Ethan Happ has been recognized as Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Nigel Hayes has been named to the All-Big Ten first team, as the Big Ten Conference handed out its season-ending awards Monday night.
Selected as 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year by both the coaches and the media, Happ was also a unanimous selection by coaches to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and was named to the league’s all-defensive team. The forward from Milan, Illinois, was also recognized as a third team All-Big Ten honoree by the media and drew honorable mention recognition from the coaches.
For the first time in his collegiate career, Hayes was named to the All-Big Ten first team by both the coaches and the media. The junior forward from Toledo, Ohio, was a third-team All-Big Ten honoree last season and was named the 2014 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year as a freshman.
Joining Happ and Hayes in garnering postseason honors was Bronson Koenig, who was named to the All-Big Ten third team by the coaches and was an honorable mention honoree with the media.
Vitto Brown was recognized as Wisconsin’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Happ becomes the second player in program history to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, joining Sam Okey (1996).
The fifth UW freshman to be named to the Big Ten’s all-freshman team, Happ is the first since teammate Hayes received the distinction in 2014.
With Hayes garnering first-team selection, a total of nine different UW players have been named first team All-Big Ten over the past 15 seasons, combining for 13 first-team all-conference honors. No other program in the Big Ten has more during that era.
A preseason All-American pick and consensus All-Big Ten selection, Hayes finished the regular season tied for fifth in the Big Ten averaging 16.5 points, plus 5.8 rebounds and a team-high 3.1 assists per game. Happ is the first UW freshman to average at least 10.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game since Rashard Griffith in 1993-94. Koenig was UW’s second-leading scorer this season averaging 13.5 points per contest. He shot 42.3 percent from 3-point range in Big Ten play.
Winners of 11 of their last 13 games, the Badgers begin postseason play this week as the No. 6 seed at the 2016 Big Ten Tournament. The Badgers open play Thursday night at 8 p.m. (CT) and will face the winner between No. 11 Nebraska and No. 14 Rutgers.