Wisconsin's Johnny Davis named Big Ten player of year over Iowa's Keegan Murray

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Keegan Murray on Tuesday became the seventh Iowa men’s basketball player in the last nine seasons to earn first-team all-Big Ten Conference honors.

In doing so, Murray became the first Hawkeye sophomore to be named to the league’s first team since Ronnie Lester in 1978.

However, the Big Ten’s leading scorer was denied being the Hawkeyes’ third straight Big Ten player of the year. Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis took that honor from the coaches and media.

Murray averaged 23.3 points per game in the regular season, the most among any power-conference player, while leading Iowa with 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game. The 6-foot-8 sophomore is also considered the nation’s most efficient player, according to metrics, as evidenced by 55.4% shooting from the floor.

More:How Keegan Murray and Kris Murray went from overlooked in high school to outstanding for Iowa basketball

Keegan Murray, left, and Johnny Davis clashed just once this season, an 87-78 Wisconsin win in Madison.

The Big Ten’s first team was Murray, Davis, Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, Purdue’s Jaden Ivey and Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell. All but Davis (who inexplicably wasn’t included on one media ballot) were unanimous by the media and coaches.

No other Hawkeyes made the second or third team, though senior guard Jordan Bohannon earned honorable mention and sophomore forward Patrick McCaffery earned Iowa's sportsmanship award. Wisconsin's Greg Gard was the Big Ten coach of the year, as voted by media and coaches.

Davis got the player-of-the-year nod over Murray despite slightly lesser statistics, though his 20.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game were certainly fantastic. Davis played for the Big Ten co-champion Badgers, who beat Iowa in the teams’ only head-to-head meeting on Jan. 6.

More:6 things to know about Keegan Murray, Iowa basketball's star and potential NBA Draft lottery pick

Any way you slice it, this was a stellar first team. According to a recent NBA Draft big board by Sports Illustrated, Ivey is the No. 4 overall prospect for the 2022 draft, Davis is No. 5, Murray is No. 6 and Liddell is No. 13.

Iowa's first-team all-Big Ten run under Fran McCaffery began in 2014 with Devyn Marble, followed by Aaron White (2015), Jarrod Uthoff (2016), Peter Jok (2017) and two-time Big Ten player of the year Luka Garza (2020, 2021). That's the first time

The Associated Press also revealed its all-Big Ten teams Tuesday. Davis and Murray were the only unanimous selections, and Davis was the player of the year.