Michigan basketball star Nik Stauskas was named Big Ten player of the year while a pair of northwest Ohio natives claimed top conference honors tonight.
Ohio State senior guard Aaron Craft, a Liberty-Benton graduate, earned recognition as the league’s defensive player of the year. Wisconsin freshman forward and Whitmer graduate Nigel Hayes was sixth man of the year.
Craft became the sixth player in Big Ten history to twice claim the top defensive award and just the second to be named to the league’s all-defensive team four straight years. Purdue’s Chris Kramer made the team from 2007-10.
Craft, who averaged a league-leading 2.7 steals and 4.6 assists during Big Ten games this season and on Sunday became the league’s all-time steals leader with 328, was also named to the Big Ten’s second team by a panel of media members and the third team by coaches.
Hayes averaged 8.0 points and shot 53 percent overall off the bench to become the 12th-ranked Badgers’ second sixth man of the year, following Jason Bohannon’s recognition in 2008. The Toledo native also made the all-freshman team, joining freshman of the year Noah Vonleh of Indiana and Illinois’ Kendrick Nunn, Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr., and Purdue’s Kendall Stephens.
Stauskas, meanwhile, became the second straight Michigan player to snare top league honors, following guard Trey Burke’s national player-of-the-year season last year. The 6-foot-6 sophomore sharpshooter averaged 17.4 points in helping lead the Wolverines to their first outright Big Ten title since 1986.
UM’s John Beilein shared conference coach of the year honors with Nebraska’s Tim Miles. The media voted for Beilein while the coaches gave the nod to Miles, who led the previously woeful Huskers to a surprising fourth-place finish in the league.
Stauskas was joined on the Big Ten’s first team — as voted by the coaches and media — by Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble, Michigan State’s Gary Harris, Nebraska’s Terran Petteway, and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky. Michigan sophomore Caris LeVert was a consensus second-team selection while Ohio State junior LaQuinton Ross made the coaches’ third team.
Ohio State did not have a first-team player for the first time since 2005.