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B1G Basketball Midseason Awards

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What players have been the best in the Big Ten halfway through the season?

When I say B1G basketball you think of Indiana...and Rutgers, right?
When I say B1G basketball you think of Indiana...and Rutgers, right?
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We're about halfway through Big Ten season which means it's a good time to reevaluate and pick some outstanding players from the first half of the conference season. Here are some awards:

1st team All-B1G

PG: D'Angelo Russell

Freshman, Ohio State, 19.4 PPG, 5.2 APG, 5.6 RPG

I had to put D'Angelo Russell in after his resurgence of late; he's quickly become one of the best players in the Big Ten. The freshman guard is the leader of the Buckeyes and his flashy plays and great scoring ability have made him the conference's most dynamic point guard. Maryland freshman Melo Trimble has made a case for first team All-B1G, but Russell's recent success has separated the two.

SG: James Blackmon Jr.

Freshman, Indiana, 16.5 PPG, 1.3 APG, 5.2 RPG

Indiana's freshman James Blackmon Jr. has lit it up on the offensive end this season. A big reason why Indiana has improved this season is the addition of Blackmon as a second scorer to go along with point guard Yogi Ferrell; the two have combined to make Indiana the highest scoring offense in the conference. Blackmon hits a lot of threes but can also drive to the hoop. He's a true scorer and has been the best shooting guard in the Big Ten. Like Russell, Blackmon is doing all of this as a freshman.

SF: D.J. Newbill

Senior, Penn State, 21.5 PPG, 3.0 APG, 4.8 RPG

I'm happy we won yesterday, but I feel kind of bad for Newbill and Penn State. They've been at the bottom of the Big Ten for so long and right when it seemed like they were breaking through they lost multiple games by 6 or less points. And yesterday they beat us down the court at the end and missed a potential game-tying shot.

Anyway, D.J. Newbill leads the conference in scoring once again. He is everything for Penn State and has kept them in a lot of games this year. Even though he plays for a bottom dweller he deserves to be on this list because teams just can't stop him. He uses his wide frame to get to the hoop but can also step back and shoot it. He's an all-around player and causes havoc to opposing defenses.

PF: Branden Dawson

Senior, Michigan State, 11.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG

For the past couple of years Branden Dawson has been known for one thing--his rim shattering dunks. With Keith Appling and Adrien Payne gone, Dawson has stepped into the leadership role for Michigan State. He was good last year, but he wasn't 'averaging a double-double' good. MSU has gotten back on track since his return from a wrist injury, which shows you just how much he means to the Spartans. His athletic ability allows him to be a beast on the boards and throw down those thundering dunks.

C: Frank Kaminsky

Senior, Wisconsin, 17.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.3 APG

And now for the most obvious of the bunch.

Kaminsky has gained national recognition this year and it's been well deserved. The thing that sets Kaminsky apart is his passing ability. Why is he such as good passer and ball handler? He's one of those Anthony Davis type players that was originally a guard before a sudden growth spurt. He's a pretty obvious choice here.

Honorable Mentions: Rayvonte Rice (injury), Caris LaVert (injury), Yogi Ferrell, Aaron White, Melo Trimble, Terran Petteway.

B1G Offensive POY

D'Angelo Russell

Freshman, Ohio State 19.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.2 APG

I believe that D'Angelo is the overall best offensive player in the B1G. Yes, Frank Kaminsky is everyone's choice but Russell has put on a show and he can create and dish better than Kaminsky. He is in top 20 of nearly every B1G statistical category. I have to say, though, Kaminsky would probably win if I did a B1G POY. But I'm not. I'm doing best offensive player, so D'Angelo takes home the award.

B1G Defensive POY

Nnanna Egwu

Senior, Illinois 7.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.8 BPG

The first Illinois player gets on the board. Nnanna Egwu has been great defensively this season and causes problems for every team he plays. He recently passed Deon Thomas as Illinois' all time leader in blocked shots. Egwu's help defense is always bailing out teammates with a block or a hand in a shooter's face. He's very good at hedging out the guard so that they have to move farther away from the basket. Long arms, blocking skills, and constant effort combine to give Egwu the B1G Defensive POY at midseason.

B1G Freshman of the Year

D'Angelo Russell

See: First Team All-B1G and B1G OPOY

Honorable Mentions: James Blackmon Jr., Melo Trimble, Bryant McIntosh

B1G Coach of the Year

Mark Turgeon, Maryland

Maryland has played 22 games this season and already has more wins than they did last year. Last year the team went 17-15 in the ACC. The Terrapins were picked to finish ninth in the Big Ten, but they currently sit at 18-4--good enough for second in the Big Ten. How did Coach Mark Turgeon usher such a big change? Two words: Melo. Trimble. The freshman has been outstanding and has brought all of Maryland's pieces together. Barring a late collapse by Maryland (I could see it happening), Turgeon should win Coach of the Year for turning a middle of the pack B1G team into a title contender.

B1G Game

Ohio State 74 Minnesota 72

There haven't been a ton of great games this year, but this one of the better ones. D'Angelo Russell had 25 points in the first half before Minnesota came storming back. DeAndre Hollins led the Gophers and the second half and was able to force overtime. Marc Loving hit the game winning shot. Shannon Scott then stole away a pass to a shooter who could have eventually won the game. Hopefully there are more good games in the second half of B1G play.

Honorable Mentions: Minnesota at Nebraska, Indiana at Illinois, Maryland at Michigan State

***

Am I crazy for not including Kaminsky as OPOY? Should I have included someone else on the All-B1G team? Who would you choose for these categories? Who would make an all-freshman team? Do I think D'Angelo Russell is better than he actually is? Let me know down in the comments!

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