Posted-March 5th, 2012 6:32 pm
MADISON, Wis. – Senior guard Jordan Taylor was one of five Badgers to earn All-Big Ten honors when the conference handed out its season-ending awards Monday evening.
Taylor was chosen first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and second-team All-Big Ten by the media, while Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren were each consensus honorable mention selections. Josh Gasser was chosen to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team, as voted on by the coaches and Rob Wilson was named Wisconsin’s Sportsmanship Award recipient.
“I’m very honored to have my name written alongside the great players in the Big Ten,” Taylor said. “Our league is so deep and talented this year, you can’t go wrong with any of the players on the three All-Big Ten teams or even the guys who earned honorable mention like Ryan (Evans) and Jared (Berggren). There is no question my being named All-Conference is a reflection of our team’s success and I owe a lot to my teammates and coaches for that. It’s a great honor.”
“Being named to the All-Defensive Team means a lot to me,” Gasser said. “I really pride myself on that end of the court, so to have coaches around the league recognize that gives me great pride.
“But at the same time, I think this is representative of our team defense. When we’re holding teams to the points and shooting percentage that we are, I realize that I’m just a part of that. But I’m proud to be honored.”
Coupled with his selection last year, Taylor is just the sixth Badger to be a two-time, first-team All-Big Ten selection, joining Alando Tucker (2006 and 2007), Kirk Penney (2002 and 2003), Michael Finley (1993 and 1995), Ab Nicholas (1951 and 1952) and Don Rehfeldt (1949 and 1950).
This marks Wisconsin’s 10th first-team all-conference honor during Bo Ryan’s 11 seasons. UW’s 10 accolades are the most in the Big Ten during the Ryan era and the 7 different individuals earning first-team All-Big Ten honors are tied for tops in the conference.
Taylor leads the Badgers in scoring at 14.6 points per game, a figure that rises to 16.3 in Big Ten games. He is also averaging 4.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds per contest and is a midseason finalist for both the Cousy Award and the Naismith Trophy.
Berggren earns the first conference accolades of his career thanks to a 10.4 scoring average and a 5.0 rebounding average. In addition, the redshirt junior led the conference in blocks per in conference play with 1.8 swats per game and was second overall with a 1.6 mark. His 51 blocks this season are the fifth-most in school history and the most since 1995.
Evans also picked up the first Big Ten honor of his career. He is averaging 10.7 points in all games (11.2 in conference games), while his 6.9 rebounds per contest are fifth-most in the league. Those figures are significant jumps from last season when he averaged 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
In being named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, Gasser becomes Wisconsin’s first-ever sophomore to be named to the squad and just the fifth Badger all-time, joining Michael Flowers (2007 and 2008), Joe Krabbenhoft (2008), Trévon Hughes (2010) and Jordan Taylor (2011).
“That’s a pretty awesome list of players and I never thought I’d be even close to being mentioned in the same breath as those guys,” Gasser said. “Those are players that I have grown up watching and they’re guys that I have tried to model my game after.”
Gasser has been a key figure on a Badgers defensive unit that is on a record-setting pace, allowing opponents an NCAA-best 51.8 points per game. UW also leads the nation in 3-point field goal defense (.278), ranks third in field goal defense (37.6%) and is second in defensive points per possession (0.87).
Wilson was the Badgers recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, which honors individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
The Badgers open postseason play as the four-seed this Friday at the Big Ten tournament at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Wisconsin plays at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN and will face the winner of No. 5 Indiana and No. 12 Penn State