Ohio State didn't win the Big Ten title Sunday, but the Buckeyes picked up their fair share of hardware Monday night.
Chris Holtmann was named Big Ten Coach of the Year and Keita Bates-Diop was named the conference's player of the year, while Jae'Sean Tate and Kaleb Wesson were named to the leagues second-team and All-Freshman teams, respectively. It marked the first time that Ohio State had a player named either first-team All-Big Ten or All-Freshman since 2014-15, and gave the Buckeyes a clean sweep of the top two conference individual honors for the first time since 2009-10, when Thad Matta won coach of the year and Evan Turner was the league's player of the year.
Always one to give credit to the players before himself, Holtmann said Monday that the trio of Buckeyes who earned postseason accolades were more than deserving.
"Not only are there great team accomplishments, but along with any kind of team accomplishments come exciting individual acknowledgements," Holtmann said. "I think that's good, when you see a teammate win player of the year, another one get second-team and another one get (All-Freshman) team. They are all completely deserving. All of those guys. I am so happy they got their awards."
When Ohio State announced the awards to the team, Holtmann said the team mobbed the likes of Bates-Diop, Tate and Wesson following Monday's practice. Tate said that Holtmann, however, did not make any mention of his own award to the team. Instead, the assistant coaches told the players of Holtmann's coach of the year honor.
It's that humbleness from Holtmann that Tate said contributes to why the first-year Buckeye head coach deserves the award.
"That just speaks to how humble he is and how happy he is to coach us. That is why he deserves (coach of the year) the most," Tate said.
The awards, while satisfying for Ohio State, would have been traded in, Holtmann said, if it meant the Buckeyes could have won at least a share of the Big Ten title.
"I think we all would have given it back for just a piece of that championship," Holtmann said. "We certainly would have all given it back for a piece of the league championship."
The Buckeyes will have their opportunity to win a conference tournament title this weekend, as they begin Big Ten Tournament play on Friday against the winner of the No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 10 Northwestern matchup. Tip against either the Nittany Lions or Wildcats is set for 6:30 p.m. on BTN.