The Big Ten announced their postseason honors earlier today. Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan was named player of the year and Melo Trimble was named first team all-Big Ten.
The Big Ten all-freshman team, though, should leave Maryland fans disappointed. Kevin Huerter, Anthony Cowan and Justin Jackson all missed the cut.
Shortly after the news came out, Jaylen Brantley sprung to the defense of his trio of younger teammates on Twitter.
While Brantley and Turgeon certainly think the freshmen got the short end of the stick, we can take a look at the stats of Maryland’s freshmen compared to the five players who were selected to see if the young Terps did indeed get unfairly denied a place on the all-freshman team. All of these stats are from Big Ten play only.
Point guard: Anthony Cowan v. Jordan Bohannon and Tony Carr
A pair of point guards earned all-freshman honors this season: Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon and Penn State’s Tony Carr.
When it comes to being playmakers, both Bohannon and Carr have Cowan beat. Bohannon recorded an assist on 27 percent of Iowa’s possessions, while Carr proved to be an even better passer with a 28.2 percent assist rate. Cowan had a solid 23 percent, but trails his fellow freshmen.
When it comes to three-point shooting, Cowan’s numbers are similar to Carr, but lag behind Bohannon. Iowa’s point guard knocked down 40 percent of his threes in conference play. Meanwhile Carr hit 32 percent of his threes while Cowan scored on 30 percent of his shots from the perimeter.
Cowan does have a leg up on both Bohannon and Carr for hitting shots inside the arc. Cowan made 46 percent of his twos, while Carr and Bohannon knocked down 45 percent and 36 percent, respectively, from inside.
Cowan holds an advantage over Bohannon and Carr when it comes to shooting, but his assist rate compared to the other point guards is low enough where it’s pretty fair to say the two guards deserved the honor over Cowan.
Small forward: Kevin Huerter v. Amir Coffey
Kevin Huerter missed out on making the all-freshman team due to Minnesota’s Amir Coffey.
One stat that immediately stands out in favor of Huerter deserving the honor over Coffey is rebounding: Huerter grabbed 15.5 percent of his team’s rebounds when he’s on the court, compared to Coffey’s 9.5 percent.
Huerter also holds narrow edges over Coffey when it comes to both blocks and assists. Huerter got a block on 1.6 percent of his defensive possessions while Coffey recorded a block on just 0.6 percent of his time on the defensive end. Similarly, Huerter recorded an assist on 19.2 percent of his offensive possessions, whereas Coffey sat at 18.2 percent.
The main argument in favor of Coffey comes from shooting. Coffey made 42 percent of his threes, compared to 39 percent for Huerter. Coffey similarly proved to be more consistent from the free throw line, making 70 percent of free throws compared to Huerter’s 50 percent.
Coffey is a better shooter, but Huerter is a better all-around player, so it seems that Huerter should have earned the honor over Coffey.
Power forward: Justin Jackson v. Miles Bridges
Comparing Michigan State’s Miles Bridges to Justin Jackson is slightly tricky, because Jackson solely plays power forward, while Bridges got playing time at both power forward and center for the Spartans.
Jackson holds a leg up on Bridges when it comes to cleaning up the offensive glass, where Jackson grabs an offensive rebound on 8 percent of his possessions, compared to Bridges’ 4.8 percent. However, Bridges holds the edge on defensive rebounds, with a 24.6 percent clip, while Jackson’s defensive rebound rate sits at 16.8 percent.
Bridges also proved to be more of a defensive threat in the paint than Jackson, getting a block on 5.8 percent of his defensive possessions compared to Jackson’s 2.8 percent.
Jackson holds a razor thin edge on three-point shooting over Bridges, hitting 42.4 percent of his shots compared to Bridges’ 42 percent. However, Bridges is a better inside finisher, as he made more than 50 percent of his two-point field goals, which Jackson failed to do.
The fact that Bridges played at center while Jackson did not makes this a tough comparison, but as far as the tale of the tape goes, Bridges is worthy of the honor over Jackson.
Conclusion: Huerter is the only Maryland freshman who was truly snubbed for the Big Ten’s all-freshman team.