By: David Kay
The Big East regular season has come to an end. As has been the case in recent history, the conference was once again highly entertaining and probably the most competitive in the country. Now it is time to hand out some post-season awards.
A couple things to note; last year the All-Big East First Team was compiled of six players so I am rolling with that idea this time around. I know the Big East does an All-Freshman Team but since this was a bit of a down year for frosh in the conference, I am turning this into an “All-Rookie Team” due to the influx of talented transfers this season.
ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM
(POY) Scottie Reynolds, Villanova, Sr, PG (18.8 ppg, 3.4 apg, 39.9 3-PT%)
Reynolds has matured as much as any college basketball player I have seen. He went from a pure chucker to an extremely intelligent, clutch floor leader. ‘Nova would be nowhere near as good this season without his calming presence on the floor.
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, Sr, PF (23.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg)
Despite missing the last five games, and possibly remainder of the season due to injury, there is no over-looking another stellar season for the Leprechaun Fu$#er. This will be his third appearance on the Big East First Team which is a rather impressive feat.
Lazar Hayward, Marquette, Sr, F (18.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.7 spg)
Hayward has been the leader of one of the surprise teams in the country. He is an outstanding team player and completely unselfish, embracing his role in having to play the center position and guard the opposing team’s biggest player every night. His ability to knock down three’s as well as muscle his way inside makes him a dangerous weapon on offense.
Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia, Sr, G/F (17.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.3 apg)
Like the three players listed above him, Butler epitomizes what a leader is. He has done a little bit of everything for the Mountaineers this season including running the point early in the season.
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse, Jr, SF (15.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.9 bpg)
Look at that stat line, it’s ridiculous how versatile this kid has been in his first year at the ‘Cuse. He fits perfectly in Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone due to his length and go inside/outside on offense.
Dominique Jones, South Florida, Jr, SG (21.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.7 apg)
Without Jones, USF would have been in the DePaul-level of terrible this season especially considering the lengthy injury to big man Augustus Gilchrist.
ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, Jr, SG (21.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg)
A true chucker in every sense of the word but a player you have to guard as soon as he steps across half-court, Hazell has topped the 30-point mark in seven games this season.
Greg Monroe, Georgetown, Soph, F/C (16.0 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 3.6 apg)
One of the best all-around bigs in college basketball, Monroe has been a tough match-up on both ends of the floor for opposing Big East teams.
Austin Freeman, Georgetown, Jr, SG (17.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 47.9 3-PT%)
Monroe might be G-Town’s best player, but Freeman has been the key to their success. When he is feeling it from deep, (47%??? Crazy) the Hoyas are almost impossible to beat.
Jerome Dyson, UConn, Sr, SG (17.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.4 apg)
Dyson is one of three players in the country to average at least 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game (Evan Turner and Greivis Vasquez being the other two.)
Andy Rautins, Syracuse, Sr, SG (11.6 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.2 rpg)
My love for Andy Rautins all-around game has not been hidden this season. He is an extension of Jim Boeheim on the floor and has developed into an all-around player, not just an assassin from beyond the arc.
ALL-BIG EAST THIRD TEAM
Jamine Peterson, Providence, Soph, PF (19.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg)
I’m not going to lie; I had never even heard of Peterson until Big East play began. He is a beast down low, can step outside, and is definitely a player to keep an eye on in the next couple years.
Ashton Gibbs, Pitt, Soph, G (16.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 40.4 3-PT%)
In losing four starters, the Panthers needed a go-to player to emerge and that has been Gibbs who is one of the most improved players in the conference.
Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame, Jr, SG (17.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 44.9 3-PT%)
Like Peterson, Abromaitis came from out of nowhere this season to be a dual-threat and tremendous complimentary scorer along Harangody. Now if we can only get the kid some Proactiv.
Kemba Walker, UConn, Soph, PG (14.9 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.2 rpg)
I’m giving the nod to Walker over teammate Stanley Robinson because Walker is the spark plug for the Huskies, especially down the stretch when he has limited his turnovers and played within himself.
Samardo Samuels, Louisville, Soph, C (15.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
On a deep Cardinal team, Samuels has been the steadying, reliable force down low, stepping in as the main offensive option for the departed Terrence Williams and Earl Clark.
ALL-BIG EAST ROOKIE TEAM
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse, Jr, SF
Has there ever been a transfer make as big an impact as Johnson has for the ‘Cuse this season?
Herb Pope, Seton Hall, Jr, PF
Okay, he played in one minute of one game last year but I’m not counting that. Pope leads the conference in rebounding at 11-plus per game, grabbing at least ten boards in 18 games this season for the Pirates. He finally gave the Hall somewhat of a low post presence.
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette, Soph, SG
The smooth southpaw has played a major part in Marquette’s surprising season, helping fill the void on the wing left behind by Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews. DJO is sixth in the nation in three-point shooting percentage and can also attack the rim with authority.
Jarrid Famous, South Florida, Jr, F/C
With Augustus Gilchrist missing a good chunk of the season due to injury, Famous came up big for USF. The community college transfer averaged almost 11 points and 7.5 boards a game and is a nice piece for the future for Stan Heath.
Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame, Sr, SG
Tyler’s young brother has done a little bit of everything for the Irish this season and really stepped up his game when Luke Harangody went down with an injury.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Buzz Williams, Marquette
Read this article stating my case. By the way, if you haven’t seen this video; you’re welcome.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Ashton Gibbs, Pitt, Soph, G
Playing behind Levance Fields last year, Gibbs saw very limited action last year. As a starter this year, his scoring numbers quadrupled and he has become Pitt’s most dangerous weapon on offense. Playing for Jamie Dixon on the U.S. Under-19 team this summer was an invaluable experience for the sophomore.
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR
Kris Joseph, Syracuse, Soph, F
Jim Boeheim has said several times this season that his Orange really have seven starters. Joseph comes off the bench but plays starter minutes (27 per game.) He is third on ‘Cuse in both points and rebounds and you could make a solid case that he could also be the league’s most improved player.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Andy Rautins, Syracuse, Sr, SG
Dude can do more than shoot. And while it might seem odd to give a player who plays exclusively in a 2-3 zone this award, his combination of smarts and activeness in that zone earns him this honor. So many times this season, Rautins play on the defensive end has led to easy run-outs for a ‘Cuse team that excels in the open floor.
(Big East Network color analyst Mike Kelly made a case for Lazar Hayward, seeing as he is the leader in steals in conference play and has regularly guarded players three-five inches taller than him on a nightly basis. I completely agree, but then again of course I do. Lazar is my boy.)