Josh Reaves Named 2018-2019 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

By Matt Simco on March 11, 2019 at 7:05 pm
Jan 13, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Josh Reaves (23) is introduced prior to the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Bryce Jordan Center. Michigan State defeated Penn State 71-56. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
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Josh Reaves' legacy will live on forever in the hearts of the Nittany Lion faithful. The guard from Fairfax, VA became an instant fan favorite as a freshman, wearing his emotion on his sleeve as he gave everything he had for Pat Chambers and his squad.  No. 23 has given the fans of the Blue and White so much to cheer for over the years. Nobody lit up the BJC like Reaves, as his crowd-erupting dunks showcased his insane athleticism. Nobody will ever forget the last-second dunk off the pass from Tone Carr that knocked off Ohio State in the 2018 Big 10 tournament, the third win in as many games against the Buckeyes that season. Today, the tenacious senior is recognized and rewarded for his most deserving characteristic, his defense.  

Reaves becomes the first Penn Stater ever to win the B1G Defensive Player of the Year award, and nobody in Happy Valley is the least bit surprised. Josh recorded 77 steals this season, 27 more than anyone else in the conference. His conference-leading steal total marks his third time achieving this feat in as many years, the first player in conference history to do so. 

The senior guard also registered a block per game this season, none more important than Wednesday night where his rejection at the rim in the game's final seconds was essential to the Nittany Lion's one point road victory at Rutgers. His 91 career blocks are tied for the ninth most in Penn State history.

You don't need to look at his stats, though, to see the impact he had on the court. Just watch any game, and Reaves is almost guaranteed to be the best defensive player on the floor. A perfect blend of tremendous athleticism and a non-stop motor, he has harassed ball handlers for four years now. The lockdown defender can guard anyone on the court, and ball-handlers better be mindful of him at all times or else he'll pick your pocket and slam down a dunk on the other end.

Josh Reaves was named to the B1G's all-defensive team in 2017-2018, and the 2018-2019 DPOY is such a fitting way for the senior to cap off his memorable career. Reaves will be happy to accept this well-deserved award, but there is one thing on his mind right now - the Big Ten tournament. Reaves and his Nittany Lions will face off against the Golden Gophers of Minnesota on Thursday hoping to keep the train rolling. Penn State has won seven out of ten and is eye-balling a daunting scenario that needs them to win four games in four days for a Big 10 championship and an automatic NCAA tournament berth. 

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