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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 1:00 am

College Basketball

Painter, Winston AP's Big Ten choices

ERIC OLSON | Associated Press

Michigan State's Cassius Winston is The Associated Press player of the year in the Big Ten Conference and Purdue's Matt Painter is its coach of the year.

Winston, Purdue's Carsen Edwards and Wisconsin's Ethan Happ were unanimous picks to the AP's All-Big Ten team, also announced Tuesday, in voting of 15 journalists covering the conference.

Michigan freshman Ignas Brazdeikis was named newcomer of the year.

Joining Winston, Edwards and Happ on the all-conference first team are Michigan's Zavier Simpson and Maryland's Bruno Fernando.

Happ is on the first team for the third straight year. Edwards is a unanimous choice for the second year in a row. Winston was on the second team last year.

Winston is the second Michigan State player in four years named AP's Big Ten player of the year, joining Denzel Valentine in 2016.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound point guard held together an injury-plagued Spartans team and led it to a share of the regular-season championship. Winston has scored at least 20 points in 17 games and averages 19 per game to rank fourth in the league. He's first in the Big Ten and third in the nation in assists (7.6), his 2.6-to-1 assist-turnover ratio is best in the league and his 41.3 percent 3-point shooting ranks third.

The second team is made up of Indiana's Romeo Langford, Maryland's Anthony Cowan Jr., Penn State's Lamar Stevens, Minnesota's Jordan Murphy and Michigan's Ignas Brazdeikis.

Brazdeikis, a 6-7, 215-pound freshman from Oakville, Ontario, leads Michigan in scoring with 15 points per game. He burst onto the scene early with 18 points against Villanova and a season-high 24 against North Carolina as the Wolverines got out to a 17-0 start.

Purdue's Painter returned only one starter – preseason player of the year Edwards – and the Boilermakers opened 6-5 before they won 17 of their next 20 to share the regular-season title with Michigan State.

Purdue's 16 quadrant 1 and 2 victories, a key metric for NCAA Tournament selection, are second most in the nation. Painter is 318-157 in 14 seasons at Purdue, including a Big Ten-best 45-11 league record the last three years.