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Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr. Advances as Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalis

SportsPenn State's Ace Baldwin Jr. Advances as Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalis

Ace Baldwin Jr. is receiving more and more recognition. The organization announced on Wednesday that the Penn State men’s basketball point guard has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2024 Naismith Men’s College Defensive Player of the Year. Baldwin was selected to the All-Big Ten Third Team and awarded the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year the day before.

Baldwin is averaging 14.3 points, 6.0 assists, and 2.7 steals per game going into the Big Ten Tournament. With 84 steals at the end of his senior year, the Baltimore, Maryland native tied for fourth place nationwide.

Baldwin was the captain of his former VCU squad that made it to the NCAA Tournament before moving to Penn State. As a junior last season, the former Ram won both the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year.

Baldwin is joined by Purdue’s Zach Edey and the other ten semifinalists as the only two Big Ten representatives up for the prize.

Baldwin’s goal in the Big Ten Tournament is to further establish his stellar record. In the first round, the Nittany Lions take on No. 14-seeded Michigan on Wednesday, March 13, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, starting at 9 p.m. The game is available for viewing on Peacock.

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The only Division I player still playing who has more than 1,000 career points (1,271), more than 600 career assists (606), and more than 250 career steals (267) is Baldwin Jr. In Division I, Baldwin Jr.’s thefts mark is ranked second.

Baldwin Jr. led the defense to lead the Big Ten in steals during his first season at Penn State. The team also ranked second in terms of turnover margin and forced turnovers per game.

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