Kaminsky leads list of six Badgers honored by Big Ten
Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky was named a consensus first-team All-Big Ten honoree — one of six Badgers to earn all-league honors overall — the conference announced Monday night.
Badgers forward Sam Dekker was a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and a third-team pick by the media. Freshman forward Nigel Hayes earned the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year, as voted on by the coaches, while also being named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Guards Ben Brust, Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson each earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors, with Gasser being chosen to the conference’s all-defensive team for the second time in his three seasons of eligibility. Brust also earned Wisconsin’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
"I’m proud of our guys that were recognized and, like I always say, individuals getting accolades is a reflection on the work that the whole team is doing," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said in a news release. "I think having six players named to the list speaks to the balance of our team and the success we have had collectively."
Kaminsky is the eighth Badgers player to be named first-team All-Big Ten during Ryan’s 13 seasons and the first since Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer in 2011. Those eight players have combined for 11 first-team all-conference honors, which is tied with Ohio State for the most of any team in the Big Ten during that era.
Kaminsky, a 7-foot junior from Lisle, Ill., leads the Badgers in scoring (13.4 points per game) and rebounding (6.4) and raised his scoring average 9.2 points per game this season. He twice was named the Big Ten Player of the Week, including once after scoring a Wisconsin single-game record 43 points on Nov. 19 against North Dakota. He earned his second player of the week honor after recording his first career double-double (25 points, 11 rebounds) at Michigan on Feb. 16.
"I’m honored that people think I’m worthy of first-team All-Big Ten, and I’m happy that I’m able to contribute to the team success we’re having," Kaminsky said. "When you come into the program, you hear all about the great players who have come before you and made Wisconsin what it is. I’m humbled to be in that company."
Dekker averages 12.9 points per game and is second on the team in rebounds at 6.2 per contest. He scored in double figures in 24 of 31 games this season and recorded five double-doubles.
Hayes, meanwhile, is the second Badgers player to earn the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year honor, joining Jason Bohannon (2008). Hayes earned freshman of the week honors four times this season and reached double figures in scoring during 10 games. He is averaging 8.0 points per game this season, but his 9.8 points-per-game average during Big Ten games ranked second only to Indiana’s Noah Vonleh (11.0 points per game), who earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
"It’s always great when you can receive an individual honor, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, so I look at this as a team award," Hayes said. "Team success is always important, and to be recognized as one of the conference’s best reserves is an honor I will share with my teammates."
Gasser becomes only the second player in Badgers history to be named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team twice, joining Michael Flowers (2007 and 2008). Gasser also led the Big Ten this season in free throw percentage (.879) and was second in the conference in 3-point percentage (.462).
Brust became the 12th player during Ryan’s tenure to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau at Wisconsin and has made 74 3-pointers this season. A year ago, he set the single-season mark with 79. Jackson is averaging 10.8 points per game and ranks eighth in the Big Ten in assists per contest (3.9).
Wisconsin (25-6) is seeded second in the Big Ten tournament and will play the winner of No. 7 Minnesota and No. 10 Penn State at 5:30 p.m. CT in Indianapolis at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.
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