With each team having just finished up their ninth conference game, it’s time to start talking about who is in the running for Big Ten player of the year. Below is a list of 5 players, each of which has been having a masterful 2014 basketball season. Every candidate will have a profile complete with season stats and odds of winning. After going over all the facts, there will be a poll for you to vote on who you think will win Big Ten Player of the Year.
Gary Harris, Soph, G/F Michigan State
18.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.0 SPG, 43.6 FG%, 34.3 3P%
Harris has really had to shoulder the workload after the Spartans lost C Adreian Payne and F Branden Dawson to injury. He has responded by leading the nation’s 9th ranked team in scoring and steals as well as shooting the deep ball at a respectable 34.3% clip. His shooting percentage has slipped this year (down from 45.6% last year), but that’s mostly due to him having to shoot at a higher volume. The Indiana native has taken over games at times for Tom Izzo’s squad, and looks to be even more dangerous once the Spartans are back to full health.
ODDS OF WINNING BIG TEN POTY : 3/1
ODDS OF WINNING BEAUTY PAGEANT: 1,000,000/1
Nik Stauskas, Soph, G/F, Michigan
17.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.7 APG, 80.8 FT%, 49.1 FG%, 45.0 3P%
Many people were hesitant to crown Stauskas as Michigan’s go-to guy after the departure of Trey Burke, but Stauskas has more than proved his critics wrong. Nik has has improved in nearly every statistical category, posting better numbers in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks (breath), field goal percentage, and three point percentage. Fans of the maize and blue have taken note of Stauskas’s ability to thread the needle when running the pick n’ roll with his bigs. This, in addition to his dead-eye shooting, is what has scouts wondering about his potential as a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. His ability to turn himself into a bonafide star is what has propelled Michigan to the top of the Big Ten standings.
ODDS OF WINNING BIG TEN POTY: 5/1
ODDS OF HIM TEAMING UP WITH EMINEM TO CREATE A STEREOTYPE BUSTING SUPER HERO ORGANIZATION: 9/1
Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, Soph, Gaurd, Indiana
17.8 PPG, 4.0 APG, 2.8 RPG, 44.1 3p%, 43.7 FG% 83.2FT%
Just ask Michigan fans how good this kid is. After single-handedly dismantling the Wolverines, Yogi “Don’t Call me Boo-B00″ Ferrell, solidified his spot on this list. Yogi has to play both distributor and shot taker on his squad and has thrived doing so. Not only that, but the lightening quick guard is often tasked with defending the oppositions best perimeter player as well. His combination of speed and improved shooting (shot 30.3% on threes last season), has made him a hard player to guard this season. The sophomore from Indianapolis is looking to lead his Hoosiers back to the tourny where they hope to do some serious damage.
ODDS OF WINNING BIG TEN POTY: 10/1
ODDS YOGI HAD 100 PICNIC BASKETS WAITING FOR HIM AT HIS DORM AFTER THE U OF M GAME: 3.14/1
Devyn Marble, Sr, G/F, Iowa
16.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.0 SPG, 41.9 FG% 36.7 3p%
Devyn Marble has been one of the key components to Iowa’s hot start. With Marble at the helm, Iowa has attained a 17-5 record with the team ranking 7th nationally in points per game (84.3). Not only is Devyn helping his team out on the offensive end, he also contributes two steals a game which has him tied for 2nd in the Big Ten. His combination of athletic ability and size allow him to defend multiple positions while being a huge mismatch on the other end of the floor. The only blemish on Marble’s record is his surprisingly low free throw percentage, which is only at 68.5% despite shooting 81% last year. Once Devyn finds his stroke from the line, he could become an unstoppable force coming down the home stretch of the conference season.
ODDS OF WINNING BIG TEN POTY: 20/1
ODDS DEVYN MARBLE QUITS THE BASKETBALL TEAM MID-SEASON AND OPENS UP A STORE NAMED “MARBLE’S MARBLES” THAT SELLS…HORSE SHOES: 44/1
Keith Appling, Sr, Guard, Michigan State
15.0 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 45.3 FG%, 40.5 3P%
Michigan State’s senior point guard has been a rock for Tom Izzo and company this season. Appling has posted career highs in points and rebounds, while maintaining an impressive 2.5/1 assist to turnover ratio. The biggest improvement for Appling this season is his 40.5 3P%, up from just 32% last year. This tough as nails point
guard has led the 9th ranked Spartans to a 19-3 record, despite them playing without two key front court players. The ability that Keith has shown to spread the ball to his teammates as well as knowing when to create his own shot has been a real difference maker his team. The combination of Appling and Harris make Michigan State a real contender in the Big Ten and a team looking to make a deep run in March.
ODDS OF WINNING BIG TEN POTY: 40/1
ODDS TREY BURKE EMAILS KEITH APPLING THIS PICTURE ONCE A WEEK: EVEN