The Wolverine

March 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2019 THE WOLVERINE 9 BY ANDREW HUSSEY T hree Wolverines appeared on the midseason watch lists for different college basketball awards. Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis — who was averag- ing 14.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game through Feb. 20 — was named to three different watch lists. For starters, he was named to the 2018-19 midseason top 25 watch list for the Wooden Award, which is given each year to the best player in college basketball. The award was started in 1976 and the only Michigan player to win it was Trey Burke in 2013 when he scored 18.6 points per game and helped the Wolverines get to the national championship game. Villanova's Jalen Brunson won the award last season, and the last Big Ten player to receive the honor was Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky in 2015. The Wooden Award All-America Team will be an- nounced the week of the Elite Eight. The Big Ten was well represented on the midseason Wooden list with seven players from the conference earn- ing a spot. Brazdeikis was joined by fifth-year senior forward Ethan Happ of Wisconsin, fifth-year senior guard James Palmer Jr. of Nebraska, senior forward Jordan Murphy of Minnesota, junior guard Carsen Edwards of Purdue, junior point guard Cassius Winston of Michigan State and freshman guard Romeo Langford of Indiana. Brazdeikis was also named to the midseason watch list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, which honors the nation's Division I National Player of the Year. It is voted on by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Brunson also won this award last year. The only other Big Ten players on this list were Happ and Edwards. The last Big Ten player to win the award was Kaminsky in 2015, and Burke was also the last Wolverine to capture the accolade. The only other Michigan player to win this honor was Cazzie Russell in 1966. Brazdeikis was also among the 10 candidates for the Karl Malone Award, which is given to the nation's top power forward. Murphy is the only other player from the Big Ten in contention. The award began in 2015, and no Big Ten player has ever received it. Former Arizona star Deandre Ayton won it last season. Redshirt junior guard Charles Matthews is one of the 10 finalists for the Julius Erving Award, given to the best small forward in college basketball. Through Feb. 20, he was averaging 13.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Matthews is the only player from the Big Ten that is a finalist for the Erving Award. This is the fifth year of the award, and the only Big Ten player to win it so far has been Michigan's State Denzel Valentine in 2016. Last sea- son, Villanova's Mikal Bridges won it. The Wooden Award, the Karl Malone Award and the Julius Erving Award will be presented at The College Basketball Awards show, live on ESPN2 from Los Angeles April 12. Junior point guard Zavier Simpson was one of 15 play- ers selected to the midseason watch list for the 2019 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. The other Big Ten players on the list were Happ, Murphy and sophomore forward Bruno Fernando of Maryland. This is only the second year of this award, with West Virginia's Jevon Carter becoming the inaugural winner last season. ❑ Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Multiple Wolverines On Midseason Watch Lists Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis is a candidate for the Karl Malone Award (nation's top power forward), plus the Wooden Award and Oscar Robertson Trophy (nation's top player). PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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