Men's Basketball Announces Award Winners at Team Banquet
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State's men's basketball team announced its individual team award winners at the annual banquet in the Breslin Center prior to the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday.
The Spartans enter the NCAA Tournament with a 29-4 overall record and are ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches poll. MSU set a school record with 28 regular season wins and won the Big Ten Regular Season Championship.
Sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges was named the recipient of the Charles S. Phillips Most Valuable Player, as voted on by the media, and the Gus Ganakas MVP Award as voted on by the team. Bridges, who was a unanimous All-Big Ten First Team selection this year, leads Michigan State in scoring with 16.9 points per game, is second on the team with 6.9 rebounds and is third on the team with 2.8 assists per game. He ranks sixth in the Big Ten in scoring, 11th in rebounding and is also third in the league in free throw percentage (88.3 percent).
Sophomore forward Nick Ward received the Jumping Johnny Green Chairman of the Boards Award. He leads the team, and ranks eighth in the Big Ten, with a team-leading 7.2 rebounds per game.
Freshman forward Xavier Tillman and graduate forward Ben Carter were the recipients of the Unsung Player Award. Tillman has played in every game this season and provided depth in the frontcourt for the Spartans, averaging 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 8.0 minutes. Carter, who missed all of last season with an injury, has been a valuable leader for the team, both on and off the floor.
Tillman also earned the team's Most Improved Player Award. He has become a key player in the frontcourt as the season has progressed and has scored at least four points 14 times and collected at least two rebounds in 20 games.
The John E. Benington Defensive Player of the Year Award was shared by junior guard Matt McQuaid and sophomore guard Joshua Langford. This is the second-straight year McQuaid was the recipient of the award.
Senior co-captain Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr. won both the Stephen G. Scofes Inspirational Player Award and Antonio Smith Glue and Guts Award. This is the fourth-straight year that Nairn has been the recipient of the Inspirational Player Award. The three-time captain is the most experienced player on the team with 135 games played and 66 starts. He is second on the team with 3.0 assists per game and ranks fifth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Junior forward Kyle Ahrens earned the Scholar-Athlete Award. Ahrens is an advertising major and was an Academic All-Big Ten selection last year. Freshman guard Jack Hoiberg was the recipient of the Tim Bograkos Walk-On Award
2018 Michigan State Men's Basketball Banquet Award Winners:
Most Valuable Player Award (Team Vote): Miles Bridges
Most Valuable Player Award (Media Vote): Miles Bridges
Scholar-Athlete Award: Kyle Ahrens
Unsung Player Award: Ben Carter & Xavier Tillman
Tim Bograkos Walk-On Award: Jack Hoiberg
Most Improved Player Award: Xavier Tillman
John E. Benington Best Defensive Player Award: Joshua Langford & Matt McQuaid
Stephen G. Scofes Inspirational Player Award: Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr.
Jumping Johnny Green Chairman of the Boards Award: Nick Ward
Antonio Smith Glue and Guts Award: Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr.