Jess Settles, BTN men's basketball analyst, February 2, 2016
Iowa's Jarrod Uthoff remains atop my latest Big Ten Player Rankings, but Michigan State's Denzel Valentine is closing fast.
New to the list this week: Maryland's Robert Carter Jr., who has been on the list a few times this season, and Michigan State's Matt Costello, who continues to compile silly statistical nights.
Check out my latest list below.
1. Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa. Utoff had his worst game of the season (2-of-13, 9 points) in Iowa's loss at then-No. 8 Maryland, due in large part to Jake Layman?s defense. The senior bounced back with an explosive 19-point first half in a blowout over Northwestern.
Last week: 1
2. Denzel Valentine, Michigan State. In the last three games, Valentine is averaging 19.3 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. His shot looks better than ever, as he has knocked in 13 3?s during the stretch.
Last week: 2
3. A.J. Hammons, Purdue. The Big Ten Player of the Week scored a career-high 32 points against Nebraska, and participated in his own personal dunk contest. Seven dunks, that is. Oh, and he also finished with 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
Last week: 5
4. Yogi Ferrell, Indiana. Ferrell almost single-handedly won the game at Wisconsin, finishing with 30 points in the overtime defeat. The competition heats up for Indiana the rest of the way, and the Hoosiers will go as far as their star point guard takes them.
Last week: 4
5. Melo Trimble, Maryland. Melo shoots 92.6 percent from the free-throw line and is the reason Maryland is one of the nation?s top teams. His 3-point percentage has dropped to 33.9%, (41.2% last year), though.
Last week: 3
6. Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin. With redshirt freshman Ethan Happ?s emergence, the pressure is off of Hayes to carry Wisconsin?s front line on every possession. He's still putting up across-the-board numbers, and no one get to the charity stripe better (22 attempts vs. Indiana).
Last week: 6
7. Peter Jok, Iowa. Jok scored 22 of Iowa?s first 25-second half points, including three consecutive 3-pointers, vs. Northwestern. The junior, arguably the Big Ten's most improved player, continues to play at a high level.
Last week: 8
8. Diamond Stone, Maryland. Stone has cooled off the last four times out, shooting 40 percent and averaging nine points and 4.5 rebounds. The freshman is still blocking shots (1.75) and making free throws, though.
Last week: 7
9. Robert Carter Jr., Maryland. Carter?s clutch shooting (7-of-11) and passing (4 assists) vs. then-No. 3 Iowa kept Maryland's championship hopes alive. The Georgia Tech transfer can do it all.
Last week: NR
10. Matt Costello, Michigan State. Did you know Costello leads the Big Ten in rebounding (10.8 in Big Ten play)? Did you know Costello has four double-doubles in 10 Big Ten games? Enough said.
Last week: NR