For the past three seasons, the Julius Erving Award has been given to the most outstanding small forward in college basketball. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the five finalists for the award on Wednesday, and two Big Ten players are on the list: Ohio State junior Keita Bates-Diop and Michigan State sophomore Miles Bridges.
Another day, another honor.
— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) March 7, 2018
It’s the second honor in two days for Bates-Diop, who was named a First-Team All-American by NCAA.com’s Andy Katz on Tuesday. The Big Ten Player of the Year is averaging 19.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
Bridges, a unanimous First-Team All-Big Ten selection, is averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the Spartans. His name has been in the news lately for for off-court reasons. Last week it was reported Bridges has been declared in eligible by the NCAA — only to be reinstated the next day — because members of his family had dinner with an agent.
When Ohio State played Michigan State on Jan. 7., Bates-Diop got the better of Bridges, scoring 32 points and adding 7 rebounds and 3 steals in the Buckeyes’ 80-64 win. Bridges scored 17 points and had 7 rebounds.
The winner of the Julius Erving Award will be announced at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards show on April 6.