#1 – Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
It was definitely a tough call here, but there was just no way I could list anyone else as the best all-around player in the Big Ten.
Ethan Happ has stuffed the stat sheet from the beginning of his Wisconsin career, becoming one of the best players in the history of the program, as well as the conference, in the process. With his senior season still left to be played, Happ is already just one of five Big Ten players to have at least 1,500 points, 800 rebounds, and 250 assists for his career in the last 20 years.
Wisconsin may have had its worst season in a very long time last year, but you couldn’t have asked for much more from Happ. In addition to his dominant play, the 6’10 forward became the unquestioned leader on this squad after the departures of a special senior class of Bronson Koenig, Nigel Hayes, Vitto Brown, and Zak Showalter.
Happ averaged 17.9 points (fourth in the Big Ten), 8 rebounds (fourth) and 3.7 assists (ninth) en route to earning First Team All-Big Ten honors by the media and second team honors by the coaches. He became the first player in the Big Ten to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals in over 20 years.
He tested the NBA Draft waters, but, much to the delight of Badger Nation, decided to return for his senior season.
Ideally, Happ would demonstrate an improved shooting touch this season, at least from midrange and at the charity stripe. This is the development that NBA scouts would like to see from him and it would take Wisconsin’s offense to the next level.
The Badgers have a strong team this season that should be plenty good enough to get back to NCAA Tournament. Look for Happ to close out his storied collegiate career as you would expect from one the Big Ten’s all-time greats and keep Wisconsin in contention for the Big Ten crown and a trip back to the promised land.
All stats not otherwise linked are courtesy of ESPN.com.