Many Badger athletes had stand out seasons this year but on Wednesday, the Wisconsin athletic department had to pick the two who stood out just a little more. After conquering the Big Ten on the basketball court and in the pool, men’s basketball player Devin Harris and women’s swim team member Bethany Pendleton were honored as the University of Wisconsin’s Athletes of the Year.
It was no surprise that these two received this honor as two of the best athletes in the school. Whenever there was talk of the Wisconsin men’s basketball team success this season, it was hard not to hear Harris’s name mentioned. The NBA-bound guard racked up the honors this season and will leave Wisconsin as one of the best players in Badger history.
One thing in particular that helped Harris earn all his attention this season was his ability to score on demand. He carried the scoring load for the team and even had a three game stretch where he tallied 97 points. This mark was the highest in Badger basketball history.
Harris ended the season and his career on top of many school categories. His 625 points this season broke Michael Finley’s single season scoring record and he also is atop the minutes played, free throws made and free throws attempted categories.
All of this attention helped Harris bring home the Big Ten Player of the Year award for Wisconsin. His crowning was the first for the school since 1950. He also racked up 29 points in the final game of the Big Ten Tournament against Illinois to give him honors as the Big Ten Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Pendleton also had quite an outstanding season with her accolades in the pool. During her final season, she was able to break many records and draw attention to the Wisconsin swim program.
She shattered the 11-year-old Big Ten record in the 400 IM by three seconds and took first place in the event at the Big Ten championship. At the same meet she won another event and broke another record but this time it was the Wisconsin record in the 200 IM.
Though her time may be up at Wisconsin, she will still have another shot to continue competition. Pendleton has qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 200 and 400 IM events.
Like Harris, Pendleton also earned the highest conference honors by being named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year and Big Ten Swimmer of the Championship. Besides those two, she was honored twice this season as CollegeSwimming.com’s Division I swimmer of the week and will leave Wisconsin with six All-American awards and six more honorable mention All-American awards under her belt.