StaTuesday: Gophers’ Lynch makes his mark defensively

Minnesota's Reggie Lynch averaged 3.53 blocks per game.
Jim Mone/Associated Press

For the second time in its history, a member of the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team is the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year.

And for the second time, that player didn’t start his career with the Gophers.

Reggie Lynch was named the league’s top defender Monday, just two years after transferring to the program from Illinois State, and joining Travarus Bennett as the only Gophers to win award.

Bennett too was a transfer, joining the Gophers in 2000 following a two-year career at Southwest Missouri State-West Plains Junior College.

But while Bennett won the award after leading the conference in steals, Lynch has made his name by swatting down shots.

Player Team Games Min Blocks Blocks/Game
Reggie Lynch Minnesota 30 678 106 3.53
Mike Watkins Penn State 31 720 80 2.58
Nick Ward Michigan State 31 608 50 1.61
Damonte Dodd Maryland 24 467 49 2.04
Dererk Pardon Northwestern 23 704 47 2.04
Trevor Thompson Ohio State 31 713 47 1.52
Thomas Bryant Indiana 31 880 46 1.48
D.J. Wilson Michigan 31 920 43 1.39
Gavin Skelly Northwestern 31 570 41 1.32
Nicholas Baer Iowa 31 740 39 1.26

Lynch led the Big Ten with 106 blocked shots — 26 more than his closest competitor — and nearly 6.5 blocks per 40 minutes.

The latter is one of the best single-season marks in recent Big Ten history, second only to Ohio State alum Ken Johnson since the 1996-1997 season.

Player Team Season Games Min Blocks/40 mins
Ken Johnson Ohio State 1999-2000 30 885 7.28
Reggie Lynch Minnesota 2016-17 30 678 6.25
Calvin Booth Penn State 1997-98 32 990 5.66
Ken Johnson Ohio State 2000-01 31 916 5.46
Erek Hansen Iowa 2005-06 34 662 5.38
Erek Hansen Iowa 2004-05 32 635 5.23
Calvin Booth Penn State 1996-97 27 706 5.21
Joel Przybilla Minnesota 1999-00 21 638 5.08
A.J. Hammons Purdue 2013-14 31 775 4.95
A.J. Hammons Purdue 2014-15 34 827 4.64