Big ten player of the year is annual thing that people always love to know. There are some names that sit in the list, like Luka Garza and Ayo Dosunmu.
Luka Garza ranks first in the country in points per game with 24.5ppg, 8.4 rebounds with shooting splits of 59-43-70. As the season began, even more impressively, the Iowa Hawkeye was dominating teams with both his scoring and rebounding.
He was almost averaging 30 points and 10 rebounds. Although his numbers have dipped some he is still a favorite to win the John Wooden Award and National Player of the Year. According to KenPom.com, his offensive rating of 136.9 ranks him No.1 in the country.
Before this season started, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery talked about what makes Garza so special. “The guy is just relentless, and that’s why he’s great.” He is currently considered the most dominant player in the game.
According to Big Ten Analyst Jess Settles, Garza is almost impossible to guard. “It doesn’t matter if there are three defenders trying to put a body on him.
He is stronger than everybody else. He works harder than everybody else. He is more skilled than anyone else in the game and that is rare to say about a center.”
While Luke Garza has arguably emerged as the best player in the Bid 10, this year, Illinois Junior guard Ayo Dosunmu is also taking the Big Ten by storm. He stands at 6’5”.
Like Garza, he is listed in the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 Watch List, the Boby Cousy Award top 10 Candidates List and the Naismith Trophy Watch List among many other top player of the week lists.
He is ranked No.3 in the KenPom.com Player of the Year rankings and is the only player in the NCAA over the last 11 seasons to average at least 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Additionally, Dosunmu has led Illinois to its highest National ranking since 2004-2005. He shoots an impressive 49% from the field and 43% from the three.
Dosunmu is considered a workhorse for the Illini, playing 34.1 minutes per game and averaging 22.3 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game and 5.1 assists per game. In December, he put up back-to-back 30 point games which earned him Big 10 player of the week honors.
According to Dosunmu “Coach Underwood just told me to be the best player in the country, finish the game off and I just accepted his challenge….Came out and just made the shots that I work on in the gym every day.”Of course, the numbers aren’t always as good as those he put up in December, but Dosunmu is a coaches’ dream.
Dosunmu has now made 10-plus field goals in six games this season, giving him eight such games during his career. According to Illinois, Dosunmu’s eight career games of 10-plus field goals are the most by an Illini player in at least 25 years.
His six games of 10-plus field goals this season rank second in the Big Ten behind Iowa’s Luka Garza (eight games). Both of these players are terrific.
Both have had tremendous years. Statistically, Luka Garza emerges as the winner for the best player in the Big 10.