Big Ten doles out basketball awards

Mark Heller

Monday was the long-awaited “Dish-out-the-Big Ten-hardware-day,” and the scrupulous counting and recounting of media and coaches votes yielded some unsurprising results.
Coaches picks
Player of the Year: Morris Peterson, Michigan State.
“He’s an awesome choice,” Gophers coach Dan Monson said. “With the ability he has and what his team accomplished this year, it’s terrific.”
Defensive Player of the Year: Ken Johnson, Ohio State.
Freshmen of the Year: Brian Cook, Illinois/LaVelle Blanchard, Michigan.
First Team All-Big Ten: Peterson; A.J. Guyton, Indiana; Scoonie Penn, Ohio State; Michael Redd, Ohio State; Jerrett Stephens, Penn State (tie); Mateen Cleaves, Michigan State (tie).
Coach of the year: Gene Keady, Purdue.

Media picks
Player of the Year: Guyton
Freshman of the Year: Blanchard
First Team All-Big Ten: Guyton, Peterson, Penn, Stephens, Cleaves.
Coach of the Year: Keady
Not again
Minnesota will hook up a third time this season with Iowa in the opening game of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday.
The absence of any postseason play puts a damper on the Gophers’ spirits, but that won’t stop them from trying to make a run at the United Center.
“Tournament time is a totally different mentality,” Monson said. “You’re one 10-minute stretch or a bad day from elimination.”
The Gophers played Iowa just two weeks ago, losing 71-59 at Carver-Hawkeye arena. Having just played the Hawkeyes might give the players something of a break.
“The good news is the preparation is still fresh,” Monson said. “We just played them, and it won’t take long to remember what (Iowa) did to have success. The bad news is they just beat us. We’re anxious to play better.”
This also marks the re-re-reuniting of the friendship between Monson and first-year Iowa coach Steve Alford.
Friendship being a loose term.
“I told Dan we’d both mess up enough and have to play each other again,” Alford said.
Joked Monson: “I don’t know who said we were friends.”

Mark Heller covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]