The All-Big Ten men’s basketball teams were announced Monday, the same five on the first team for both the 12 coaches and a panel of 24 beat writers, including MSU writers Joe Rexrode and Matt Charboneau. Good choices. No gaffes or surprises:
Nik Stauskas, Michigan (POY)
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa
Terran Petteway, Nebraska
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
I’d have plugged in U-M’s Caris LeVert for Kaminsky. Yogi Ferrell was the other possible first-team choice.
All-conference teams aren’t meant to be real teams. They’re meant to be five deserving players regardless of position.
But, for an interesting exercise, let’s say the Big Ten was to send its best five and five reserves to play the best of other leagues, what’s the team?
It wouldn’t be the above five. There’s no point guard, athletic 4-man or capable defensive post.
It’s not an easy answer. This is a league with an abundance of talented wings, but short on do-it-all point guards.
Here’s my All-Big Ten “Actual” Team, were such a thing to exist:
PG: Yogi Farrell, Indiana
SG: Gary Harris, MSU
SF: Caris LeVert, U-M
PF: Adreian Payne, MSU
C: Noah Vonleh, Indiana
PG: Aaron Craft, Ohio State
SG: Nik Stauskas, U-M
SF: Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa
PF: Branden Dawson, MSU
C: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
One could make the argument the reserves could beat the starters, and that might be so. This is not a Big Ten with loads of high-end NBA talent, but it’s a league with terrific depth of talent and veteran stars.
In simply trying to assemble the best team to win games, this first five are all complete players, who can create their own shot and defend their position. I didn’t consider schools, or the need to represent a program — hence two players from in otherwise incredibly average (if that) Indiana squad. In fact, I didn’t realize Stauskas wouldn’t be among my starting five until I began assembling the team.
The second team is mix of prolific offense and top-tier role players, with Craft and Dawson there for defense, rebounding and intangibles to supplement the offense-first crew of Stauskas, Marble and Kaminsky.
Who’s your five? And your next five? Try to take emotion and school loyalty out of it, and think only of players and the sort of mesh and parts that would make the best team.