It’s been said time and again, but the Wisconsin Badgers — like Rodney Dangerfield — can’t get no respect. When the all-Big Ten awards were announced Monday night on the Big Ten Network, the trend continued.
Wisconsin received four honors from the coaches and three from the media. In each, Trevon Hughes, Jason Bohannon and Jon Leuer earned second-team, third-team and honorable mention recognition, respectively.
The second-team honor marks the third straight all-Big Ten recognition for Hughes, who earned honorable mention in each of the last two seasons. For Bohannon, the honor was his first in the Big Ten since being named 2008 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year.
While getting Bohannon to talk about himself is no easy task, he acknowledged he was happy to receive the third-team all-Big Ten recognition. Still, he remains focused on the rest of the Badgers’ season.
“It’s a good accomplishment,” Bohannon said. “I worked very hard in the offseason and everything, but there’s other goals that we have. … We still want to do a lot of things in the Big Ten tournament and also the NCAA Tournament.”
Leuer, whose only previous Big Ten award was a 2009 Academic All-Big Ten honor, was pleasantly surprised to find his name on the list of honorable mentions.
It was especially rewarding for Leuer, who had been playing as well as anyone in the conference before his Jan. 9 wrist injury.
“It’s always nice to be recognized,” he said. “We don’t pay a whole lot of attention to that stuff, but like I said, it’s nice when our guys get some notoriety and people around the league show some respect for us.”
UW’s biggest snub arguably came in the naming of the Big Ten’s Coach of the Year.
Just ask Big Ten Network analyst and former Indiana interim head coach Dan Dakich.
“You could make a case for Bo Ryan every year. I think he had maybe his best year this year,” Dakich said on the awards telecast. “They only had two guys coming back that were in double figures, Hughes and Bohannon. Leuer goes out for nine games. That’s half a Big Ten season. Unbelievable job.”
It’s hard to disagree with Dakich. It’s even harder to see the logic behind the coaches’ actual pick, Purdue head coach Matt Painter.
After being selected to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten before the season, Wisconsin finished 13-5, one game behind conference leaders Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan State.
Along the way, UW defeated three opponents in the top six of the AP poll, or the top five if you look at the coaches’ poll. Those teams — Duke, Purdue and Michigan State — are projected to be a one, two and three seed in ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s latest projection.
Simply put, the Badgers proved the experts wrong once again. While they may be biased toward their head coach, any member of the UW squad would likely tell you Ryan deserved the recognition as Big Ten Coach of the Year.
“Yes, I think so,” Hughes answered when asked if Ryan deserved the award. “We just don’t get recognized. I guess they don’t like the style of the way we play or whatever. But each year, we get it done. Every year we’re supposed to get bad because players leave here, but he finds a way. He gets the best out of his players, and that’s what a coach should do.”
Hughes’ teammates took a less decisive approach to their answer, but generally agreed.
Unlike Wisconsin, which returned just three members of its starting lineup, Purdue returned all five starters in 2009-10. With that the Boilermakers earned a No. 7 preseason ranking in both polls while being picked to finish second in the Big Ten.
While they had to deal with an early injury to guard Lewis Jackson, the Boilermakers largely performed as expected. In the most recent AP poll, Purdue ranked No. 6, just one spot above its preseason rank.
According to Hughes, that lack of recognition for their efforts is just added motivation for the Badgers going forward.
“It always makes us more hungry,” he said. “It’s just bulletin board material.”
Hughes, like Ryan, was snubbed by the coaches. Rather than name the native of Queens, N.Y., to their all-Big Ten first team, the Big Ten leaders picked Demetri McCamey of Illinois and Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas.
Once again, Dakich did not agree with the selection, seemingly citing the lack of consistent defense played by McCamey.
“I think you have to look at defense at some point when you’re picking an all-conference team,” Dakich said. “To me, Trevon Hughes is the best defensive player of all of the guards in the conference. And I’m including (Purdue guard) Chris Kramer in that.”
Apparently, the Big Ten coaches felt recognizing Hughes’ defense on the all-Big Ten Defensive Team was sufficient. The fourth honor UW received from the coaches was Hughes’ recognition as a member of the all-Big Ten Defensive team.
The award is significant for Hughes when considering the improvement made by the 6-foot guard throughout his four years on the defensive side of the ball.
Yet, despite the personal nature of the award, Hughes deflected praise to his teammates.
“That’s just our Wisconsin defense getting recognized,” he said. “Bo said something in the locker room, that since we finished first in defense as a team that they had to put somebody on that list.”