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Garza named Big Ten Player of the Year over Dosunmu

The Illini can’t get their fourth POTY.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Michigan State Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The accolades keep pouring in for Ayo Dosunmu, but Big Ten Player of the Year won’t be one of them.

The Big Ten announced its All-Big Ten teams and individual honors on Tuesday, and among those include Big Ten Player of the Year, which now belongs in Luka Garza’s trophy case for the second year in a row.

Garza edged out Illini superstar Dosunmu, and recently found out his number will be retired by the Hawkeyes. Dosunmu would have been the first Illini to win the award since Dee Brown in 2004-05.

The Iowa senior put up great numbers this season, averaging 23.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 55% from the field, 43% from three and 70% at the free throw line.

Some might think Dosunmu was snubbed for the award after having one of the best seasons from a guard in recent history. He finished the year as the only player in NCAA over the past 11 years to average more than 20 points, six rebounds and five assists in a season.

The junior led Illinois and finished second the Big Ten points per game at 20.9 and led the Big Ten in assists with 5.2 per game. This while also leading all point guards in rebounding in the Big Ten and shooting 49% from the field, 40% from three and 78% at the free throw line.

Not to mention, Dosunmu scored in double-digits in each of his 23 games played this year, tallying 30-plus points four times, picking up three double-doubles and a pair of triple-doubles — the first guard to do so in the Big Ten since Magic Johnson.

Earlier Tuesday, Dosunmu was named Illinois’ first Sporting News First-Team All-American since Brown in 2005.

Dosunmu also led his team to its best conference season of all-time (despite not winning the Big Ten title) and played his team into the conversation for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament next week.

There is more to come for Dosunmu, even he knows it.

“This is exactly what I came back for and more,” said a masked Dosunmu after the Illini’s win in the regular season finale over Ohio State.

Even without the Big Ten Player of the Year award, Illinois and Dosunmu should be prepared to keep the key to that trophy case handy.