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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / June 23.
  • ZAGSBLOG Big East Midseason Awards

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    At the midway point of the Big East season, here are the ZAGSBLOG Big East awards.

    I left Casey Mitchell of West Virginia and Jeremy Hazell of Seton Hall off the teams because they’ve both missed games, but their status could change going forward. Mitchell is expected to return from suspension soon, and Hazell recently returned from a broken wrist.

    Big East Player of the Year

    Kemba Walker, UConn, G, Jr

    Nation’s second-leading scorer at 25 ppg has Huskies at 17-3, 5-3 in Big East

    Big East Coach of the Year

    Jim Calhoun, UConn

    Picked 10th in the Big East, the Huskies are No. 6 in the nation with wins over then-No. 2 Michigan State, then-No. 8 Kentucky and then-No. 12 Texas

    Big East Rookie of the Year

    Cleveland Melvin, DePaul, F, Fr.

    Third-leading scorer in Big East play and 10th in rebounding; leads Big East with three Rookie of the Week awards

    Big East Defensive Player of the Year

    Gary McGhee, Pittsburgh, F, Sr.

    Second in Big East in defensive rebounding (6.8), third in total boards (9.8) and ninth in blocks (1.56). Alters game with positioning and by taking up space and is a very good help defender.

    Big East Most Improved Player

    Peyton Siva, Louisville, G, Sr.

    Dramatically improved in scoring (11.1 from 3.9), assists (5.0 from 1.8) and steals (48 from 31)

    Big East Sixth Man Award

    Shabazz Napier, UConn, G, Fr.

    Napier has come off the bench in all 20 games to average 9. 1 points, 3.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds

    ALL BIG-EAST FIRST TEAM

    Kemba Walker, UConn, G, Jr.

    Ranks second in scoring in Big East games (22.6), tied for first in steals (2.25 spg) and eighth in assists (4.63 apg)

    Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh, G, Jr.

    Leading scorer (15.1 ppg) for first-place team in conference;  ranks first in Big East in free throw shooting (96 percent)

    Rick Jackson, Syracuse, F, Sr.

    Leads the Big East with 14 double-doubles this season; the next player, has 6. Fourth nationally in rebounding (11.9)

    Austin Freeman, Georgetown, G, Sr.

    Preseason Player of the Year is Big East’s fifth-leading scorer at 18.7 ppg

    Corey Fisher, Villanova, G, Sr.

    Ranks eighth in Big East in scoring (16.9 ppg) and third in assists (5.63 apg)

    Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame, F, Sr.

    Averaging 18.1 points, 4.1 assists and 4.0 rebound for No. 9 Irish

    ALL BIG-EAST SECOND TEAM

    Marshon Brooks, Providence, G, Sr.

    Jae Crowder, Marquette, F, Jr.

    Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette, G, Jr

    Kevin Jones, West Virginia, F, Jr.

    Kris Joseph, Syracuse, F, Jr.

    ALL BIG-EAST THIRD TEAM

    Scoop Jardine, Syracuse, G, So.

    Herb Pope, Seton Hall, F., Jr.

    Peyton Siva, Louisville, G, So.

    Brad Wanamaker, Pittsburgh, G, Sr.

    Maalik Wayns, Villanova, G, So.

    ALL BIG-EAST HONORABLE MENTION

    Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame, F, Sr.

    Jimmy Butler, Marquette, F, Sr.

    Dwight Hardy, St. John’s, G, Sr.

    Gary McGhee, Pittsburgh, F, Sr.

    Corey Stokes, Villanova, G, Sr.

    BIG EAST All-Rookie Team

    Gilvydas Biruta, Rutgers, F, Fr.

    Gerard Coleman, Providence, G, Fr.

    Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati, G, Fr.

    Jeremy Lamb, UConn, G, Fr.

    Cleveland Melvin, DePaul, F, Fr.

    Shabazz Napier, UConn, G, Fr.

    BIG EAST NOTEBOOK

    ·         Seven Big East teams are in the top 17 of the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls:  No. 4/4 Pittsburgh, No. 6/7 Connecticut, No. 9/8 Notre Dame, No. 12/12 Villanova, No. 13/14 Georgetown, No. 15/13 Louisville and No. 17/17 Syracuse.

    ·         After a rare Tuesday without a Big East game, five contests are on the slate for Wednesday.

    ·         Syracuse plays at Connecticut on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.  The Orange will be aiming to end a four-game losing streak.  They have never lost five in a row under coach Jim Boeheim.  The Huskies will try to bounce back from a one-point loss to Louisville in double overtime on Saturday.

    ·         Marquette visits Villanova which also tips at 7 p.m.  ESPNU will carry the game from the Pavilion.  The Golden Eagles play their next three games on the road.  The Wildcats are trying to end a two-game losing streak.

    ·         In Providence, the Friars will be looking to pay back USF for a 79-72 defeat they suffered at the Sun Dome on Jan. 16.  The Bulls are still looking for their first road win.

    ·         Seton Hall, which has won two straight after losing six of seven games, travels to West Virginia.  The Mountaineers have played the fewest home games among Big East teams, but they are 7-1 at the WVU Coliseum.

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • Marshon Brooks not on the first team? not most improved player either…intersting when he leads the Big East in scoring during league play

    • Like I said earlier, winning counts for something. His team is 2-7 in the Big East. Historically, the players who make first team All-Big East come from winning programs. But we will see how the second half of the season goes.

      Siva’s team is tied for 2nd place and he’s made dramatic improvements, so I felt he deserved it.

      Still half a season to go.

      Adam Z.

    • Very true