On the same evening where the Oscars could crown a movie about a woman having sex with a sea-man as best picture, we award the best in the Big East for the 2nd annual Crier Awards. It was another great year for the Big East, as they had the second highest conference RPI behind the Big 12. The Xavier Musketeers ended up taking the regular season crown, snapping Villanova’s streak of four in a row. Which makes me want to give a quick shootout to Bill Self and the Kansas Wildcats for winning 14th straight Big 12 regular season titles. This Big East season really puts the impressiveness of Kansas’ streak in perspective. Think of how dominate Villanova has been since the emergence of the new Big East and they couldn’t win 5 in a row. Big East should send 6 teams to the NCAA tournament this year, can get 2 #1 seeds and have 3 teams in my opinion that have Final Four aspirations. Let’s take a look at how the conference standings ended up shaping out.
1. #3 Xavier Musketeers 27-4, 15-3
2. #4 Villanova Wildcats 27-4, 14-4
3. Seton Hall Pirates 21-10, 10-8
4. #24* Creighton Blue Jays 21-10, 10-8
5. Providence Friars 19-12, 10-8
6. Butler Bulldogs 19-12, 9-9
7. Marquette Golden Eagles 18-12, 9-9
8. Georgetown Hoyas 15-14, 5-13
9. St. Johns Red Storm 15-16, 4-14
10. DePaul Blue Demons 11-19, 4-14
*- denotes coaches poll ranking
I know I’ve used this blog to make Georgetown my personal punching bag but I’d like to start by giving this team some credit. Although Georgetown had a cupcake non-conference schedule and have lost to the Friars 8 consecutive times the team was better than I anticipated. There’s actually a place on Newbury St in Boston called Georgetown Cupcake, what are the odds of that?! I thought this season would be a bad one for the Hoyas, but they won me over with their competitiveness. Jessie Govan was an absolute beast this season and should be back next season. Freshman guard Jamorko Pickett showed a ton of promise and you have the über impressive dunker Mac McClung coming to D.C. next season. If Patrick Ewing can find a way to coach his team towards better late game execution, things will start to look up for the Hoyas.
The two teams I was most disappointed in this season were St. Johns and Seton Hall. What the hell happened SJ?!?!? I get it you lost Marcus Lovett and that sucks but you were able to beat Villanova and Duke without him and to lose your first 11 conference games after going 11-2 in non-conference, including a 23 point victory over Nebraska, is just unacceptable. St. Johns also has to deal with the Shamorie Ponds situation this upcoming offseason. The sophomore guard has NBA aspirations and he will definitely test NBA draft waters, I personally think he will end up leaving. Luckily for the Red Storm Chris Mullins will be able to recruit kids to Queens. While they ended up finishing in 3rd place in the Big East the Seton Hall pirates were overall underwhelming this season, for a team that has aspirations to make a deep tourney run. The Pirates certainly had good moments this season by beating Texas Tech, Louisville and sweeping the Friars in conference play but they didn’t wow me this year. A team with the talent of the Seton Hall Pirates shouldn’t have lost to Rutgers or get swept by Villanova, Xavier and Marquette. I personally think they got caught up in talking about making a big run in the dance without focusing on getting Ws in the regular season. Hopefully for the Pirates they can make that deep run they oh so love talking about.
Crier’s All-Big East First Team
Jalen Brunson, Villanova JR G (19 ppg, 3 rpg, 4.8 apg)
Shamorie Ponds, St. Johns SO G (21.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.9 apg)
Marcus Foster, Creighton SR G (20.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.7 apg)
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier SR F (19.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.6 apg)
Kelan Martin, Butler SR F (21.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2 apg)
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall SR C (13.4 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 2.7 apg)
Crier’s All-Big East Second Team
Kyron Cartwright, Providence SR G (11.4 ppg, 3 rpg, 5.8 apg)
Markus Howard, Marquette SO G (20.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.9 rpg)
Mikal Bridges, Villanova JR F (17.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.1 apg)
Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall SR F (18.1 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.2 apg)
Jessie Govan, Georgetown JR C (17.5 ppg, 10 rpg, 2 apg)
Andrew Rowsey (Marq), Max Strus (DePaul), Marcus Derrickson (GTown)
Myles Powell (Seton Hall), Kyri Thomas (Creighton), Kamar Baldwin (Butler)
Rodney Bullock (Providence), Khadeen Carrington (Seton Hall), JP Macura (Xavier)
Crier’s Big East All-Freshman Team
Jahvon Blair, Georgetown G (9.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.7 apg)
Jamorko Pickett, Georgetown G (9.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.8 apg)
Naji Marshall, Xavier F (8.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.5 apg)
Omari Spellman, Villanova F (10.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 0.7 apg)
Nate Watson, Providence C (6.8 ppg, 2 rpg, 0.1 apg)
Crier’s Big East Player of the Year
Jalen Brunson, Villanova, SR G
For the second straight season a Villanova Wildcat will take home the Crier’s Big East POY and once again the choice is clear. Jalen Brunson was a former McDonalds All-American who doesn’t have great NBA prospects, so has flourished at Nova. This year he had greater responsibility from a Villanova team that lost Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins and he fully delivered. Brunson had an extremely efficient season having a slash line of 52.8% from the floor, 40.5% from 3 and 80.6% from the free throw line. He isn’t the most vocal leader but his overall leadership skills are impressive considering he took a back seat for other Nova stars for the prior two seasons. Jalen will probably end up taking home the National POY award and has a great chance to lead the Villanova Wildcats to their second National Title in three seasons. Congrats Jalen Brunson!
Crier’s Big East Coach of the Year
Chris Mack, Xavier Musketeers
While Jay Wright will be up there for National COY with Virginia’s Tony Bennett and Kansas’ Bill Self, I’m giving the Big East COY to Chris Mack of Xavier. Although the Musketeers got swept by Villanova and lost to the Friars at the Dunk Xavier handled their business against everyone else not losing to anyone else in conference. Remember the Xavier team that made the Elite 8 last season finished only 7th in the conference and to turn around the next year and win it is impressive. It’s also impressive to beat out a Villanova program that has had a stranglehold of dominance in the conference since its rebuild 5 years ago. It should be interesting to see if Xavier can get further in the dance this year and if Chris Mack turns down potential openings in the offseason, including potentially the Louisville job.
Crier’s Big East Freshman of the Year
Omari Spellman, Villanova F
While this award is kind of cheap because Omari was technically a freshman last season but was academically ineligible his production is unmatched for other Big East first timers. Spellman was the only freshman to average double-digit scoring per game and he’s also fourth in the league in rebounding and second in blocked shots for the conference. Omari will continue to be a problem for other Big East programs for years to come.
The Sir Dominic Pointer Award (Name of the Year)
Alpha Diallo– Providence College Friars
The Big East doesn’t rep the outstanding names they have had in the past or this year’s greats such as Giddy Potts of Midd Tennesse, Adrimal Schofield of Tennessee, Wofford’s Storm Murphy and UNC’s Seventh Woods. While that may be the case Alpha Diallo is a good pick. Alpha ain’t no beta and his play this season did he talking. Alpha averaged 12.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 2.2 assists per game but saw his play improve in conference play. During the Big East season Diallo averaged 13.4 points per game and 7.2 rebounds as well. David Duke will be a threat to Alpha next year for this award when the Providence commit steps onto campus, so enjoy it now Alph.
The Matt Stainbrook Award (Big Man of the Year)
Jessie Govan– Georgetown Hoyas
Before we get to our winner check out Ethan Wragge’s face as he tries to defend Big Stain in the post. Big Stain weighs a ton and probably doesn’t smell great midway through a game so Wragge’s face says it all in this photo. Anyways I was tempted to give this award to Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado, who won it last year, but think Govan had the more impressive season. Jessie was 10th in the league in scoring, 2nd in rebounding only to Angel Delgado and 3rd in blocks. What tips the scales for me in Govan’s favor is the fact that he has less talent around him than Delgado, so opponents can really make him the focal point of the scouting report, and Govan has the ability to hit the occasional 3-pointer, which Angel does not. With Patrick Ewing at the helm Georgetown can expect several players taking the Matt Stainbrook award in the future.
The Bill Raftery “Onions” Award (Shot of the Year)
Kyron Cartwright– Belmont vs Providence, 11/22/17
This is the second straight year that Kyron Cartwright takes home the Bill Raftery “Onions” Award, as last year he won it for his game winner against Creighton. Unfortunately for the Belmont Bruins this isn’t their most heartbreaking loss of the year, as they lost the OVC championship last night. In this game the Friars didn’t play great but Belmont showed to be a worthy opponent until Kyron bailed the team out. Take it away Titanic Hoops!
The Dunk City Award (Upset of the Year)
St. Johns Red Storm wins at #1 Villanova Wildcats 79-75 2/7/18
Thankfully for Friar fans this game happened otherwise I would’ve picked DePaul over the Friars at the Dunk. The St. Johns Red Storm didn’t get a win the entire month of January but were coming of a shocking victory of then #4 Duke Blue Demons. Most people thought it was a fluke but then the Johnnies went to Wells Fargo Center and scored the massive upset over the #1 team in the country.
The “Send It In Jerome” Award (Dunker of the Year)
Marcus Foster- Creighton Blue Jays
Marcus Foster isn’t always throwing down yams but when he does its memorable. He threw down the hammer against DePaul a few games ago was insane. While I couldn’t find many videos of Foster jamming for the Jays so I leave you with Foster ending John Stockton’s son’s career in this posterizer from his K-State days.
The Trent Dilfer Dimer Award (Best Passer)
Kyron Cartwright– Providence Friars
Kyron Cartwright once again runs away with the Trent Dilfer Dimer as once again he led the Big East in assists per game and 29th in the nation. The one thing I will say is Kyron sometime tries to make so many times that he’s prone to sloppy turnovers. He has got to clean that up come the postseason.
The Steve Novak Award (Best 3-point Shooter)
Sam Hauser– Marquette Golden Eagles
For the second straight season the Steve Novak Award goes to another Marquette player, as last season I gave it to Markus Howard. Sam is definitely deserving of the award this season, as he is 5th in the nation in 3-pt percentage at 51.7% from beyond the arc. Hauser also averages 6 attempts per game so it’s not like doesn’t take a lot. Only a sophomore Hauser is going to be nailing triples for two more seasons.
The Kemba Walker Award (Clutch Performer of the Year)
Jalen Brunson– Villanova Wildcats
While Jalen Brunson has never hit a buzzer beater, Brunson constantly delvers for Villanova in the clutch. In crunch time he typically makes the right play either scoring himself or setting up his teammates to make baskets. Brunson was a contributor on the championship Villanova team and his late game play shows the moxie of that team.
The Mark Titus Award (Walk-On of the Year)
Tom Planek– Providence Friars
I really considered changing this award to the Casey Woodring Award but I really enjoy Titus’ podcast on The Ringer so we will keep it the same. If we are being honest unless there’s a walk-on that is a really good player or has some crazy story I’m going with a Friar everytme. Tom Planek gets the award this year in his grad school year with the Friars. Tom always took a back seat to Casey Woodring but this year he had all the attention to himself. Planek enters the game when he’s really pissed off with the team’s effort or to absolutely brick a free throw against URI. You know a walk-on has made his mark in Friartown when his dad Dr. Planek’s twitter handle is a mainstay amongst the fans.
This wraps up the second annual Crier Awards and I hope you really enjoyed reading it. Congratulations to all the deserving players of the various awards for another great season of Big East basketball. For my Crier Faithful be on the lookout for my Big East Tournament preview on Tuesday and my Providence vs Creighton preview on Wednesday. It turns out the seaman porno movie actually won the Oscar for Best Picture, who would’ve thunk it! Send them home dancing Friars!