NEW YORK –Gorgui Dieng, Louisville’s junior center, has been named Big East Defensive Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s head coaches who were not permitted to vote for their own players.
The league also announced that Kadeem Batts of Providence and Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse are co-winners of the Big East Most Improved Player Award. Marquette junior forward Davante Gardner has won the Big East Sixth Man Award. His teammate Junior Cadougan has been named the winner of the Big East Sportsmanship Award.
Dieng, a 6-11 center from Kebemer, Senegal, was the force in the paint who helped Louisville tie for the Big East regular-season title. Dieng averaged 10.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots in all games. In Big East play, he was the league rebounding champion with a 10.8 average and was second in blocked shots with an average of 2.8.
Batts helped Providence improve to 9-9 in the BIG EAST after the Friars were 4-14 last season. A 6-9 junior forward, Batts is second on the team in scoring with a 15.2 average and is second in rebounding at 7.4. Last season, he averaged 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds. Batts is a native of Powder Springs, Ga.
Carter-Williams earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors this season after playing only 10.3 minutes per game last year. Last season, Carter-Williams, a native of Hamilton, Mass., averaged 2.7 points. This year, the 6-5 sophomore is averaging 12.5 points. He leads the BIG EAST with averages of 7.5 assists and 2.9 steals in all games.
Gardner was usually the first player of the bench for Marquette, the BIG EAST co-regular-season champions. Despite averaging only 21.3 minutes per game, Gardner is second on the team in scoring with an 11.5 average and first in rebounding with a 4.8 mark. A native of Suffolk, Va., Gardner’s 57.7 percent shooting percentage from the field and his 84.8 percent mark from the foul line both rank fourth in the BIG EAST.
Cadougan has been the steady point guard for Marquette. The 6-1 senior is averaging 8.6 points and 4.2 assists. The BIG EAST coaches also recognized his sportsmanlike manner. A team captain, Cadougan has won the team’s Create for Others Award as a sophomore and junior and the Hank Raymonds Sportsmanship Award in 2009-10. Cadougan came to Marquette from Toronto, Ont.
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.