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La Crosse’s Johnny Davis named Big Ten Player of Year

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Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis is The Associated Press player of the year in the Big Ten Conference and the Badgers’ Greg Gard is coach of the year.

Davis won top honors over Iowa’s Keegan Murray on Tuesday, and both were unanimous picks for spots on the AP All-Big Ten team along with Purdue’s Jaden Ivey in voting of journalists who cover the conference.

Nebraska freshman Bryce McGowens is newcomer of the year.

Joining Davis, Murray and Ivey on the all-conference first team are Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell and Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn. Liddell is a repeat first-team pick, and Cockburn was on the second team a year ago.

The second team is made up of Rutgers’ Ron Harper Jr., Illinois’ Trent Frazier, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, Purdue’s Zach Edey and Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson.

Davis burst onto the national stage this season, after averaging 7.0 points over 31 games as a freshman. He has averaged a nation-leading 24.1 points in eight games against Top 25 opponents, and his season average of 20 points per game is best by a Wisconsin player since 1994.

Davis scored a career-high 37 points in a win over Purdue and has two other 30-point games. He scored 25 or more in six other games.

McGowens was the first five-star recruit to sign with Nebraska and he made good on the hype. He’s averaged 20.8 points over his last five games and leads all true freshmen nationally at 17.2 points per game.

Gard, who lost four starters from the 2020-21 team that won a game in the NCAA Tournament, coached his young team to a share of the Big Ten regular-season title.

The Badgers’ 24 wins are their most in five years, and they’ve been ranked as high as No. 8 and have appeared in the Top 25 every week since Dec. 20. They are 15-2 in games decided by six or fewer points for the most “close” wins in Division I.

The 2022 AP All-Big Ten team, with players listed with school, class, height, weight and hometown (“u” denotes unanimous selection):

FIRST TEAM

u-Guard — Johnny Davis, Wisconsin, So., 6-5, 194, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

u-Guard — Jaden Ivey, Purdue, So., 6-4, 195, South Bend, Indiana.

Center — Kofi Cockburn, Illinois, Jr., 7-0, 285, Kingston, Jamaica.

Forward — E.J. Liddell, Ohio State, Jr., 6-7, 240, Belleville, Illinois.

u-Forward — Keegan Murray, Iowa, So., 6-8, 225, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


SECOND TEAM

Guard — Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers, Sr., 6-6, 245, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

Guard — Trent Frazier, Illinois, Sr., 6-2, 175, Wellington, Florida.

Forward — Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana, So., 6-9, 245, Greenwood, Indiana.

Center — Zach Edey, Purdue, So., 7-4, 295, Toronto.

Center — Hunter Dickinson, Michigan, So., 7-1, 260, Alexandria, Virginia.


Coach of the year — Greg Gard, Wisconsin.

Player of the year — Johnny Davis, Wisconsin, So., 6-5, 194, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Newcomer of the year — Bryce McGowens, Fr., 6-7, 179, Pendleton, South Carolina.


AP All-Big Ten Voting Panel: Chris Basnett, Lincoln Journal Star; Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News, Big Ten Network, Fox Sports; Dave Eanet, WGN Radio, Chicago; Brian Fonseca, New Jersey Advance Media; Marcus Fuller, Minneapolis Star Tribune; Adam Jardy, Columbus Dispatch; Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette; Stephen Jones, Penn State Sports Network; Andrew Kahn, MLive.com (Ann Arbor, Michigan); Ryan McFadden, Baltimore Sun; Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star; Jim Polzin, Madison.com (Madison, Wisconsin); Scott Richey, Champaign (Illinois) News-Gazette; Dylan Sinn, Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette; Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press.


More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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