Men’s Basketball: Three Wildcats named All-Big Ten, Bryant McIntosh among best freshmen

Kevin Casey, Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

Conference honors were announced for the Big Ten on Monday, and guard Bryant McIntosh made the cut as one of five selections for the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, and juniors center Alex Olah and guard Tre Demps were named honorable mention All-Big Ten.

McIntosh’s distinction, though, is the headliner of the group.

The freshman is in good company with the selection, as he finds himself alongside Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell, Maryland guard Melo Trimble, Indiana guard James Blackmon, Jr. and Ohio State forward Jae’Sean Tate.

Russell, who looks likely to leave for the pros after this season, is currently being projected as a top-three pick in this year’s NBA draft. Trimble currently appears slated for second-round status if he were to bolt the Terrapins after one season.

McIntosh is the first Wildcats player to earn this honor since current senior guard Dave Sobolewski in 2012, and it’s easy to see why.

The freshman impressed all year with his play on the offensive end, finishing the regular season as the team’s third-leading scorer at 11.4 points per contest, and doing so at a respectable 42 percent from the field. McIntosh also proved a valuable distributor, with a team-leading 4.7 assists per contest from his point guard role.

McIntosh slowed down at the end of the regular season, as illness weakened his role against Michigan, and he was held to 8 points at Iowa on Saturday. But his freshman season was the most encouraging among the team’s touted young class.

Olah, who was selected by the league’s media members, battled consistency at times, but was one of NU’s top offensive weapons at 11.7 points per contest. His contributions on defense were even greater, as his 7-foot presence deterred opponents from the basket, especially when the Cats switched to a 2-3 zone.

Demps earned his distinction from both the league’s media members and head coaches. Marred by his inefficiency in the past, he found a new gear late in the season, dropping 16 points per game on 54 percent shooting in his last eight contests. The guard led the team for the season at 12.8 points per game.

The Wildcats are back in action on Thursday, when they begin their play as the No. 10 seed in the Big Ten tournament against seventh-seeded Indiana.

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