MADISON — Ethan Happ added another significant achievement to his historic run with the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team on Monday.
The senior center became the first player in program history to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors three times in his career.
Happ ranks fifth among conference players in scoring (17.8), third in rebounding (10.4) and third in assists (4.7). He was joined on the coaches’ first team by Michigan State junior point guard Cassius Winston, Purdue junior guard Carsen Edwards, Maryland sophomore forward Bruno Fernando and Penn State junior forward Lamar Stevens. Minnesota senior forward Jordan Murphy replaced Stevens on the media’s first team.
Winston was named Player of the Year after leading the Spartans to a share of the regular-season title. Purdue’s Matt Painter was named Coach of the Year after the Boilermakers, whose only returning starter was Edwards, shared the crown with Michigan State.
Happ was named a first-team pick by both the media and the coaches as a sophomore. He was on the media’s first team last season, but the coaches tabbed him as a second-team pick.
Only 12 players were first-team honorees three times prior to Happ. Purdue’s Robbie Hummel, who finished his career in 2012, was the most recent.
UW coach Greg Gard was asked about Happ’s legacy during the Big Ten coaches teleconference on Monday afternoon.
“No. 1, that story is still being written,” Gard said. “I think he’s been able to be very opportunistic. He’s played on some very good teams, he’s been part of a transitional period of youth and injuries we went through last year and trying to hold that together as we grew. And then this year to come back for his fifth year and not chase the professional goals, I think is a testament to how important this university and this program are to him. The credit goes to him for having a really good senior year and I know for him, most importantly, having our team have a really good year.”
UW sophomore point guard D’Mitrik Trice was named honorable mention. Senior forward Khalil Iverson was one of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipients.
Michigan’s Ignas Brazdeikis was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He was joined on the All-Freshman Team by Indiana’s Romeo Langford, Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu, Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp and Maryland’s Jalen Smith.
Penn State senior guard Josh Reaves was named Defensive Player of the Year. He was joined on the All-Defensive team by Fernando, Michigan’s Zavier Simpson, Purdue’s Nojel Eastern and Michigan State’s Matt McQuaid.
The Badgers didn’t place anybody on that team despite finishing No. 1 among conference teams in adjusted defensive efficiency during Big Ten play. Happ, a two-team All-Defensive pick, and Iverson were strong candidates for inclusion on that list.
Meanwhile, UW (22-9) is gearing up for the start of postseason play. The Badgers, who moved up two spots to No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, will open up Big Ten tournament play on Friday at the United Center in Chicago with a quarterfinal game against Maryland, Rutgers or Nebraska.
For Happ, it’ll be another chance to add more achievements to his terrific career.
“He’s been fun to coach,” Gard said. “I appreciate all he’s done for the program, and hopefully we’ve got a lot more games with him.”