ohio State

Sullinger Big Ten's top rookie


Ohio State's Jared Sullinger was a unanimous selection for Big Ten Freshman of the Year.


COLUMBUS -- COLUMBUS — Six members of the Big Ten champion and No. 1 Ohio State men's basketball team were recognized Monday among the All-Big Ten men's basketball teams and award winners.

Jared Sullinger was a unanimous pick for Big Ten freshman of the year by the coaches and media and garnered All-Big Ten first-team, while fellow rookie Aaron Craft, a Liberty-Benton graduate, was named the sixth man of the year by the league coaches.

William Buford, a Libbey graduate, and David Lighty were named to the second team, while Jon Diebler was on the third team in both coaches and media voting.
Michigan's Darius Morris was named to the third team.

Purdue's JaJuan Johnson was named Big Ten player of the year and defensive player of the year, while the Boilermakers' Matt Painter was selected coach of the year.

"We are fortunate to play in a tremendous league with outstanding players," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "To have five of our top six players recognized with postseason honors is a tribute to their hard work."

Sullinger and Craft were each named to the all-freshman team, along with Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr.

Sullinger, the sixth Big Ten freshman of the year in Ohio State history, has led the Buckeyes in scoring (17.3 points per game) and rebounding (9.7 rebounds per game) while garnering conference freshman of the week honors 11 times.

"We are excited for Jared," Matta said. "We thought he had a great Big Ten season and is deserving of his spot on the first team. As for Aaron, the value of Aaron Craft for this team has been proven over the course of 31 games. He brings such value to this team and it's great for him to be recognized."

Craft, the third Buckeye to be named Big Ten sixth man of the year, came off the bench in 30 of 31 games and led the squad with 145 assists and 64 steals. He recorded three games with six or more steals. The freshman also received all-defensive team honors from the coaches and All-Big honorable mention from the media. Craft averaged about 30 minutes per game and tallied an average of 6.9 points while shooting 46 percent from the field (70 of 151).

"I was honestly surprised to hear I was named freshman of the year," Sullinger said. "There are a lot of talented freshman in the Big Ten."

Said Craft: "I am fortunate to play on a team full of incredibly talented players and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute this season."

Lighty, also an all-defensive team member, has started all 31 regular-season games, averaging 12.3 points with 4.1 rebounds, 104 total assists and 52 steals. Lighty holds the school record for most career wins with 123 victories.

As a fifth-year senior, Lighty became the third player in Ohio State history to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 300 assists. The Buckeye guard has played in 151 games.

Buford has started 30 games, averaging 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.0 assists and has scored in 94-consecutive games. The junior guard became the 47th player in Ohio State history to record 1,000 points (1,338). In 2011, Buford has scored in double-figures in 10 out of the last 11 Big Ten games and in 24 total games.

Diebler is averaging 12.3 points and 2.5 repounds with 76 total assists. Diebler holds the Big Ten career 3-point record with 355 from behind the arc. In 2011, Diebler is shooting 51 percent from 3-point range (95 of 186), putting him in the school record books as having the best single-season 3-point percentage — sixth in the NCAA. He has played in 138 games as a Buckeye, third all-time in school history.

Dallas Lauderdale was the Buckeyes' Big Ten sportsmanship award honoree after starting all 31 games, averaging 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest. Lauderdale's 205 career blocks rank third in program history.

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