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Maryland’s Darryl Morsell named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

Maryland men’s basketball senior guard Darryl Morsell has been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, the conference announced Tuesday.

Morsell, a Baltimore native and Mount Saint Joseph graduate, is the first player in program history to receive conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. The Atlantic Coast Conference did not introduce the award until the 2013-14 season.

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“It is truly an honor to be selected for this award by Big Ten coaches,” Morsell said in a news 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.”

Often referred to as the “heart and soul” of Maryland (15-12, 9-11 Big Ten), Morsell has routinely guarded the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer. He ranks fourth on the team in rebounds (3.8), third in steals (1.0) and second in blocks (0.6) per game. But more importantly, his coaches and teammates have lauded him as the person who sets the tone on defense. The Terps ranked fifth in defensive efficiency in the Big Ten during conference play, according to KenPom. Maryland is allowing 65.8 points per game against league opponents, which ranks third in the Big Ten.

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“I am so proud of Darryl for earning this prestigious award as the best defender in the best league in the country,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “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.”

Morsell was also named to the All-Defensive Team and received All-Big Ten honorable mention by the media for the second straight year. It’s the fourth straight year a Maryland player was selected to the All-Defensive Team.

Junior guards Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala were named All-Big Ten honorable mention by coaches and media. It’s the second consecutive year Maryland has had three All-Big Ten players selected and the fourth time since joining the league seven years ago.

Wiggins, the 2020 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, ranks second on the team with a career-best 14 points per game and is tied for first in steals (1.1). He was Maryland’s best scoring option in the final month of the regular season, averaging 16.4 points on 46% shooting from the field over the last 10 games.

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Ayala leads the team with a career-best 14.5 points on 44% shooting from the field and is tied with Wiggins for the lead in steals.

Iowa’s Luka Garza was named Big Ten Player of the Year for the second straight season, while Michigan’s Juwan Howard was named Coach of the Year.

Big Ten tournament

MARYLAND VS. MICHIGAN STATE

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Thursday, 11:30 a.m.

TV: BTN Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

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