One day after the conclusion of the regular season, he was rewarded for his efforts. Russell was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was a unanimous selection to the conference’s first team by both the conference coaches and media.
Russell is the seventh Ohio State player to be named the conference’s freshman of the year and the first since Jared Sullinger was so honored after the 2010-11 season. Other Buckeye recipients include William Buford (2009) Greg Oden (2007), Michael Redd (1998) Greg Simpson (1993) and Jim Jackson (1990). Russell’s selection to the conference’s first team is the 11th time an Ohio State player has garnered that honor under Thad Matta with Deshaun Thomas as the most recent recipient in 2013.
"D'Angelo is so multi-dimensional from scoring to passing to rebounding," Matta said. "I'm infatuated with the kid and love what he brings to our team. He does so many things to make each individual on the court better. That ability ultimately makes our team better. From day one he has put in the work and has been a great teammate."
Russell has scored 596 points this season, third all-time for an Ohio State freshman trailing only Redd and Sullinger, while his 19.2 points per game this season are second among Buckeye freshman to Redd. He shattered Daquan Cook’s freshman record of three pointers made as Russell has nailed 84 shots from distance this year compared to 54 for Cook in 2007. His 161 assists this season is third all-time for a freshman, trailing Mike Conley and Aaron Craft while his 50 steals is the fourth-best total for a freshman.
The rest of the first team consisted of Wisconsin center and conference Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky, Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell, Iowa’s Aaron White and Maryland’s Dez Wells (coaches selection) and Melo Trimble (media).
Russell was joined on the coaches’ all-freshman team by Jae’Sean Tate who led the conference in field goal percentage at 61.6 percent and was eighth in offensive rebounds with 2.1 a game in league play.
For the first time in the past six seasons no Ohio State players were named to the conference’s All-Defense team. Senior Shannon Scott had been named to the team as a sophomore and a junior while classmate Sam Thompson was first in conference play with 1.8 steals per game this season.
Both Thompson and Scott were honorable mention selections by the conference media.Wisconsin's Bo Ryan was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year by the coaches while Mark Turgeon was given the award by the media.