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March 9, 2009

Turner, Buford and Mullens earn post-season honors

For the second time in three years, an Ohio State player was named Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten.

A five-star prospect out of Toledo Libby, William Buford averaged 11.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season for the Buckeyes and Monday he followed Greg Oden (who won the award two years ago) as the rookie of the year in the Big Ten by the coaches and the media.

"I'm real surprised," Buford said. "My coaches have been working me out real hard and I owe it all to my coaches and my teammates. It's a big honor to be in this category; to even be mentioned."

Also mentioned in contention for the award was Buford's teammate B.J. Mullens. Another five-star freshman at Ohio State, Mullens joined Buford on the Big Ten's All-Freshman team this year along with Matt Gatens of Iowa, Delvon Roe of Michigan State and Lewis Jackson of Purdue.

The 7-foot-1 center averaged 9.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game this season coming off the bench for the Buckeyes. While the Freshman of the Year award went to Buford, Mullens was honored with the Sixth Man of the Year Award in the Big Ten this season.

"It's a great honor to get this award. Just want to give credit to my teammates and my coaches," Mullens said. "Having me come off the bench and being that sixth man, I got great looks inside and I give credit to my teammates for hit big shots outside so I could get good looks inside."

Neither Buford nor Mullens was named to any of the All-Big Ten teams Monday, but their teammate and team-leader Evan Turner was a first team selection by both the coaches and media. The sophomore from Chicago led the Buckeyes in nearly every statistical category this season, including points (16.8), rebounds (7.1), assists (3.8) and steals.

"I think he's seeing things a little bit clearer (this year)," Matta said. "He's a hard worker. He's a very competitive individual and he wants Ohio State to win."

The 6-foot-7 forward was considered to be one of the top three candidates for Big Ten Player of the Year this season but the coaches and media both agreed that the award should go to Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas. Although Turner did not receive any official first place votes for player of the year, he certainly had the support of his teammates.

"Hands down," Jon Diebler said when asked if Turner deserved to be player of the year. "You guys have seen all year how Evan's progressed. Not only does take over in scoring but rebounding and setting up for his teammates. He's got my vote."

Turner also had the votes of Big Ten Network analysts Tim Doyle and Dave Revsine, who each stated they felt the Buckeyes sophomore should have won the award.

"I think he's not on the team this year they win five games in the conference," Doyle said. "He's the best one-on-one player. He led his team in assists. He does it all. He's the type of guy who can single-handedly win a game. You take him off Ohio State I think he meant the most to his individual team."

Despite not winning the award, Turner was the only player unanimously selected to the first team All-Big Ten by the coaches and the media. He and Lucas were joined on the first team by Penn State guard Talor Battle, Michigan forward Manny Harris and Purdue center JaJuan Johnson.

Although no Buckeyes were selected to the second or third teams, Diebler was voted honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media.

First Team All-Big Ten Under Matta
2006 Terence Dials
2007 Mike Conley, Jr.
2007 Greg Oden
2008 Jamar Butler
2009 Evan Turner

Big Ten Player of the Year
2006 Terence Dials

Big Ten Freshman of the Year
2007 Greg Oden
2009 William Buford

Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year
2007 Daequan Cook
2009 B.J. Mullens

Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
2007 Greg Oden

All-Big Ten Freshman Team
2007 Greg Oden
2007 Mike Conley, Jr.
2008 Kosta Koufos
2009 William Buford
2009 B.J. Mullens


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