Craft, Thomas Earn First Team All-B1G Honors
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the end, it appears Aaron Craft even wore out the voters.
Ohio State’s pesky point guard did not repeat as the defensive player of the year in the Big Ten on Monday even – that award went to Indiana’s Victory Oladipo – but Craft was named to the all-defensive team.
Photo by Jim Davidson
In fact, Craft and Oladipo were the only unanimous selections by the coaches (the media doesn’t pick an all-defensive team), while junior Deshaun Thomas was voted first-team All-Big Ten by both the media and the coaches.
Thomas was a unanimous first-team selection by the media, who also selected Craft to the first team. The coaches went with Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. instead of Craft for the fifth and final spot on the first-team.
“Without question the Big Ten was the top conference in the country this year,” said Thad Matta, Ohio State’s ninth-year head coach.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“For Deshaun and Aaron to both earn First Team recognition is quite an accomplishment.”
Both the media and the coaches had Thomas, Oladipo, Cody Zeller and Michigan point guard Trey Burke, who was voted Big Ten Player of the Year following his sophomore season in Ann Arbor.
Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan took home Big Ten Coach of the Year honors from both the media and his peers around the conference. Michigan State’s Gary Harris was named freshman of the year, while the coaches tabbed Indiana’s Will Sheehey as the conference’s top sixth man.
Of course Burke, who averaged 19.2 points per game while leading the league in assists, is a Columbus native who played alongside Jared Sullinger at Columbus Northland High School. He was not offered a scholarship to Ohio State because they Buckeyes already had Craft, and they decided to go with Shannon Scott instead.
The second-year point guard out of Georgia was not selected to any of the regular all-conference teams on Monday, but he was picked, along with Craft, by the coaches as one of five players on the Big Ten’s all-defensive team.
“It's well known that our league is predicated on defense,” Matta added.
“Both Aaron and Shannon are deserving members of the All-Defensive team.”
Scott averaged under 21 minutes per game off the bench as a sophomore this season for Ohio State coach Thad Matta, but he finished third in the Big Ten in steals per game behind only Craft and Oladipo.
After winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last year, Craft has been the anchor of the second-ranked defense in the Big Ten this season. Only Wisconsin (56) allowed fewer points per game than the Buckeyes (58.7) this season.
Craft, who averaged 2.0 steals per game as a junior, became Ohio State's all-time steals leader in 2013 and heads into postseason play with 231 career thefts, which is tied for the No. 7 spot in Big Ten history.
He was No. 2 in the league this year with 2.0 steals per game during regular season play. Craft also handed out 134 assists for an average of 4.5 a game, second overall among Big Ten players.
Meanwhile, Scott recorded 55 steals over his sophomore season while handing out 115 assists and recording 10 blocks. He averaged 1.8 steals as a sophomore, good for third among league players.
Ohio State also finished four spots higher in scoring rankings, primarily thanks to the help of the Big Ten’s leading-scorer.
The Buckeyes averaged 70.2 points per game during the regular season, with nearly 20 of them coming off the left finger tips of Deshaun Thomas. The leading-scorer in the NCAA Tournament last March also led the Big Ten in points per game this season at 19.7 a night.
He also was the league's top free throw shooter, making 84 percent (107-127) of his foul shots over 30 games, while averaging 6.1 rebounds a night.
Additionally, Sam Thompson was Ohio State's Sportsmanship Award winner.
Ohio State wrapped up the regular season with an overall record of 23-7 and a 13-5 Big Ten mark to finish tied for second with Michigan State.
The Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed heading into the conference tournament and will face the winner of the 7 vs. 10 game between Purdue and Nebraska at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday on Big Ten Network. Ohio State is 16-5 at the Big Ten tournament under Matta's direction.
Complete list of award winners
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