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Who Will Win Big Ten Freshman of the Year?

© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As March approaches, players are making final pushes for awards. While many awards like the all-conference teams and Big Ten Player of the Year have been settled, we still wonder who will win Big Ten Freshman of the Year. There were many highly-rated recruits this season, but few have been able to make strong impacts. The award is still wide open with only a few games left.

Who Will Win Big Ten Freshman of the Year?

Mackenzie Mgbako

Coming in as a five-star recruit, Mackenzie Mgbako was one of the favorites to win the award this offseason. He has had a very good season for the Hoosiers as he is averaging 11.6 points per game. But he is only a scorer, he doesn’t stuff the stat sheet, and he is not an elite defender. He was also supposed to be a great three-point shooter but only shoots 31% from deep. As of late, Mgbako has been on a very good stretch of play. If he can end the season strong, don’t be surprised if he wins Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Cam Christie

Despite being one of the lower-rated high school players entering the conference this year, Cam Christie has been one of the best freshmen this season. Minnesota has been a bit of a surprise this season and a lot of that is thanks to Christie. Averaging over 11 points per game, Christie has been a very good player for the Gophers.

Owen Freeman

Like Christie, Owen Freeman was also an unheralded recruit coming out of high school. However, he has greatly helped the Hawkeyes by averaging over 10 points and 6 rebounds this season. Although Iowa has had a rather disappointing season, Freeman has been a bright spot for the Hawkeyes.

Deshawn Harris-Smith

After a rough start to the season, Deshawn Harris-Smith has really started to pick things up in the last month of the season. For most of the season, Harris-Smith was not lighting up the scoreboard, but he was still an impactful player. He plays good defense and is a solid rebounder, now he is trying to find a nose for the basket. If he can finish the season strong he may be able to make a late push for the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

John Blackwell

Despite being a bit under the radar, John Blackwell has put together a pretty solid season in Madison this year. He is an elite three-point shooter as he nearly shoots 50% from deep. He averages nearly 8 points per game as well. Unfortunately, his game is quite limited at this point, which means he probably will not end up winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year. However, he has had a very good season and if he can string together a few good games, the award would not be off the table.

Who Wins?

Overall, this has been a weak year for freshmen in the conference. The highly-rated prospects, such as Xavier Booker and Jeremy Fears, have been disappointing. There have been a few surprises, like Christie and Freeman, but overall no one is truly standing out. I think the award comes down to Christie and Mgbako. Both have had similar stats, but I think the fact that Christie was only a three-star gives him a slight edge. He is playing above his ranking while Mgbako is just doing what was expected of him. Now, there are still a few games and Mgbako has been scorching hot as of late. He is in prime position to make a push for the award.


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