IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior Aaron White has been named first-team All-Big Ten by conference head coaches and media, while junior Jarrod Uthoff earned third team recognition by the league coaches and honorable mention by the media. Senior Gabriel Olaseni was named Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year. The teams were announced by the Big Ten Conference Monday. Also, junior Mike Gesell was named Iowa’s men’s basketball Sportsmanship Award recipient for the second consecutive season.
White, a native of Strongsville, Ohio, ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.4) and seventh in scoring (15.9). Since Feb. 16, no other player in the Big Ten has scored at a higher pace than White (21.2 ppg). The forward ranks second in Iowa career scoring (1,793), third in rebounding (881), first in free throws made (602) and attempted (782), and 14th in double-doubles (15). White is the only Hawkeye to amass 1,700+ points and 850+ rebounds. White, who is on the Karl Malone Award Watch List, is the only active Division I player in the country to register 1,750+ points, 875+ rebounds, 175+ assists, and 125+ steals. He is also the only player in the nation this season to average 15+ points and 7+ rebounds while also shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line.
This marks the second consecutive season an Iowa player has been picked on the All-Big Ten first team; Roy Devyn Marble was honored in 2014. The last time the Hawkeyes had first-team All-Big Ten honorees in back-to-back seasons was 2006-07 (Greg Brunner in 2006 and Adam Haluska in 2007).
“There are so many great players in this league and to be recognized by both the league coaches and media as one of the five best is a prestigious honor,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “Aaron’s impact on this team and program has been tremendous. All aspects of his game have improved through repetition and hard work. Aaron has put his footprint along some of this program’s all-time greats.”
White helped the Hawkeyes win 12 conference games for the first time in 18 years. The team co-captain was also instrumental in leading Iowa to seven true road victories — the most by a Hawkeye team since 1987. During White’s four-year career, Iowa won 59 home games, the most of any four-year class in school history.
Uthoff, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ranks second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg), assists (57) and steals (37), and first in 3-point shooting (53-of-134, .396). He is the only Division I player in the nation to have 50+ 3-pointers, 45+ blocks, and 30+ steals. Additionally, Uthoff is one of only two Big Ten players this season to average 12+ points, 6+ rebounds, and 1.5+ blocks (Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky). The forward has netted double figures 21 times this season, including reaching 20 points three times. Uthoff is also an outstanding student as well, earning first-team Academic All-District laurels last month.
“Jarrod’s impact on the game can be measured a number of ways,” said McCaffery. “He is one of the most versatile players in the Big Ten and the country, and is deserving of this honor. Jarrod’s skillset and length enables him to be one of the top shot-blockers, rebounders, and scorers in the conference.”
Olaseni (6-10, 237) becomes just the second Hawkeye to be named Sixth Man of the Year (Doug Thomas in 2006). The native of London, England, ranks third on the team in scoring (8.3), second in blocked shots (45) and free throw accuracy (.768, 86-of-112), and fourth in rebounding (4.8). His 45 rejections are the fifth most by a Hawkeye senior in program history. He has increased his scoring, rebounding, free throws, and steals averages all four years.
Olaseni has scored in double figures 12 times this season and posted two double-doubles. The team co-captain snagged a career-high 11 offensive rebounds in Iowa’s game at Purdue (Jan. 24), which marked the first time a Hawkeye had 10+ offensive boards in a game since Ryan Bowen in 1997.
“Winning the Sixth Man of the Year was a goal of Gabe’s and certainly one that he has earned,” McCaffery said. “He takes tremendous pride coming off the bench and affects the game in so many ways. Gabe brings an incredible amount of energy and athleticism to the floor. This award is a reflection of Gabe’s hard work the past four years.”
Gesell has started all 31 games this season and leads the team with 119 assists. The native of South Sioux City, Neb., is fifth on the team in scoring (7.1) and third in steals (33). He ranks sixth in the Big Ten this season in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2). Gesell is just the third Hawkeye to accumulate 750+ points, 325+ assists, 200+ rebounds, and 100+ steals his freshman through junior seasons. Gesell also excels in the classroom, boasting a 3.93 grade point average, earning third-team Academic All-America and first-team All-District honors in February. Last fall, he gained acceptance into Beta Gamma Sigma, the National Scholastic Honor Society for business students.
“Mike shines on the court and in the classroom, and we are proud the Big Ten has recognized him as our sportsmanship award honoree,” said McCaffery. “Mike handles everything he does in a professional manner. He is an outstanding representative of our program and university.”
Joining White on the first team, by both coaches and media, were D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State), Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin), and Yogi Ferrell (Indiana). The coaches also had Maryland’s Dez Wells on the first team, while the media selected the Terrapins’ Melo Trimble. Kaminsky was also named Player of the Year by the coaches and media.
League coaches named Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan as Coach of the Year, while the media awarded that honor to Maryland’s Mark Turgeon. The coaches selected Purdue guard Rapheal Davis as Defensive Player of the Year. Both groups named Russell of Ohio State as Freshman of the Year.
Iowa (21-10, 12-6) will open play in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, March 12 against either 12th-seeded Nebraska or No. 13 seed Penn State. Game time is approximately 1:30 p.m. (CT) at the United Center in Chicago (BTN). Iowa tied Purdue and Michigan State for third in the Big Ten standings, but will be the No. 5 seed at the tournament.