After locking down some of the best talent in the league this season, Darryl Morsell has been named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
The senior guard is the first player in Maryland men’s basketball history to win the award, as well as any conference defensive award since it wasn’t introduced in the ACC until 2013-14.
“It is truly an honor to be selected for this award by Big Ten coaches,” Morsell said in a press release. “I would not have achieved this without the support of God, in addition to my family, teammates and coaches. I know this is an individual award, but it is truly a team award. We accomplished this together and I cannot say enough about the guys in our locker room who made it happen.
Morsell led Maryland to a second place finish in Big Ten scoring defense, beating out the likes of Michigan’s Franz Wagner, Michigan State’s Aaron Henry, Rutgers’ Myles Johnson and Illinois’ Trent Frazier among others. The senior’s teammates were very vocal in campaigning for him to win the award.
“I am so proud of Darryl for earning this prestigious award as the best defender in the best league in the country,” head coach Mark Turgeon in a release. “To be recognized by Big Ten coaches shows how much respect he has earned over the last four years. Darryl worked incredibly hard to reach this point and to see it validated is extremely special.”
Along with being named the top player, Morsell makes the All-Defensive Team, marking the fourth straight year that a Terp has been selected to such. He follows in the footsteps of Anthony Cowan Jr. (2018), Bruno Fernando (2019) and Jalen Smith (2020).
Morsell was also named an an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection by the media and received the program’s Sportsmanship Award.
Juniors Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala also received recognition from the conference, named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention award winners by both coaches and the media. This marks the second straight year that Maryland has had three All-Big Ten players selected, as well as the fourth time since the Terps joined the conference seven years ago.
Ayala led Maryland in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game, and Wiggins was right behind him at 14.0. Wiggins also ranks second on the team in rebounds behind Donta Scott, averaging 5.8 per game. Both also record at least two assists per contest.