Monday, March 03, 2008

Decision '08

Jim Calhoun was scanning down the ballot for Big East all-conference selections the other day, and found it as difficult a task as dissecting the Louisville 2-3 zone.

“It’s hard,” Calhoun said. “There are just so many good players, and good young players, I might add.”

With 16 teams, at least half of which believe they belong in the NCAA tournament, it’s particularly tough to pick an all-Big East team. Here’s who'd get my votes:

FIRST TEAM
Luke Harangody
, Notre Dame; Sam Young, Pittsburgh; Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati; Kentrell Gransberry, South Florida; Scottie Reynolds, Villanova; David Padgett, Louisville; A.J. Price, Connecticut; Paul Harris, Syracuse; Roy Hibbert, Georgetown; Joe Alexander, West Virginia.

SECOND TEAM
Draelon Burns
, DePaul; Donte Greene, Syracuse; Jonny Flynn, Syracuse; Kyle McAlarney, Notre Dame; Dominic James, Marquette; Jerel McNeal, Marquette; Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut; Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown; Terrence Williams, Louisville; Brian Laing, Seton Hall.

HONORABLE MENTION
Geoff McDermott
, Providence; Dominque Jones, South Florida; Jeff Adrien, Connecticut; Eugene Harvey, Seton Hall; Earl Clark, Louisville; DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh; JR Inman, Rutgers; Tory Jackson, Notre Dame.

ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
Donte Greene
, Syracuse; Dominique Jones, South Florida; Jonny Flynn, Syracuse; Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall; Dar Tucker, DePaul, DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh; Corey Chandler, Rutgers; Mac Koshwal, DePaul; Rick Jackson, Syracuse; Mike Davis, Seton Hall.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame: In conference play, leads Big East in scoring (21.1 ppg) and second in rebounding (10.5). Tough to argue against that.

COACH OF THE YEAR
Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
: Notre Dame’s Mike Brey will probably win, but a lot of people thought the Irish were better than their 9th-place prediction in the preseason poll. Plus, he’s got the POY. Calhoun has done a masterful job contouring the Huskies to their strengths, thriving for nine games without their top returning scorer and rebounding from last year’s ugliness. Those who’ve watched the program a lot longer than I have say this could be his best coaching job yet.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Donte Greene, Syracuse
: He’s averaging 17.1 points, 7.4 boards and 1.75 blocks, beating out a tough field that includes teammate Jonny Flynn and Pitt’s DeJuan Blair.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut
: Even when he doesn’t block shots (and he’s done that more than anyone in the Big East), his mere presence in the middle of the lane alters the way opponents attack UConn.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
A.J. Price, Connecticut
: They say it usually takes two years to rebound from missing a season (or in Price’s case, two missed seasons). He certainly did that this year.

(Wow, I just realized how pro-UConn this awards list must appear. Lest you think I'm a homer, consider that I grew up in Rhode Island as a Providence fan and have no allegiance to the Huskies -- other than watching them for what seems like every day since November. Incidentally, Jeff Adrien earned a spot on this week's Big East Honor Roll, and the Huskies moved up to No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would take issue with two of your choices for All-Big East involving UConn players. Flip-flop jeff adrien and Hasheem Thabeet and you're good to go. There is no way UConn is where they are right now without Jeff's play in the low post. Hasheem has been a contributor no doubt; but nowhere near as balanced and consistent.

9:41 PM 
Anonymous aaron said...

that is exactly the point i was going to make, theres no way that jeff doesn't belong on at least 2nd team I might as well say ditto cause the other guy hit all of the points. Balance and consistency are exactly right. Add to that how much he's improved to add fluidity and control to his offensive post moves, the much improved jump shot and cutting down on his turnovers from the begginning of the year. If you can only have one other guy on 2nd team for uconn it has to be adrien not thabeet.

8:43 AM 

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