The 4th season of the new Big East wrapped up yesterday and it was another banner year for the conference. The Big East has a legitimate case to have 7, count em 7 teams earn a NCAA Tournament birth. Congratulations are in order for the Villanova Wildcats, who won their 4th consecutive Big East regular season title. Villanova is currently ranked #2 in the country and should have no problem getting a #1 seed in the Big Dance regardless of what transpires at MSG. Here’s how the rest of the conference turned out:
1. #2 Villanova Wildcats 28-3, 15-3
2. #13 Butler Bulldogs 23-7, 12-6
3. Providence Friars 20-11, 10-8
4. Marquette Golden Eagles 19-11, 10-8
5. Seton Hall Pirates 20-10, 10-8
6. Creighton Bluejays 23-8, 10-8
7. Xavier Musketeers 19-12, 9-9
8. St. John’s Red Storm 13-18, 7-11
9. Georgetown Hoyas 14-17, 5-11
10. DePaul Blue Demons 9-22, 2-16
First things first….. LOL GEORGETOWN LOL! Georgetown was picked by virtually all big media outlets to finish in the top half of the conference. When are these people going to learn! Georgetown gets picked top half of the conference every year by the media and 3 of those 4 years finished in the bottom half. I don’t know about CNN but this is some Fake News projecting going on here. I honestly think Georgetown needs to fire JT3 but unfortunately for them that won’t happen if Big John is still around.
Shout out to the St. John’s Red Storm, who improved their Big East win total from last season by 6 games. While they still finished the year with a losing record their improvement must be recognized. The Johnnies had a handful of impressive victories including a ranked Butler team, went on the road and crushed the Syracuse Orange (see what i did there) and they beat the Friars at the Dunk. The Red Storm appear to be in good hands with coach Mullin and should be in good shape, assuming Ponds and LoVett return, for another improvement next year.
How about them Friars! The team that was projected to finish 9th in the conference are riding a 6 game win-streak and finished 3rd in the conference. Coach Cooley said Kyron Cartwright would lead the league in assists and he was right, as Cartwright finished 3rd in the country in assists behind only Lonzo Ball and Belmont’s Austin Lake. The Friars have a ton of momentum and will be interesting to see how it carries over for next week’s Big East Tournament.
My All-Big East 1st Team
Khadeem Carrington, Seton Hall, JR G (17 ppg 3.0 rpg 3.1 apg)
Marcus Foster, Creighton, JR G (18.5 ppg 2.9 rpg 2.4 apg)
Josh Hart, Villanova, SR G (18.7 ppg 6.5 rpg 3.2)
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, JR G (18 ppg 5.8 rpg 2 apg)
Rodney Bullock, Providence, JR F (16.1 ppg 6.4 rpg 1.7 apg)
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, JR F (15.7 ppg 13.1 rpg 2 apg)
My All-Big East 2nd Team
Kyron Cartwright, Providence, JR G (11.3 ppg 3.5 rpg 6.8 apg)
Jaylen Brunson, Villanova, SO G (14.8 ppg 2.7 rpg 4.3 apg)
Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall, JR F (16.1 ppg 5 rpg 1.8 apg)
Kelan Martin, Butler, JR F (16.1 ppg 5.8 rpg 1.1 apg)
Justin Patton, Creighton, FR C (13.1 ppg 6.3 rpg 1.3 apg)
Shamorie Ponds (SJ), Marcus LoVett (SJ) Rodney Pyror (GTOWN)
LJ Peak (GTOWN), Markus Howard (MARQ), JP Macura (Xavier)
Eli Cain (DePaul), Billy Garrett Jr (DePaul), Andrew Chrabascz (Butler)
My All-Big East Freshman Team
Shamorie Ponds, SJ G
Marcus LoVett, SJ G
Markus Howard, Marquette G
Kamir Baldwin, Butler G
Justin Patton, Creighton C
My Big East Player of the Year
Josh Hart, Villanova, SR G
Josh Hart is a pretty easy choice as Big East POY, as he is the best player on the conference’s best team. That is typically a recipe for success. It also doesn’t hurt that Hart leads the league in scoring at 18.7 ppg. Josh Hart reminds me of a poor man’s Evan Turner and that is meant to be a major compliment. He is a do it all type player and will play a major role in Nova’s quest to repeat as National Champs. Congrats Josh Fart! (I couldn’t resist)
My Big East Coach of the Year
Ed Cooley, Providence
The Big East Coach of the Year race will be debate as much as any other in the conference in the country. The conference has three coaches that will be in the National Coach of the year discussion. I was going back-and-forth between Coach Cooley and Villanova’s Jay Wright and I took a ton of heat from friends. “Villanova is loaded with talent, Villanova was projected to win the conference” they said. I was even called a Jay Wright Apologist. My point was Nova had to deal with a bit of adversity this year with Omari Spellman being ineligible and Phil Booth being hurt all year. It’s one thing to be projected to dominate a conference, its another thing to do it again, especially when you lost the heart of your team with Arcidiacono and Ochefu graduating.
Ed Cooley ended up being my winner because of where the Friars were projected early in the preseason and where the team was just a few weeks ago. The Friars were projected to finish in 9th place in the conference and ended up finishing in third. I personally thought 9th place was a little unfair, yes they lost Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil but the roster did return a lot of players and they seemed deeper then most Friar teams. Regardless though if you told me we’d finish the league in 3rd and almost be a lock for the NCAA Tournament I would’ve said you are a crazy person. If you had told me Wednesday February 8th the Friars would finish 3rd in the league I’d tell you to go get yourself checked out, for being a crazy person. The Friars had just lost another heart-breaker this time at the hands of the Seton Hall Pirates. The Friars stood at 14-11 overall and 4-8 in the Big East. Cooley still had the players buy in to what they were doing and the guys responded. The team rattled off 6 straight wins to secure the three seed and that is why Cooley takes the award of Big East Coach of the Year. Also the same friend that called me the Jay Wright Apologist also found this google image that shows Ed Cooley looking like Bunk from the Wire. Slim Cooley doesn’t look like him as much but Fairfield Cooley sure did.
My Big East Freshman of the Year
Shamorie Ponds, St John’s G
The freshman from Brooklyn had Creighton and the Friars courting him for his services before he ultimately decided to commit to St. John’s. It is easy to see why the other two programs wanted him so bad. You may ask yourself why did I have freshman Justin Patton on my second team but then choose Ponds over him for FOY. Well part of it has to do with the fact Patton made an impact on tournament team, while Ponds didn’t. Also there’s just so many good guards in the Big East, while Patton is one of the best big men in the league. Ponds led the conference in points per game by a freshman, just beating out his teammate Marcus LoVett. Hopefully for St. John’s fans he stays around for a few years because he can be conference player of the year one day.
The Sir Dominic Pointer (Name of the Year)– Tre’Darius McCallum (DePaul)
I didn’t have a whole lot to work with this year but I am happy with my choice of Tre’Darius McCallum. His parents must’ve been arguing between naming their son Trey or Darius before just compromising and naming him Tre’Darius. On top of all of that his last name is a brand of scotch. If Tre’Darius McCallum doesn’t sound intimidating to you, you must be Andre the Giant.
The Matt Stainbrook (Big Man of the Year)– Angel Delgado (Seton Hall)
While Angel Delgado doesn’t share the same body type or the same look as the legendary Big Stain (two links), its hard to argue against Delgado. Delgado led the country in rebounds per game (13.1) and double-doubles (25). He averages 15.7 points per game and 13.1 rebounds per game. He had a game where he recorded 20 rebounds! He must love to surf because he gets so many boards! And that corny joke is my cue to move on to the next award….
The Bill Raftery “ONIONS” Shot of the Year
Kyron Cartwright @ #23 Creighton 2/22/17
The Gus Johnson Call (Call of the Year)
Gus Johnson Virginia @ Villanova 1/27/29 (The Big Ragu)
The Dunk City Upset of The Year– DePaul vs Providence 1/10/17
I begrudgingly give this award to the DePaul Blue Demons. The Friars absolutely gave this game away in DePaul’s 64-63 upset at Allstate Arena. When your last place team beats your 3rd place team I think that takes the cake. Thats all I got on this one.
The “Send It In Jerome” (Dunker of the Year)- Justin Patton, Creighton
This one seemed to me to be a no brainer as Patton has been throwing down hard dunks all year. He reminds me of Hassan Whiteside in the NBA. He loves the alley-oop lob but has the ability to take it to the rim himself. Heres some of his work:
The Trent Dilfer Dimer (Passer of the Year)- Kyron Cartwright, Providence
The Criers may be a tad biased towards Providence College but this one is just a no doubter. Cartwright led the conference in assists by a wide margin and finished third in the nation in Dimes. Here is some footage from last year, but you’ll get the idea of why he’s the best.
The Steve Novak Sniper (Best 3pt Shooter)– Markus Howard, Marquette
The Providence Crier was really tempted to choose Jaylen Lindsey here but Howard is the clear cut winner. He leads the conference and nation in three-point shooting at a ridiculous 55.1% clip. Unfortunately for Big East teams’ not named Marquette fan bases, Howard is only a freshman and will be raining triples on all of us for years to come. Oddly enough there are no videos on youtube of Howard raining threes so I got nothing here, get on that Marquette.
The Kemba Walker (Most Clutch Performer)- Josh Hart, Villanova
It pains me to name an award after a former Big East team’s player but what the hell they may be back in the league soon. While everyone in Philly talks about Kris Jenkins’ game winner last year, its Hart who is probably the clutter player in blue and white. Hart has played in so many big games over his career and never goes unnoticed. Hart may not hit the buzzer beater but he makes game winning plays. In Donte DiVincenzo’s buzzer beater tip in who do you think Nova put the ball in the hands of first? It was Hart that made the drive to the basket setting up the finish for “The Big Ragu”. Here’s a clip of him putting DePaul to bed:
The Mark Titus (Walk-On of The Year)– Casey Woodring, Providence
While Mark Titus may have went to Ohio St, you’re not not going to name the walk-on of the year award after him. To be honest I don’t know any of the other walk-ons of other Big East teams but no way they beat out Woodring. The guy is a flat out winner, so much so he could be come the winningest player in Friar history. Casey doesn’t just have winner stench and tight handles, but he is also a book worm. Casey Woodring. Last on the Bench First In Our Hearts
I just want to thank all of you for taking the time to read the 1st Annual Crier Awards. This Big East Season has been a wild ride for all of us and I’m sure that will continue this week at MSG. If you have suggestions on future awards let me know. Also this week I will be writing my Big East Tournament Preview and Friar game preview (hopefully previews), so keep your eyes peeled. Again thank you all for coming and enjoy the after party!