Iowa's Peter Jok reeled in the award most people expected him to get on Monday.
But the teammate Jok refers to as “the heart of the team’’ also picked up some hardware. So did two of the kids he helped nurture along the way.
Jok was named first team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media on Monday, becoming the fourth Hawkeye in as many seasons to earn that distinction.
Teammate Nicholas Baer was named the Big Ten’s sixth man of the year by the league’s coaches and Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook were among five players honored on the all-freshman team.
Jok, who led the Big Ten in scoring all season and is averaging 20.2 points per game heading into this week’s Big Ten tournament, was joined on both the coaches and media first teams by Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ (a former Rockridge High School star), Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, Maryland’s Melo Trimble and Minnesota’s Nate Mason.
Swanigan, who had an amazing 25 double-doubles during the regular season, was selected the league’s player of the year and Trimble was the only other unanimous first-team choice.
Illinois senior Malcolm Hill was voted to the second team by both the coaches and media.
With four starters graduating off last season’s team, Jok knew he had to assume the role of team leader as well as primary go-to guy in his senior year. He not only led the Big Ten in scoring, he also ranked among the national leaders in free throw percentage and was second on the team with 5.7 rebounds per game.
“With all due respect to what he's done, I think he did what I expected him to do and what he expected to do,’’ Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “When he decided to come back, I told him ‘You're going to lead the Big Ten in scoring. That's the plan.’ He said ‘Absolutely.’’’
But following a season-ending 90-79 victory over Penn State on Sunday, Jok told reporters he felt Baer was “the heart of the team.’’ The former Bettendorf star had just scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Baer, who started only two games during the Big Ten season, ended up leading the Hawkeyes in rebounding, blocked shots and steals. He is the only player in NCAA Division I with more than 200 points, 35 blocks, 40 steals and 35 3-point field goals.
“He's one of the best players in the league, without question,’’ McCaffery said Sunday. “He just keeps getting better. He impacts the game when we put him in. He settles everybody down. He helps you on the glass, helps you defensively, helps you against the press, from 3-point range, offensive rebound putbacks, deflections. He's everywhere and he's really smart.’’
Miles Bridges was voted the Big Ten freshman of the year by both the coaches and media, but the coaches’ all-freshman team also included Bohannon and Cook along with Minnesota’s Amir Coffey and Penn State’s Tony Carr.
Bohannon set the Iowa freshman record for 3-point field goals and assists in a game and produced several clutch plays, including the game-winning 3-pointer in a road upset of Wisconsin last week. Cook averaged 12.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Minnesota’s Richard Pitino was voted the coach of the year after taking a team that won eight games last season and leading it to a 23-8 record in the regular season.
The Golden Gophers’ Reggie Lynch, the league leader in blocked shots, was named the defensive player of the year and was joined on the all-defensive team by Happ, Wisconsin’s Zak Showalter, Northwestern’s Vic Law and Purdue’s Dakota Mathias.