Rutgers senior forward Caleb McConnell was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Big Ten for the second consecutive year. McConnell shares the award this year with Northwestern’s Chase Audige.
“Caleb McConnell is not only the best defender in the conference, but the best in the whole country,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “I can do so much more defensively with McConnell’s ability to guard positions 1 through 5. People always want to talk about scorers in this league. They should be talking about the amount of points Caleb takes off the board for the other team. He is paramount to our team’s defensive success night in and night out.”
According to Rutgers Athletics, McConnell became the first player in almost 20 years to win the award back-to-back seasons. McConnell is the fifth player ever to win the award in two-straight seasons and the sixth player ever to win the award more than once in the conference.
McConnell wasn’t the only Rutgers player to receive awards. Junior Center Clifford Omoruyi was selected to First-Team All-Defense alongside McConnell. Omoruyi averaged 2.1 blocks-per-game and complied 65 blocks in the regular season. Omoruyi has also been awarded Second-Team All-Big Ten by the media and third-team All-Big Ten by the coaches. Omoruyi leads the Scarlet Knights with 13.5 points-per-game and 9.8 rebounds-per-game.
Cam Spencer and Paul Mulcahy both received Big Ten Honorable Mentions from both the media and the coaches. Mawot Mag was honored with the All Big-Ten Sportsmanship Award.
Just last week the Big Ten announced that Rutgers women’s basketball stars Kaylene Smikle and Chyna Cornwell were Big Ten Awards recipients.
“Smikle was named to the All-Freshman Team (media & coaches) as well as the All-Big Ten Second Team (media & coaches). Cornwell was selected as an Honorable Mention (media) as well as Rutgers Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient,” according to Rutgers Athletics.
Rutgers will face Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday afternoon at 12 noon. We will have it for you here on Fox Sports New Jersey 93.5 FM 1450 AM.