April 12, 2017
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team recognized the efforts and achievements of its players and staff at the 56th annual U-M Basketball Awards Celebration this evening (Wednesday, April 12) at Crisler Center.
Senior Derrick Walton Jr. highlighted the evening's program garnering U-M's top award -- the BILL BUNTIN MOST VALUABLE PLAYER. In all, Walton was honored with four of the 12 total honors handed out.
In his final season, Walton averaged 15.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game and was an All-Big Ten second team selection. Helping U-M win four games in four days, he was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2017 Big Ten Tournament, earning the Wolverines an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Averaging 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game, Walton guided U-M to the Sweet 16 at the Big Dance.
He made 98 three-pointers, which is the third best in a single season at U-M, and highlighted the season becoming the first Wolverine, and just the 13th player in Big Ten history, to surpass 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists, closing his career with 1,471 points (22nd), 562 rebounds (34th) and 499 assists (4th).
In addition to his MVP honor, Walton was given the GARY GRANT AWARD FOR MOST ASSISTS after he led the Wolverines with 189 total (4.9 apg), the fifth most in a single season for the Wolverines. This season, he set a U-M single-game record with 16 assists at Nebraska (March 5) and closed his career with 499, which ranks fourth all-time. He added the AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING FREE THROW SHOOTING, as he once again led U-M with an 87.6 (149-for-170) percentage, which ranked second in the Big Ten and 36th in the nation. Overall, he recorded the third-best percentage in a single season and helped the Wolverines set the U-M record as a team (77.8%).
Finally, Walton shared the THAD GARNER LEADERSHIP AWARD with fellow senior Zak Irvin, who was unable to attend the banquet while participating in the Portsmouth Invitational. Irvin, a two-time MVP recipient, added the WAYMAN BRITT OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER for the second time in his career, giving him 10 total team honors during his career. In fact, Irvin shared the defensive award with junior Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.
Junior D.J. Wilson and sophomore Moritz Wagner shared the RUDY TOMJANOVICH MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD. Wilson added the LOY VAUGHT REBOUNDING AWARD after leading U-M with 203 total boards (5.3 rpg), helping him become the first Wolverine to record 200-plus rebounds since Mitch McGary (2012-13). Wagner added the MORGAN/BODNAR AWARD FOR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT for his work in the classroom.
For the second straight year, senior Sean Lonergan was awarded the Travis Conlan SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD, while fellow senior Mark Donnal was given the IRON MAN AWARD. Junior Duncan Robinson was named U-M's SIXTH MAN, and freshman Xavier Simpson received the STEVE GROTE HUSTLE AWARD.
U-M closed the 2016-17 campaign with a 26-12 overall record, with a 10-8 record in Big Ten play. With the 26 victories, U-M head coach John Beilein became U-M's all-time winningest coach (215) and helped the Wolverines to their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in his 10 seasons while adding his first Big Ten Tournament title.
2017 MICHIGAN BASKETBALL AWARD CELEBRATION HONORS
Bill Buntin Most Valuable Player Award: Derrick Walton Jr.
Wayman Britt Outstanding Defensive Player: Zak Irvin & Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman
Travis Conlan Sportsmanship Award: Sean Lonergan
Rudy Tomjanovich Most Improved Player Award: D.J. Wilson & Moritz Wagner
Sixth Man Award: Duncan Robinson
Steve Grote Hustle Award: Xavier Simpson
Thad Garner Leadership Award: Zak Irvin & Derrick Walton Jr.
Iron Man Award: Mark Donnal
Award for Outstanding Free Throw Shooting: Derrick Walton Jr.
Gary Grant Award for Most Assists: Derrick Walton Jr.
Loy Vaught Rebounding Award: D.J. Wilson
Morgan/Bodnar Award for Academic Achievement: Moritz Wagner
Communications Contact: Tom Wywrot