College basketball is officially nearing the halfway point of the season. Soon enough it will be March and the conference tournaments will determine who goes to the big dance and who sits at home. There have been some unreal individual performances up to this point in the season and it is time to give these individuals some recognition.
Player Of The Year: Carsen Edwards
When you are leading the conference in scoring at 24.7 points per game and the second closest player is at 19.4 points per game then you are doing something right. Purdue junior Carsen Edwards is proving that he is the most valuable player in the conference with his play this season. Edwards is carrying this Purdue squad in 2019 after losing Isaac Haas, Vincent Edwards and Dakota Mathias due to graduation. He is the only true offensive threat on the team and he also does it all on the defensive end as well.
Without Edwards this Purdue team would not be in position to make the NCAA Tournament. Can Edwards keep putting up ridiculous numbers on offense or will he regress to the mean? Ethan Happ and Cassius Winston loom to potentially steal the award.
Defensive Player Of The Year: Bruno Fernando
The resurgence of Maryland basketball this season can be attributed to Bruno Fernando returning for his sophomore season. A clear-cut NBA Draft prospect has increased his draft stock with his play in 2019. Currently Fernando is second in the conference in blocks averaging 2.2 per game and is second in rebounds averaging 10.4 per game.
Fernando’s inside presence on defense is easily one of the most intimidating in the conference. Oh and he is solid on the offensive side of the ball as well averaging 14.4 points per game.
Freshman Of The Year: Ignas Brazdeikis
This pick is a no-brainer as Ignas Brazdeikis leads the Michigan Wolverines in scoring with 15.2 points per game. He is the top offensive threat on this No. 5 ranked Michigan team. Michigan may have lost Moritz Wagner to the NBA, but Brazdeikis is doing everything he can to replace Wagner’s production. Can this freshman be the key piece in Michigan winning a National Championship?
Sixth Man Of The Year: Xavier Tillman
Michigan State is always near the top of the Big Ten and players like Xavier Tillman are why the Spartans are dominant nearly every season. On the season Tillman is one of the most efficient players in the conference despite coming off the bench as a rotational player. Tillman is third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage with at 63.0 percent and he is tied for third in the conference in blocks with 1.7 block per game. The sophomore forward provides both offense and defense off the bench making him a worthy sixth man of the year candidate.
Coach Of The Year: John Beilein
Michigan is the best program in the Big Ten this season. At 19-1 and ranked No. 5 John Beilein has done an excellent job of building upon last season’s success. Michigan continues to win and they appear to be headed on a collision course to face rival Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament to see which team wins the conference.