Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Big East Postseason Awards

The Big East Conference issued postseason honors over the past couple days and Villanova took home some big awards. Here's a rundown of each category...

Co-Players of the Year: Hasheem Thabeet (UConn) and DeJuan Blair (Pitt)
I agree with this decision. These were the best two players on the best two teams of the year, and it would have been tough to pick one over the other. But really I'm just glad Harangody didn't win it.

Rookie of the Year: Greg Monroe (Georgetown)
Mike Rosario had better stats on a worse team and Samardo Samuels had worse stats on a much better team, but I have no problem with Monroe winning. Greg had a good freshmen season, and he'll be even better next year, whether that's at Georgetown or in the NBA. Georgetown had a disappointing season, but I don't think Monroe was to blame. They lost a lot of players, and some of their upperclassmen underachieved.

Coach of the Year: Jay Wright (Villanova)
The general consensus seems to be that Jay Wright surpassed expectations with this team. Maybe it's just my blatant homerism, but this is exactly where I expected Nova to finish. Still, it's easier said than done to live up to high expectations (I'm looking at you Notre Dame and Georgetown). So kudos to Jay, he deserves it.

Defensive Player of the Year: Hasheem Thabeet (UConn)
Easy choice here. 4.5 blocks per game will do it.

Most Improved Player: Dante Cunningham (Villanova)
You can't talk enough about how much Dante has improved since stepping foot on campus. He went from being a role player averaging 2.2 points and 4 rebounds per game to being the leading scorer and rebounder on a great team with 16.4 points and 7.3 boards. Dante's always brought the defense, rebounding, and toughness, but his scoring jumped up a full six points from last year, almost solely because of the mid-range jumper. Despite expanding his offensive repertoire with the jumper, his field goal percentage (.537 ) is basically the same as last season (.544). Congratulations to Dante on his season and entire career. He wore the blue and white proudly.

Sixth Man Award: Corey Fisher (Villanova)
To me, this was no contest. Fisher is the best sixth man in the conference, and he could start on most teams, including his own. I covered his value extensively in this column, so I won't say too much here. Fisher averaged 11.4 points per game in Big East play, shooting 49% from the field.

Sportsmanship Award: Alex Ruoff (West Virginia)
This seems like a b.s. award to me. I don't know what you have to do to win this, but I guess he's a nice guy.

All-Big East First Team: Hasheem Thabeet, Terrance Williams, Jerel McNeal, Luke Harangody, DeJuan Blair, Sam Young
It would have been nice for Dante to make first team, but it's hard to argue with these selections.

All-Big East Second Team: A.J. Price, Wesley Matthews, Johnny Flynn, Dante Cunningham, Da'Sean Butler
With a conference this strong, second team is a great accomplishment. Congrats to Dante! I mean the Big East's second team is better than a lot of conference's first teams.

All-Big East Third Team: Deonta Vaughn, Jeff Adrien, Earl Clark, Levance Fields, Jeremy Hazell

Big East Honorable Mention: Weyinmi Efejuku, Dominique Jones, Scottie Reynolds, Alex Ruoff
Scottie Reynolds may have deserved to make the Third Team over Vaughn or Hazell considering where their respective teams finished. Plus Scottie really picked up his game in Big East play, averaging nearly 17 points per game.

Big East All-Rookie Team: Yancy Gates, Kemba Walker, Greg Monroe, Samardo Samuels, Mike Rosario, Devin Ebanks
All great young players. Villanova had no freshmen, except for redshirt Maurice Sutton, but next year Nova could sweep this list when Maalik Wayns, Dom Cheek, Mouph Yarou, and Isaiah Armwood come to town...

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