The Wisconsin Badgers menâ€™s basketball teamâ€™s incredible run to a 3rd place finish in the Big Ten conference had to be rewarded. On Monday, the conference coaches and media released their postseason awards and that was exactly what happened.
Leading the way was junior forward Nigel Hayes, who was selected 1st team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media. Hayes was one of the top statistical players in the conference, averaging 16.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
The points and assists per game were the highest of Hayesâ€™ career, while his 5.8 rebounds are the second-best mark of his three years in Madison.
Hayes was joined on the first team by Yogi Ferrell (Indiana), Denzel Valentine (Michigan State), Jarrod Uthoff (Iowa) and A.J. Hammons (Purdue). Ferrell, Valentine and Uthoff were both unanimous selections by the coaches and media.
The junior wasnâ€™t the only Badger honored by the Big Ten though, as Ethan Happ garnered the most awards attention. He finished with three Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards and averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, while also shooting 53.1 percent from the field in his first season of action for the Badgers.
It all led to Happ being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award. He was also named 3rd team All-Big Ten, along with the All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams as well. He was a unanimous selection to the All-Freshman team.
Happ was joined on the 3rd team All-Big Ten list by junior point guard Bronson Koenig, who was second on the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game. He also averaged 2.5 assists and shot 40.1 percent from beyond the arc on the season.
Perhaps the biggest snub came in the Big Ten Coach of the Year category, as Greg Gard was upended by Indianaâ€™s Tom Crean. Wisconsin and Indiana split a pair of meetings this season and UW was one of just three teams in conference to beat the Hoosiers.
However, Indianaâ€™s 20-3 record to end the regular season and Indiana winning the regular season title won out in the end there.
The consolation prize is perhaps much sweeter, as the Badgers officially announced Gard as their next permanent head coach during the BTN awards special show and following a UW Board of Regents meeting that started at 5p.m.
Congrats to the new HEAD COACH of the Wisconsin #Badgers, Greg Gard. https://t.co/p3xKIQtcTl
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 7, 2016