Andy Gottesman / Multimedia Editor
Two days after missing out on the opportunity to earn a share of the Big Ten title, Purdue senior forward JaJuan Johnson learned that he won’t walk away from this season without any hardware in hand, as he was named the Big Ten Player of the Year for the 2010-11 season on Monday night.
The senior forward beat out Ohio State freshman forward Jared Sullinger, who appeared to have a lock on the award for the first three months of the season, before seeing stat lines decline in February. Sullinger won four Big Ten Player of the Week awards this season.
Johnson finished the regular season as the Big Ten’s leader in scoring and blocks, with averages of 20.5 points and 2.4 blocks per game. He was also the conferences’ No. 4 leading rebounder, pulling down 8.1 rebounds per game.
A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Johnson’s top scoring performance came in Purdue’s Dec. 18 win over Indiana State, however his best all-around performance came in the Boilermakers’ Feb. 27 win over Michigan State, when he scored 20 points, and posted season-highs in rebounding and blocks, with 17 and seven, respectively.
In winning the award, which has been given out annually since the 1984-85 season, Johnson becomes the third Boilermaker to be named the Big Ten’s top player, joining past award winners from Purdue in Steve Scheffler (1989-90), and Glenn Robinson (1993-94).
In addition to winning the Big Ten’s Player of the Year award, Johnson was an all-conference first team selection, and was named the Big Ten’s Player of the Week on Feb. 28.
After finishing the regular season with a record of 25-6 (14-4 Big Ten), good for second place in the conference behind OSU, the Boilermakers will attempt to win the Big Ten Tournament in Johnson’s hometown of Indianapolis. Purdue has a bye in the first round of the tournament, and will face the winner of Thursday’s match-up between Michigan State and Iowa on Friday.