Ohio State’s men’s basketball team had a disappointing season, and the lack of recognition in the Big Ten awards serves as a glaring testament to the challenges the team faced. Among the Buckeyes, Bruce Thornton stood out as the sole recipient of a Big Ten season-ending award, earning a spot on the conference’s third team as designated by media members with voting rights. This solitary acknowledgment sheds light on the broader shortcomings of the team and its leadership under former head coach Chris Holtmann.

Holtmann faced criticism this season as the Buckeyes failed to meet expectations. With Thornton as the sole representative on the conference’s list of honorees, it’s evident Holtman failed to coach this talented roster up. That fact is being proven true with each and every single win interim head coach Jake Diebler gets with the same roster.

Notably absent from the accolades was Ohio State center Felix Okpara, whose exclusion from the All-Defensive Team is nothing short of baffling. Okpara’s defensive impact was undeniable, averaging an impressive 2.3 blocks per game and establishing himself as a formidable presence in the paint. His contributions should have warranted recognition from the conference.

The failure to secure more awards underscores the disappointing trajectory of Ohio State’s basketball program in recent years. Fans and analysts alike expected more from a team with such talent and pedigree, making the lack of recognition all the more glaring. As the Buckeyes look to regroup and rebuild, no doubt the next man chosen to lead this team, whether that is Diebler or someone else, will be expected to squeeze a little more juice out of such a talented roster.

In contrast, the Big Ten awards highlighted standout performances from other teams and individuals within the conference. Zach Edey of Purdue rightfully earned the title of Player of the Year, showcasing his dominance on the court throughout the season. Coaches Matt Painter of Purdue and Fred Hoiberg of Nebraska shared the Co-coach of the Year honors, recognizing their leadership in guiding their respective teams to success.

Ace Baldwin Jr. of Penn State was recognized as the Defensive Player of the Year, a testament to his prowess on the defensive end of the floor. Meanwhile, Mackenzie Mgbako of Indiana and Owen Freeman of Iowa shared the Co-freshman of the Year title, highlighting their impact in their inaugural seasons.

Mason Gilis of Purdue was honored as the Sixth Player of the Year, acknowledging his contributions off the bench, while Brandon Brantley of Purdue was recognized as the Assistant Coach of the Year for his role in the team’s success.

Ohio State will return to action this Thursday in their opening Big Ten Tournament matchup against Iowa. Tip off is scheduled for 6:30 pm.