Daily Targum Sports desk reveals its Big Ten and Rutgers award winners
Last week, awards and honors were given out to the best players in different categories of the Big Ten. The Daily Targum sports desk took to the polls to name its own Big Ten Player of the Year, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Big Ten Coach of the Year. The desk also revealed multiple Rutgers award winners.
2023 Big Ten Player of the year: Zach Edey (Purdue)
Targum Sports Big Ten Player of the Year: Zach Edey
The Targum Sports desk is in agreement that center Zach Edey deserved the Big Ten Player of the Year Award. Edey averaged 22.3 points per game (PPG), which was the best in the Big Ten. In addition, he led the conference in rebounds and field goal percentage and established himself as a 7-foot-4 tall threat.
2023 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year: Caleb McConnell (Rutgers) and Chase Audige (Northwestern)
Targum Sports Big Ten Player of the Year: Caleb McConnell
No surprise here — fifth-year senior guard Caleb McConnell led the conference with 2.6 steals per game and totaled 69 steals through 27 games played. His defensive prowess has helped the Scarlet Knights (19-14, 10-10) insert themselves in the top of multiple defensive categories, including average PPG allowed to opponents. In that category, Rutgers had only let its opponents score an average of 60.3 PPG.
2023 Big Ten Coach of the Year: Chris Collins
2023 Targum Sports Big Ten Coach of the Year: Chris Collins
Still, no change of opinion in awards as the Targum Sports desk believes Chris Collins is the rightful Big Ten Coach of the Year. Collins had a major influence at Northwestern, ending the season at the No. 3 spot of the 2023 Big Ten standings with an overall record of 21-11 and a conference record of 12-8.
The Wildcats were nationally ranked multiple times in the season and were able to establish themselves as a team to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. Northwestern ultimately received a spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament as the No. 7 seed in the West Region.
Targum Sports Rutgers Most Valuable Player: Cam Spencer
Senior guard Cam Spencer shined during his first season on the Banks. Most notably, he was the Knights’ biggest three-point threat, with game-winning shots in the dying seconds of road games against Purdue and the Wildcats.
The Davidsonville, Maryland, native led the team in three-pointers made, was second on the team with 12.9 PPG and landed at the No. 2 spot on the team in steals. Spencer ranked among the top single-season performances in program history in three-point percentage as well as free-throw percentage.
Targum Sports Rutgers Most Improved Player: Mawot Mag
Before his February 15 season-ending injury against Michigan State, junior forward Mawot Mag was the glue of Rutgers' offense. During his absence, the Knights went 2-6 to close out the regular season.
Targum Sports Rutgers Newcomer of the Year: Derek Simpson
Freshman guard Derek Simpson showed off his elite play-making ability in an early season matchup against Indiana, where he scored 14 points, and he also hit two big three-pointers to upset the then-ranked Hoosiers (22-11, 12-8). Simpson also excelled in the season’s later games as he helped Rutgers overcome a 19-point deficit on the road against Penn State with a team-high 16-point performance.
In the second round of the Big Ten Tournament against Michigan, Simpson significantly contributed to the team's success by scoring 13 points. In the tournament's quarterfinals against the Boilermakers (29-5, 15-5), Simpson scored a team-high 18 points. While the Knights lost that game, Simpson displayed his talent at such a young age in his collegiate career.