MADISON, Wis. -- Junior center Frank Kaminsky was one of six Badgers to earn All-Big Ten honors when the conference handed out its season-ending awards Monday evening.
Kaminsky was named a consensus first-team All-Big Ten honoree, while Sam Dekker was a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and a third-team selection, as voted on by the media.
Freshman Nigel Hayes was tabbed the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year, as voted on by the coaches, while also being named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Ben Brust, Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson each earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors, with Gasser being chosen to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team for the second time in his three seasons of eligibility. Brust earned Wisconsin’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
"I'm proud of our guys that were recognized and like I always say, individuals getting accolades is a reflection on the work that the whole team is doing," head coach Bo Ryan said. "I think having six players named to the list speaks to the balance of our team and the success we have had collectively."
Kaminsky is the eighth Badger to be named first-team All-Big Ten during Ryan’s 13 seasons, and the first since Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer in 2011. Those eight players have combined for 11 first-team all-conference honors, which is tied with Ohio State for the most of any team in the Big Ten during that era.
Kaminsky leads the Badgers in scoring at 13.4 points per game, raising his scoring average 9.2 points per game this season after averaging just 4.2 points per contest a year ago, the third-largest increase in the Big Ten. The junior was twice named Big Ten Player of the Week, once after pouring in a UW single-season record 43 points on Nov. 19 against North Dakota and again after recording his first career double-double (25 points, 11 rebounds) at Michigan on Feb. 16.
“I’m honored that people think I’m worthy of first-team All-Big Ten and I’m happy that I’m able to contribute to the team success we’re having,” Kaminsky said. “When you come into the program you hear all about the great players who have come before you and made Wisconsin what it is. I’m humbled to be in that company.”
Dekker averaged 12.9 points per game, while grabbing 6.2 rebounds per contest during the regular season. The Sheboygan, Wis., native has reached double figures in 24 of his 31 games this season, while earning five double-doubles and reaching the 20-point plateau three times during his freshman campaign.
Hayes is the second-ever Badgers player to earn Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year honors, joining Jason Bohannon (2008). A four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week honoree, Hayes reached double figures 10 times, including eight in Big Ten play, while coming off the bench. The Toledo, Ohio, native was also named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team after leading all rookies in field goal percentage (.546) during Big Ten play and ranking third overall in the conference. His 9.8 points per game average during Big Ten play ranked second to only Noah Vonleh (11.0 ppg), the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
“It’s always great when you can receive an individual honor but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates so I look at this as a team award,” Hayes said. “Team success is always important and to be recognized as one of the conference’s best reserves is an honor I will share with my teammates.”
Along with being tabbed an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, Gasser becomes just the second player in Wisconsin men’s basketball history to be twice named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, joining Michael Flowers (2007 and 2008). In addition to defensive team honors, Gasser also led the Big Ten at the free throw line (.879) and beyond the arc (.492) during Big Ten play.
Jackson and Brust also earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors, rounding out the award winners for the Badgers. Brust became just the 12th player during the Bo Ryan era to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau at UW, while also climbing the charts for single-season 3-pointers made (74), a record he set last season (79). A two-year starter at the point guard position, Jackson ranks fourth in the Big Ten in assists per game (3.9) and is fifth on the team, averaging 10.8 points to go along with 3.6 boards per contest.
Brust 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 second-seed this Friday at the Big Ten tournament at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Wisconsin plays at 5:30 p.m. (CT) on Big Ten Network and will face the winner of No. 7 Minnesota and No. 10 Penn State.