Iowa's Melsahn Basabe, Bryce Cartwright earn Big Ten honors

Published: March 7 2011 | 5:38 pm - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 12:40 pm in

From UI Athletics:

IOWA CITY, Iowa - University of Iowa junior Bryce Cartwright and freshman Melsahn Basabe have earned Big Ten postseason accolades. The Big Ten announced its all-conference teams and individual awards Monday evening.

Basabe (6-7, 225) and Cartwright (6-1, 180) were both named honorable mention all-Big Ten by the media voting panel.  Basabe was also tabbed honorable mention by the coaches and named to the league's five-member all-freshman team, which is selected by the conference coaches.

Basabe is one of only two Hawkeyes to start all 30 games, ranking first in team blocks (41), rebounding (6.9), free throws made (80) and attempted (112), and second in scoring (11.2).  The native of Glen Cove, N.Y., has re-written the Iowa freshman record book.  Basabe is the first Hawkeye freshman to amass over 325 points, 200 rebounds and 40 blocks, and the first player -- regardless of class -- to accomplish the feat since senior Ryan Bowen in 1998.  He ranks first in Iowa rookie annals in rebounds (208), third in blocks (41) and field goal percentage (.571), fourth in free throw attempts (112), fifth in free throws made (80) and ninth in scoring (336).  Basabe has six double-doubles (five against Big Ten competition), which is the second most by a Big Ten rookie.  He is one of only seven Big Ten student-athletes with six or more double-doubles. 

“I’m so happy for Melsahn,” said Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery.  “He has been playing at a high level.  To be recognized in a league of this caliber, with the number of talented players, as a freshman, is truly a great accomplishment.  He has the ability and character to be one of Iowa’s all-time greats.  I’m excited about Melsahn’s future and look forward to coaching him the next three years.”

Cartwright was thrust into the starting point guard position six games into the season and emerged as one of the league’s top floor generals.  Cartwright finished the 18-game conference schedule with a league-best 123 assists.  The native of Compton, Calif., became only the sixth Hawkeye to lead the Big Ten in assists since 1975, and the first since Dean Oliver in 2001.  Cartwright ranks third in team scoring, averaging 10.8 points per game.  He ranks 18th nationally in assists (5.87) and second in games since Jan. 26 (7.7).  Cartwright dished out eight assists or more nine times, including four-straight games, both of which have only happened once before by a Hawkeye.  Andre Woolridge had nine games of eight assists or more in 1997 and was credited with at least eight assists in four consecutive games in 1995.  Cartwright is finishing the season strong, dishing out seven assists or more in nine of the last 11 games and five or more in 21 of the last 24 contests.

“It’s rewarding to see Bryce get recognized for his play throughout the season,” McCaffery said.  “He began the year as a combo guard and assumed the point guard role, almost exclusively, in late November.  Bryce did an outstanding job as our point guard and made plays at crunch time.  Bryce was terrific for us this year and I look forward to seeing his game grow and improve even more next season.”

Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger was a unanimous selection for Freshman of the Year by both the media and coaches.  Sullinger and Basabe are joined on the coaches’ all-freshman team by Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr., Aaron Craft of Ohio State and Illinois’ Jereme Richmond.

Senior center Jarryd Cole (6-7, 250) was also honored as part of the Big Ten all-conference teams, earning Iowa's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive season.  One member of each Big Ten team is recognized with the Sportsmanship Award at the conclusion of each season. 

Cole started all 30 games, averaging eight points and 6.3 rebounds per contest.  Cole has been putting up the best numbers of his career the last six games, ranking first in team scoring (13.3), rebounding (7.0) and steals (1.0).  The three-time captain is shooting at a blistering 67-percent clip from the field (30-45) and 77-percent (20-26) from the foul line during that span. 

"Jarryd's been such a tremendous leader for this basketball team," said McCaffery. "He has been everything I could have hoped for; I just wish we could have him another year or two.  Jarryd's one of my favorite players I've ever coached.  He's not only a great leader in terms of what he says vocally, but also in terms of his work ethic. I really appreciate him in what he's meant to me, our staff and our program as we move forward."

Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson was selected by the coaches and media as the Player of the Year.  The media and coaches voted Purdue’s Matt Painter as Coach of the Year, marking the second straight year that Painter earned that distinction by his peers.

Conference coaches also picked Johnson as Defensive Player of the Year and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft as Sixth Man of the Year.

The coaches and media agreed on four of five first and second team honorees.  Representing the first team by the media and coaches were Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson (unanimous) and E’Twaun Moore, Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin, and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger.  The coaches had Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer on the first team, while the media tabbed Talor Battle of Penn State. 

The second team featured Ohio State’s David Lighty and William Buford, Trevor Mbakwe of Minnesota and Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas.  Leuer was on the media’s second team, while the coaches recognized Battle on their second squad. 

The third team consisted of Illinois’ Demetri McCamey, Darius Morris or Michigan, Michigan State’s Draymond Green, Jon Diebler of Ohio State and Northwestern’s Michael Thompson by both the media and coaches.  John Shurna of Northwestern also made the coaches third team due to a tie. 

The coaches' all-defensive team featured Ohio State’s David Lighty and Aaron Craft (unanimous), Delvon Roe of Michigan State, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin.

Iowa begins play at the Big Ten Tournament Thursday against Michigan State. Tip-off is at approximately 4 p.m. (CST) at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The game will be televised to a national cable audience by ESPN2 (HD).

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