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Big East Awards Predictions

Providence Friar Bryce Hopkins drives around Xavier defender Colby Jones in the first half.

It is finally March. The madness and the magic are here. But before we get to that we have to give out some conference awards. Here are my predictions for awards in the Big East.

Big East Awards Predictions

Individual Awards

Player of the Year

Bryce Hopkins – Providence

Bryce Hopkins has been dominant this at Providence after transferring in. As a freshman last year at Kentucky, he played sparingly but has shined this year as a Friar. He averages 16.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, numbers that are third and second in the conference, respectively. He has been the best player in the Big East all year long.

Others considered: Souley Boum (Xavier) & Adama Sanogo (UConn)

Coach of the Year

Shaka Smart – Marquette

Shaka Smart has led a resurgence at Marquette in his first two years there. The Golden Eagles have once again outperformed expectations. They were picked to finish 9th in the Big East this year in the preseason coaches poll. Instead, they have clinched sole possession of the Big East regular season title for the first time ever and are currently ranked sixth in the AP Top 25. This was really a no-brainer and could be unanimous. He should also be one of the frontrunners for National Coach of the Year.

Others considered: Sean Miller (Xavier)

Freshman of the Year

Cam Whitmore – Villanova

Cam Whitmore hasn’t been quite as good as some people thought he would be, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t played well. The true freshman is averaging 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game, which is a good stat line. It has been a difficult year for his Villanova team, but he has been a bright spot.

Others Considered: Alex Karaban (UConn), Da’Sean Nelson (DePaul), & Donovan Clingan (UConn)

Defensive Player of the Year

Akok Akok – Georgetown

Speaking of bright spots on teams in the midst of difficult years, Akok Akok is in the same exact boat. Despite the terrible year that Georgetown is having, Akok has played pretty well. He leads the conference in total blocks and is fifth in defensive rebounds. He also does a lot of good stuff defensively that does not show up on the stat sheets. This was probably the hardest one to decide.

Others considered: Devin Carter (Providence), Joel Soriano (St. John’s), & Ryan Kalkbrenner (Creighton)

Sixth Man of the Year

Donovan Clingan – UConn

Typically when you think of sixth men you think of a guard or a wing player, not a 7’2″ true freshman center like Donovan Clingan. Despite coming off the bench in all 30 games and only playing 13.4 minutes per game, he has averaged 7.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game (Tied for 4th in the conference.). He has been great when needed to give Adama Sanogo breaks.

Others considered: David Joplin (Marquette)

Most Improved Player

Bryce Hopkins (Providence) & Joel Soriano (St. John’s)

I am giving this award to two players. Bryce Hopkins is one considering how good he’s been this year compared to how little he played last year. Joel Soriano is the other. He struggled last year after transferring into St. John’s from Fordham but has had the best year of his collegiate career this year. Soriano is averaging 15.3 points and 11.8 rebounds. and 1.4 blocks per game is his best collegiate season yet.

All-Big East Performers

First Team

Joel Soriano, Adama Sanogo, Bryce Hopkins, Souley Boum, Tyler Kolek

Second Team

Jack Nunge, Eric Dixon, Jordan Hawkins, Umoja Gibson, Primo Spears

Third Team

Ryan Kalkbrenner, Ed Croswell, Akok Akok, Kameron Jones, Colby Jones


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