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Sam Dekker Is Big Ten Freshman of the Week

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The young Badger forward earns the team's first weekly honor of the season for his showing against Illinois.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten announced today that Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker is the conference's Freshman of the Week for the past week.

Though Wisconsin played just once in that time, Dekker scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting to propel the Badgers to a 74-51 pasting of No. 12 Illinois. Dekker also grabbed four rebounds and added three assists in 24 minutes of play.

Two of Dekker's most emphatic points came on a steal and soaring tomahawk slam over Brandon Paul in the second half. His one-handed, quarterback-like alley-oop toss to Jared Berggren before halftime also brought the Kohl Center crowd to its feet. You can vote for the best rim-rattler of the day from UW at BTN.com.

Not too long ago, I wondered when Dekker would break out and gain recognition for his contributions, and now that it's happened, Badger fans are hoping he doesn't relent. For those that saw Saturday's win over the Illini as a big breakthrough, perhaps Dekker's resilience is yet another sign that this Wisconsin team is starting to come together.

Michigan leads the conference with five freshman of the week honors, three of them by sharpshooter Nik Stauskas. The Wolverines, previously the last unbeaten team in the country, fell on the road to Ohio State on Sunday.