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Penn State Hoops’ Ace Baldwin Jr. Named To Naismith Defensive Player Of The Year Watch List

Penn State men’s basketball point guard Ace Baldwin Jr. was named to the 2024 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List, the organization announced Wednesday.

Baldwin, in his first season in Happy Valley and fourth in college basketball, is averaging 13.6 points, a team-best 5.2 assists, and a Big Ten-best 2.82 steals per game in the blue and white. Meanwhile, his 2.82 steals rank sixth in the nation.

The Baltimore native joins Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi and Purdue’s Zach Edey as the Big Ten representatives.

Ahead of the Nittany Lions’ Thursday matchup with Iowa, Baldwin has tallied 1,129 points, 534 assists, and 245 steals and is on the way to becoming the only active Division I player with 1,000+ points, 500+ assists, and 250+ steals. Before he reaches that steal mark, his 245 steals rank No. 3 among Division I players.

In 2023, the point guard was named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year and Player of the Year after leading VCU to an Atlantic 10 Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.

Penn State is leading the Big Ten in three-point percentage defense and has allowed 30.9% from three-point land this season. The group, led by Baldwin, has forced a conference-leading 15.73 turnovers per game and scored 16.9 points off of turnovers per game.

Baldwin will continue on the road to 250 steals against Iowa at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 8, in the Bryce Jordan Center. Folks can tune into the broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a junior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is Onward State's managing editor. She also talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese and Kevin Jonas. If you'd like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @keeleylammm or send your best joke to her email [email protected].

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