With another week in the books, the Big Ten Player of the Year Index returns to take a look at the top individual players across the conference. Last week’s set of rankings included nearly all the non-conference games, but with Big Ten play tipping off earlier this week, fans now have a much better idea about how things sit across the league.
There are a lot of different ways to evaluate this race, but these are simply by rankings at the moment. The scores are not necessarily based off a set system, but range from zero through 10 to give readers a better idea on the splits between players.
Here’s how things sit at the moment in this year’s Big Ten Player of the Year race.
12/29 Big Ten Player of the Year Rankings:
1. Caleb Swanigan (Purdue Boilermakers) - Rating: 9.5.
Although Swanigan didn’t produce another 20 point and 20 rebound performance on Wednesday against Iowa, he did get his eleventh double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds in Purdue’s blowout victory over the Hawkeyes at home.
Through 14 games, Swanigan is averaging an absurd 17.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. As mentioned, he’s also already put up three 20 point and 20 rebound performances and 11 double-doubles. No Big Ten player can match those numbers.
Swanigan will have some great opportunities to build on his lead this week with Minnesota at home on Sunday and Ohio State on the road on Thursday. Both teams have top 25 defenses that will work to make things difficult for Swanigan.
2. Peter Jok (Iowa Hawkeyes) - Rating: 8.4.
Since last week, Jok took a bit of a step back from his absurd early season numbers as he averaged just 15 points, four rebounds, and 1.5 assists during Iowa’s win over Delaware State and its loss to Purdue. His minutes were limited against Delaware State, but he was underwhelming against the Boilermakers as Purdue’s vaunted defense held him to just 4-for-15 from the field.
Nonetheless, Jok is still averaging 21.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game this season and is the leading scorer in the conference. His lead over third place may have shrunk, but one bad outing on the road against Purdue isn’t enough to drop him from No. 2 in this week’s rankings.
3. Melo Trimble (Maryland Terrapins) - Rating: 8.3.
This week’s Player of the Year Index has a new No. 3 as Maryland guard Melo Trimble moved up a spot after coming up huge for the Terps in a blowout victory against Illinois at home on Tuesday afternoon. Trimble finished with 20 points, three rebounds, two assists, and a 106 offensive rating.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Trimble’s performance on Tuesday was that it was just the second time this season that he finished with an offensive rating over 100 against a top 100 opponent. Maryland’s competition will remain tough, but if Trimble can keep it up, he will be in the hunt all year.
4. Ethan Happ (Wisconsin Badgers) - Rating: 8.1.
After a solid performance in his last two games, Happ slid down a spot to No. 4 on this week’s Big Ten Player of the Year Index. He did have a double-double against Rutgers and nearly had another against Florida A&M, but it was Nigel Hayes who was the key difference maker for Wisconsin this last week, so Happ takes a small hit.
But even after a bit of regression, Happ still remains one of the conference’s best players and is averaging an impressive 12.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. If he can play well in Wisconsin’s road game against Indiana next Tuesday, expect him to move right back up the rankings.
5. Malcolm Hill (Illinois Fighting Illini) - Rating: 7.8.
Illinois got off to a terrible start to Big Ten play this season and Hill’s rating in this week’s Big Ten Player of the Week Index took a bit of a hit as a result. Hill did finish with 21 points and seven rebounds, but the Illini got embarrassed in a key road game and Hill is at least partially to blame for that result.
Hill will get an opportunity to help Illinois redeem itself on Sunday as the team faces a solid Ohio State team at home. This is a must win game for Illinois and Hill needs to perform as such.
-Players On The Rise Last Week:
- Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin Badgers)
- Scottie Lindsey (Northwestern Wildcats)
- Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern Wildcats)
- Nick Ward (Michigan State Spartans)
- Tai Webster (Nebraska Cornhuskers)
Stay tuned each week for an update on the Big Ten’s Player of the Year race.