COLUMBUS, Ohio – Six members of the Big Ten champion and top-ranked Ohio State men’s basketball team were recognized among the 2011 All-Big Ten men’s basketball teams and award winners, announced Monday by the conference office. Jared Sullinger was a unanimous pick for Big Ten Freshman of the Year by the coaches and media and garnered first team All-Big Ten honors, while fellow rookie Aaron Craft was named the Sixth Man of the Year by the league coaches.
“We are fortunate to play in a tremendous league with outstanding players,” Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach, said. “To have five of our top six players recognized with postseason honors is a tribute to their hard work.”
Of his freshman award recipients, Matta said: “We are excited for Jared. We thought he had a great Big Ten season and is deserving of his spot on the first team. As for Aaron, the value of Aaron Craft for this team has been proven over the course of 31 games. He brings such value to this team and it’s great for him to be recognized.”
Sullinger, a unanimous choice by the coaches, and Craft were each named to the All-Freshman team. Sullinger, the sixth Big Ten Freshman of the Year in Ohio State history, has led the Buckeyes in scoring (17.3 ppg.) and rebounding (9.7 rpg.) while garnering Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors 11 times this season. Craft, the third Buckeye to be named Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, came off the bench 30 of 31 games for the Buckeyes and led the squad in assists (145) and steals (64). He recorded three games with six or more steals. Also garnering honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from the media and All-Defensive team honors from the coaches, Craft played nearly 30 minutes per game, averaging 6.9 points a game and shooting 46 percent from the field (70-151).
“I was honestly surprised to hear I was named freshman of the year,” Sullinger said. “There are a lot of talented freshman in the Big Ten.”
Craft echoed his teammate’s humble statement of surprise, and added: “I am fortunate to play on a team full of incredibly talented players and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute this season.”
In addition to the honors for Sullinger and Craft, Buckeyes David Lighty and William Buford were named second team All-Big Ten and Jon Diebler garnered third team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and the media.
Lighty, also an All-Defensive team member, has started all 31 regular-season games for the Buckeyes, averaging 12.3 ppg with 4.1 rpg, 104 total assists and 52 steals. A 2011 Lowe’s Senior Class Award Finalist, Lighty holds the school record for most career wins with 123 victories. As a fifth-year senior, Lighty became the third player in Ohio State history to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists this season. The Buckeye guard has played in 151 games in the Scarlet and Gray – the most by any active player in an Ohio State uniform.
Buford has started 30 games for the Buckeyes, averaging 14.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 3.0 apg and has scored in 94-consecutive games. The junior guard became the 47th player in Ohio State history to record 1,000 points (1,338). In 2011, Buford has scored in double-figures in 10 out of the last 11 Big Ten games and in 24 total games. As the top returning scorer from the 2009-10 Buckeyes, Buford had 18 points, five rebounds and four assists in the win vs. Wisconsin to conclude the regular season.
Diebler has started all 31 games, averaging 12.3 ppg and 2.5 rpg with 76 total assists. Diebler holds the Big Ten career three-point record with 355 from behind the arc. In 2011, Diebler is shooting 51 percent from three-point range (95-186), putting him in the record books as having the best single-season 3-point percentage – sixth in the NCAA. He has played in 138 games as a Buckeye, which is good for third all-time in school history.
Dallas Lauderdale was the Buckeyes’ Big Ten Sportsmanship award honoree after starting all 31 games, averaging 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest. Lauderdale, with 205 career blocks to rank third in program history, is shooting a team-best 73 percent from the field this season, hitting 66 of 90 attempts, with an 85 percent mark through 18 Big Ten games (33 of 39).