Buckeyes#039; Darby named to All-Big Ten second team

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2003

PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- Senior forward Brian Cook, who led No. 13 Illinois to a 21-win season and led the Big Ten in scoring, was named Conference Player of the Year on Tuesday by both the coaches and the media.

Cook, who averaged 20.1 points per game overall, also ranked third in the conference in rebounds with 7.1 per game, eighth in field goal percentage at .503 and 10th in free throw percentage at .806.

''I'd rather have the team be successful than myself, but this is great,'' said Cook, who's from Lincoln, Ill. ''It feels great and I know my mom's proud.''

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In other voting, Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, who led the Badgers to their first outright championship since 1947 and their first back-to-back crowns since 1924, was named Coach of the Year for the second straight year. Purdue's Kenneth Lowe was named Defensive Player of the Year, and Michigan's Daniel Horton was named Freshman of the Year.

Joining Cook on the coaches' first-team were Michigan's LaVell Blanchard, Willie Deane of Purdue, Kirk Penney of Wisconsin and Minnesota's Rick Rickert. On the media's first team were Cook, Blanchard, Deane, Penney and Indiana's Jeff Newton.

Ohio State's Brent Darby was on the coaches' second-team.

For Cook, the honor is just the latest in his career at Illinois. Named the league's Co-Freshman of the Year in 2000, he was second-team All Big Ten in his sophomore and junior seasons.

Cook is just the second Illini player to be named Player of the Year. In 2001, his former teammate Frank Williams won the honor.

''This was one of my goals at the beginning of the season,'' Cook said before taking the practice court Tuesday afternoon. ''My main goal was to win the Big Ten championship. I didn't get the whole package, but I'm happy about this.''

The Illini finished 21-6 overall and 11-5 in the Big Ten, finishing in second place behind Wisconsin.

The 6-10 forward is also only the second Illinois player in the last 60 years to lead the Big Ten in scoring. He is now ranked 6th all-time in scoring in Illinois history with 1,652 and 7th in rebounds with 766.