In some of the least surprising news of the college basketball season, Michigan State's Denzel Valentine was named the Big Ten Player of the Year on Monday night.
Valentine, one of the favorites for national player of the year honors, is the conference's leader in scoring and assists, averaging 19.6 points per game and 7.5 helpers per game. He also ranks seventh in the league in rebounding with 7.5 boards a game. Valentine can do it all, running the show for the second-ranked Spartans, who are believed by many to be capable of reaching the Final Four for the second straight season and the eighth time under head coach Tom Izzo.
The Big Ten handed out the rest of its postseason honors on Monday, too, with Indiana's Tom Crean winning Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, Wisconsin's Ethan Happ earning Freshman of the Year distinction and Purdue's A.J. Hammons being named the Defensive Player of the Year.
Crean led the Hoosiers to a regular-season Big Ten championship with a 15-3 conference record. It's the second regular-season league title for Crean's crew in the past four seasons.
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Valentine and Hammons were both members of the All-Big Ten First Team, joined by Indiana's Yogi Ferrell, Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes and Iowa's Jarrod Uthoff.
Second Team honors went to Illinois' Malcolm Hill, Iowa's Peter Jok, Maryland's Melo Trimble, Michigan State's Bryn Forbes, Nebraska's Shavon Shields and Michigan State's Matt Costello.
Happ, Costello and Shields, along with Indiana's Thomas Bryant and Troy Williams, Maryland's Diamond Stone, Michigan's Derrick Walton Jr., Penn State's Brandon Taylor amd Wisconsin's Bronson Koenig all earned some form of All-Big Ten Third Team honors.
Bryant, Stone, Happ, Minnesota's Jordan Murphy and Purdue's Caleb Swanigan were named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Ferrell, Uthoff, Hammons, Happ and Purdue's Rapheal Davis were named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team.