April 9, 2002
COLUMBUS, Ohio–Jim O’Brien, Ohio State head coach, announced Tuesday the 2001-02 Ohio State Men’s Basketball team awards at the annual team banquet.
Senior Brian Brown was selected as the 2001-02 Jerry Lucas Most Valuable Player. Junior Sean Connolly earned the Fred Taylor Award for Academic Excellence, Boban Savovic was selected for the Most Improved Player Award and junior Shaun Smith was presented with the John Havlicek Most Inspirational Award.
Brown, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., ended his Buckeye career as one of only three players all time to score 1,300 (1,384) points, grab 400 (448) rebounds, hand out 350 (374) assists and record 100 (128) steals. The two-time Ohio State captain was a First Team All-Big Ten selection as a senior and earned a spot on the 2002 All-Big Tournament team following a 27-point effort in the semifinal victory over Illinois which sent the Buckeyes in the title game against Iowa.
After earning a starting position at the start of Ohio State’s Final Four run in 1999, Brown began a 98-game streak in which he started ever game. He is part of a senior class that won a school-record 94 games, made school record four-consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament and claimed a share of a pair of Big Ten titles. The 2002 Big Ten Tournament title is the first in school history.
Connolly, who hails from Peabody, Mass., is in his second season of eligibility and third on the Ohio State campus, earned Academic All-Big Ten honors as a junior and will likely become a two-time Ohio State Scholar Athlete later this spring. The family resource and financial management major, will be one of just two seniors next year on the 2002-03 Buckeyes roster.
As a junior, Connolly recorded 56 assists and 20 steals while playing in his 63rd-consecutive game at Ohio State following his transfer from Providence in the summer of 1999. He will be looked upon to contribute significantly in the O’Brien’s three-guard offense as a senior. Savovic, a Montenegro, Yugoslavia native, ended his career with 113 career games played and 63 starts. His career-high 27 points in the 2002 Big Ten Tournament championship game win over Iowa earned him Most Outstanding Player accolades.
As a senior, he had his best season at Ohio State in several categories, including field-goals made (118), 3-pointers made (60), free throws made (85) and steals (38). He also had the highest scoring average of his career with 11.9 points a game.
Smith, a Cincinnati, Ohio product, will begin his third season on the basketball team next fall. Smith joined the Buckeyes at the start of the 2000-01 campaign after earning a roster spot following walk-on tryouts in the fall of 2000.
His command of the OSU offense is a benefit during practice. He is one of the better passers on the roster and would rather pass for an assist than score.
Brown and Savovic along with classmates Will Dudley and Tim Martin received framed jerseys. Senior managers Steve Ater and Dave Egelhoff also were presented with framed basketball jerseys.
All team members were presented with 2002 NCAA Tournament watches at the banquet.
A Look Back
The 2001-02 Ohio State men’s basketball surprised the experts by winning a share of the 2002 Big Ten Regular-Season Title and then claiming the 2002 Big Ten Tournament Championship in Indianapolis.
The Buckeyes recorded their fourth-consecutive 20-win season, a feat accomplished only once before (1960-63) and set an Ohio State record by qualifying for the fourth-consecutive NCAA tournament. No Ohio State coach has ever guided five consecutive teams to 20 or more victories, an opportunity Jim O’Brien will have in 2002-03.
Ohio State has appeared in 22 NCAA tournaments in program history and has won or shared the Big Ten regular-season championship 17 times. O’Brien’s Buckeyes are responsible for four of the NCAA tournament appearances and two (2000, 2002) of the Big Ten titles.
Only Fred Taylor (1959-76) has directed more teams to NCAA tournament play with five appearances.
A Look Ahead
The 2002-03 season already is underway with the nine-returning letterwinners and three returning starters working out in the weight room in preparation for next season.
Brent Darby and Sean Connolly return as seniors at guard positions with juniors Zach Williams and Velimir Radinovic returning in the post. Darby, Williams and Radinovic are the returning starters.
Players back next season accounted for over 56 percent of the 2001-02 scoring (1,333 of 2,362 points) and nearly 67 percent of the rebounding (703 of 1,052).
Freshmen Terence Dials and Brandon Fuss-Cheatham also should see increased playing time. Another freshman, Matt Sylvester, should be back in action after missing his first season in Columbus with back and calf injuries.
The 2002 Review
Ohio State (24-8, 11-5/T 1st)
14th Associated Press
17th USA Today/ESPN Poll
Sagarin Ratings: 22nd
RPI Final: 17th
2001-02 Season Facts
1, Number of Big Ten tournament championships, the first in school history was claimed with a win over Iowa (3/10/02).
3, Wins in a season over both Michigan and Iowa, marking the first time in school history OSU has won 3 games in one season over the same opponent.
4, Consecutive years OSU has qualified for the NCAA tournament, a first in school history.
4, Number of wins over ranked opponents in 2001-02.
6, Number of players coached by Jim O’Brien who rank among the Top 10 all-time in 3-pointers made at OSU (Penn 1st, Coleman 2nd, Redd 4th, Savovic 5th, Brown 8th, Darby 10th).
13, Number of 3-pointers made in a game, twice, by OSU to tie a school record in that category (13-30 vs. Santa Clara, 12/12/01, 13-23 vs. Purdue. 2/23/02).
17, Number of regular season Big Ten titles won (10) or shared (7) in Ohio State history.
24, Number of games won by the Buckeyes marking the fourth-consecutive year OSU reached 20 or more victories.
22, Number of NCAA tournaments OSU has played in all-time.
30, Number of 3-point field goal attempts vs. Santa Clara (12/12/01) to set the all-time 3-point attempts record for a single game.
32, Wins claimed by OSU from August 2001 through March 2002 for the Buckeyes in Eurpope (6-0), during the exhibition season (2-0) and during the 2001-02 campaign (24-8).
58, Wins at Value City Arena in 66 opportunities in the last four years.
175, Second most 3-point field goals made in a season by an OSU team.
466, The second most 3-pointers attempted in a season by an OSU team.
795, The fifth most free throws attempted in a season by an OSU team.
.600, Career winning percentage for Jim O’Brien in Big Ten games (48-32), second only to Fred Taylor (158-102,.608) in Ohio State history. O’Brien is 47-17 (.734) in the last four years in regular season Big Ten play.
.623, Single-season shooting percentage by Terence Dials (86-138), an OSU freshman record. Jerry Lucas is the OSU career leader at .624 (776-1,243) among players with a minimun of 400 made field goals.
3, With the addition of Brian Brown, number of Buckeyes to score over 1,300 (1,384) points, grab 400 (448) rebounds, hand out 350 (374) assists and record 100 (128) steals in a career.
33, Points scored by Brian Brown in the NCAA tournament win over Davidson, the second most points (tie) scored in an NCAA game behind the 36 tallied by Jerry Lucas against Western Kentucky (3/11/60).
40, Number of Buckeyes to score 1,000 or more points in a career. Brian Brown is 19th all-time in career scoring at OSU with 1,384.
60, 3-point field goals made by Boban Savovic, fifth most by an OSU player in a single season.
125, Career 3-pointers made by Boban Savovic, fifth most in OSU history.
129, Career games played by Brian Brown, second most in OSU history.
374, Career assists by Brian Brown, seventh in OSU history.
520, Points scored by Brian Brown as a senior, 26th most in a single season at Ohio State. He is the 21st Buckeye to reach 500 or more points in a single season.