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MSU coach Tom Izzo says Spartans 'made their own history' with Saturday's victory over Michigan in East Lansing. Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News

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East Lansing — Michigan State won its second straight Big Ten championship over the weekend and on Monday the Spartans began collecting individual hardware.

It was highlighted by junior guard Cassius Winston being named the Big Ten Player of the Year, becoming the ninth Spartan to earn that honor. Since the Big Ten began handing out the award following the 1984-85 season, Michigan State has had more players of the year than any other school. Ohio State has seven, followed by Indiana with six and Michigan with five.

“The magic is in the headband,” Winston joked on the Big Ten Network. “I think I’ve grown in a lot of ways. I’m more confident, more aggressive, a better leader for my team. I think all those types of things I took a big step in.”

Winston was also a unanimous first-team selection by the coaches and media while sophomore Xavier Tillman was named the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year and senior Matt McQuaid was named to the All-Defensive team.

Junior Nick Ward earned third-team All-Big Ten honors while McQuaid and fellow senior Kenny Goins were named honorable mention.

Winston was also named a first-team All-American by The Sporting News on Monday.  

“It means the world to me,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “There is a process to all this and when you go through the process and you come out on top, that’s special for a coach, the family, the player and it teaches him things he’s gonna use for the rest of this life. I’m really proud of that for Cassius. It makes me feel good that it’s OK to struggle a little bit early. What’s important is are you getting better each and every day, each and every year? I think we would all agree he’s gotten better just about every day since he’s been here and deserves the accolades he’s getting and hopefully will continue to get.”

Winston finished the regular season averaging 19 points, 7.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 47.1 percent from the floor and 41.3 percent from 3-point range. He ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring while also leading the league and ranking No. 3 in the country in assists per game. Winston has scored at least 20 points 17 times this year, has six double-double and has handed out at least 10 assists seven times. He is the only player in the country this season averaging at least 18 points per game, 7 assists per game and connecting on at least 40 percent of his 3-point attempts.

The former Mr. Basketball from U-D Jesuit has been named Big Ten Player of the Week a school-record five times this season and is a candidate for several major national awards. Last week, he was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, awarded each season to the top player in the nation. That announcement came just days after Winston was named one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. Winston is also on the top 20 watch list for the Wooden Award and is one of 12 players selected to the Oscar Robertson Trophy final midseason watch list. Both of those awards go to the top player in the nation.

Tillman appeared in all 31 regular-season games, starting six. Five of those starts came after Ward broke his hand on Feb. 17 against Ohio State. The 6-8 sophomore averaged 9.3 points and seven rebounds a game while recording four double-doubles.

McQuaid, who is averaging 9.3 points a game while shooting 42.7 percent from 3-point range, became Michigan State’s top perimeter defender when Joshua Langford went out for the season and often was tasked with guarding the opponents’ top scorer. In two matchups with Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, McQuaid forced Edwards to shoot 7-for-35.

Ward averaged 15.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in 26 games before suffering the hand injury. Goins became a top scoring threat late in the season and finished with 44 3-pointers while averaging 8.3 points and grabbing 9.1 rebounds a game, good four fourth-best in the Big Ten.

Michigan State (25-6, 16-4 Big Ten) begins play as the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament at 12:30 p.m. Friday against the winner of Thursday’s game between Ohio State and Indiana.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau

Big Ten Awards

(*unanimous selection)

Coaches

FIRST TEAM

Bruno Fernando, Maryland

Cassius Winston, Michigan State*

Lamar Stevens, Penn State

Carsen Edwards, Purdue*

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
 
SECOND TEAM

Romeo Langford, Indiana

Anthony Cowan Jr., Maryland

Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan

Zavier Simpson, Michigan

Jordan Murphy, Minnesota
 
THIRD TEAM

Jordan Bohannon, Iowa

Tyler Cook, Iowa

Nick Ward, Michigan State

Amir Coffey, Minnesota

James Palmer Jr., Nebraska
 
HONORABLE MENTION

Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois

Juwan Morgan, Indiana

Jordan Poole, Michigan

Jon Teske, Michigan

Kenny Goins, Michigan State

Matt McQuaid, Michigan State

Dererk Pardon, Northwestern

Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State

Ryan Cline, Purdue

Geo Baker, Rutgers

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois

Romeo Langford, Indiana

Joe Wieskamp, Iowa

Jalen Smith, Maryland

Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan
 
ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM

Bruno Fernando, Maryland

Zavier Simpson, Michigan

Matt McQuaid, Michigan State

Josh Reaves, Penn State

Nojel Eastern, Purdue
 
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Cassius Winston, Michigan State
 
DEFENSIVE PLAYER  OF THE YEAR: Josh Reaves, Penn State
 
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan
 
SIXTH PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Xavier Tillman, Michigan State
 
COACH OF THE YEAR: Matt Painter, Purdue

Media

FIRST TEAM

Bruno Fernando, Maryland

Cassius Winston, Michigan State*

Jordan Murphy, Minnesota

Carsen Edwards, Purdue*

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
 
SECOND TEAM

Tyler Cook, Iowa

Anthony Cowan Jr., Maryland

Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan

Zavier Simpson, Michigan

Lamar Stevens, Penn State

THIRD TEAM

Romeo Langford, Indiana

Juwan Morgan, Indiana 

Nick Ward, Michigan State

Amir Coffey, Minnesota

James Palmer Jr., Nebraska

HONORABLE MENTION

Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois

Trent Frazier, Illinois

Jordan Bohannon, Iowa

Luka Garza, Iowa

Charles Matthews, Michigan

Jordan Poole, Michigan

Jon Teske, Michigan

Kenny Goins, Michigan State

Matt McQuaid, Michigan State

Vic Law, Northwestern

Dererk Pardon, Northwestern

Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State

Josh Reaves, Penn State

Ryan Cline, Purdue

Matt Haarms, Purdue

Geo Baker, Rutgers

Eugene Omoruyi, Rutgers

D’Mitrik Trice, Wisconsin
 
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Cassius Winston, Michigan State
 
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR:
 Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan
 
COACH OF THE YEAR: Matt Painter, Purdue

 

 

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