April 13, 2016
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team recognized the efforts and achievements of its players and staff at the 55th annual U-M Basketball Awards Celebration this evening (Wednesday, April 13) at Crisler Center.
Junior Zak Irvin highlighted the evening's program garnering U-M's top award for the second straight season -- the BILL BUNTIN MOST VALUABLE PLAYER. In all, Irvin was honored with three of the 12 total honors handed out.
In addition to his MVP honor, Irvin was given U-M's THAD GARDNER LEADERSHIP AWARD and U-M's IRON MAN AWARD. After missing the season opener still on the mend from a summer back procedure, the All-Big Ten honorable mention recipient did not miss another game, playing in 35 straight in 2015-16.
Irvin closed his third season averaging 11.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and a career-best 3.1 assists per game. He finished with 21 double-figure scoring games, including scoring a season-best 22 points, twice -- both in upset wins over No. 3 Maryland (Jan. 12) and No. 18 Purdue (Feb. 13) at Crisler Center.
He was second on the Wolverines in rebounding and grabbed a career-best 12 boards against Rutgers (Jan. 27). The most dramatic improvement was with his playmaking as he doubled his previous season best assist numbers. Irvin had 19 games of three-plus assists this season, including a career-best nine assists at SMU (Dec. 8).
Irvin helped lead U-M back to the NCAA Tournament and was just the third Wolverine to be named to the All-Big Ten Tournament team after leading the Wolverines to a semifinal appearance for the sixth time.
Junior Derrick Walton Jr. was also the recipient of three honors as he was handed the WAYMAN BRITT OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER, the LOY VAUGHT REBOUNDING AWARD as well as the GARY GRANT AWARD FOR MOST ASSISTS. After returning from injury, Walton, who was an All-Big Ten third team selection, played in 33 games averaging 11.6 points and posted career-best averages for rebounds (5.4) and assists (4.5). He highlighted the season recording just the fifth triple-double in U-M history with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists against Youngstown State (Dec. 19).
Sophomore Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman was awarded two plaques during the event being named the RUDY TOMJANOVICH MOST IMPROVED PLAYER as well as getting the STEVE GROTE HUSTLE AWARD. Abdur-Rahkman doubled nearly every statistical category from a season ago as he started 28 of 36 games and averaged 8.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He posted 14 double-figure scoring games including the last six games of the regular season and all five postseason games.
For his work off the bench this season, sophomore Aubrey Dawkins was given U-M's SIXTH MAN AWARD. After starting the first nine games, Dawkins adjusted his role to come off the bench over the next 27. He averaged 6.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 44.0 percent from the field.
Junior Sean Lonergan, who redshirted the season, was awarded the MORGAN/BODNAR AWARD FOR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT for the second straight season for his efforts in the classroom. In addition, Lonergan was honored with the Travis Conlan SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD. Redshirt sophomore Duncan Robinson was given the AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING FREE THROWS after leading U-M from the charity stripe with an 88.6 percentage (39-for-44).
2016 MICHIGAN BASKETBALL AWARD CELEBRATION HONORS
Bill Buntin Most Valuable Player: Zak Irvin
Wayman Britt Outstanding Defensive Player: Derrick Walton Jr.
Travis Conlan Sportsmanship Award: Sean Lonergan
Rudy Tomjanovich Most Improved Player: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman
Sixth Man Award: Aubrey Dawkins
Steve Grote Hustle Award: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman
Thad Garner Leadership Award: Zak Irvin
Iron Man Award: Zak Irvin
Award for Outstanding Free Throw Shooting: Duncan Robinson
Gary Grant Award for Most Assists: Derrick Walton Jr.
Loy Vaught Rebounding Award: Derrick Walton Jr.
Morgan/Bodnar Award for Academic Achievement: Sean Lonergan
Communications Contact: Tom Wywrot