We are now in the thick of conference play and certain players have begun to show their true colors. That’s right, we have a new player at the top of this week’s index.
The past couple weeks have been filled with a number of surprises. While, the spotlight on Michigan State has been all but stolen from the four headed attack out of Purdue, the conference competitiveness is beginning to reach its boiling point. There are a multitude of talented players in this conference, and as we get closer and closer to march, the spotlight gets brighter for these young competitors. Let’s take a look at which players rank at the top of the player of the year standings for the Big Ten.
Honorable Mention: Ethan Happ
With the his team getting blown off the court, it’s hard to put Happ on this list. He continues to put up numbers, but with a lot of his points and boards coming in garbage time, its hard to take him seriously as a player of the year candidate. Although that might not be fair, the other players on this list have been competing while performing.
5. Jordan Murphy - Minnesota
Murphy saw his double double streak end last week in a terrible performance against Northwestern, collecting a season low two rebounds. He followed it up with another sub-par performance in a loss to Purdue. Perhaps the threat of conference play was too big for the junior forward.
Nope. Murphy hushed the critics and got back to his normal double-double self on Monday in an overtime win against Penn State. He dropped 22 points, and garnered 19 rebounds in the contest. If Murphy wants to remain on this list, he is going to have to keep his rebounding up and not let his team get absolutely embarrassed on the national stage.
4. Tony Carr - Penn State
Carr cracks the index for the first time this season following his 33 point outburst against Minnesota. This ties his season high and is the third time he has put up over 30 points this year. He is not the most efficient scorer, shooting just 40 percent, but he is a high volume scorer nonetheless. He ranks second in the entire conference with 19.6 points a contest, and ranks fourth in assists with just under 5 per game.
3. Moritz Wagner - Michigan
Although Wagner missed a couple of games before the start of conference play, he has done enough to gain my appreciation. For starters, he had an absolute monster game against Michigan State, scoring 27 points en route to an upset, earning his team a spot in the top 25.
Wagner is from Germany and has an eerily similar game to his fellow countryman, Dirk Nowitzki. So far, he has been an absolute beast in conference play, averaging 17.5 points as well as 7 rebounds per game.
2. Vincent Edwards - Purdue
It is the decision I dread each week: which Boilermaker deserves to be on this list? Last week I decided on Vincent Edwards due to his versatility as both a rebounder and scorer. After watching him play this past week, he has given me no reason to take him off this list.
While his rebounding has dipped a little bit, he had back-to-back 20 point games in dominating wins against Wisconsin and Minnesota. On top of his raw numbers, he is remarkably efficient, shooting above 61 percent in both games. As Edwards continues to roll so do the Boilermakers, who are now ranked third in the nation. They are a fun team to watch as Edwards is just one of a few gifted talents on this Purdue team.
1. Keita Bates-Diop - Ohio State
Bates-Diop made this an easy decision for me as he continues his break out season. His dominating play this past week has capped with another pair of 20 point performances. He has been a scoring machine through the first four games of conference play, averaging over 26 points and 9 rebounds per game. The Buckeyes keep winning behind their leader, and are still undefeated in the conference. I am excited to watch this kid keep battling all year.