Villanova Unanimous Pick to Win Big East, Josh Hart Preseason Player of the Year | Zagsblog
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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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Monday / August 8.
  • Villanova Unanimous Pick to Win Big East, Josh Hart Preseason Player of the Year

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    For the third straight year, Villanova has been selected unanimously to capture the Big East regular-season crown in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

    The reigning NCAA champion Wildcats received all nine possible first-place votes from the league’s head coaches and a total of 81 points in the poll.  Coaches do not place their own teams on their ballots.

    Meantime, junior guard Josh Hart was named the Big East Preseason Player of the Year.

    Hart and the Wildcats have been the outright regular-season champion in each of the past three seasons, compiling a 16-2 record each year.  For 2016-17, coach Jay Wright’s club will be aiming for an unprecedented fourth consecutive title.  Last year, the team was the Big East Tournament runner-up before marching on to win the NCAA Tournament title and capturing the eighth national championship in Big East men’s basketball history.  For the second straight season, Villanova set a school record for victories, finishing with a 35-5 record.

    The Wildcats return three starters from last year’s squad. Hart leads a talented group of returnees.  He averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds last year and was named to the NCAA All-Final Four Team.  Junior forward Kris Jenkins, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer of the national championship game against North Carolina, averaged 13.6 points and made a league-leading 100 3-point baskets.  Sophomore guard Jalen Brunson averaged 9.6 points and made the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team.

    2016-17 Preseason Coaches’ Poll


    1.       Villanova (9)                       81

    2.       Xavier (1)                             69

    3.       Creighton                            64

    4.       Georgetown                      53

    5.       Seton Hall                            53

    6.       Butler                                    44

    7.       Marquette                          35

    8.       St. John’s                             21

    9.       Providence                         18

    10.   DePaul                                  12

    BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year

    Josh Hart, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-5, 215, Silver Spring, Md.

    BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year

    Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s, G, Fr., 6-1, 165, Brooklyn, N.Y.

    BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team

    Kelan Martin, Butler, F, Jr., 6-7, 220, Louisville, Ky.

    Maurice Watson Jr., Creighton, G, Sr., 5-10, 175, Philadelphia, Pa.

    Kris Jenkins, Villanova, F, Sr., 6-6, 235, Upper Marlboro, Md.

    Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, G, Jr., 6-6, 205, Indianapolis, Ind.

    Edmond Sumner, Xavier, G, So., 6-6, 183, Detroit, Mich.

    BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team

    Billy Garrett, Jr., DePaul, G, Sr., 6-6, 210, Chicago, Ill.

    Isaac Copeland, Georgetown, F, Jr., 6-9, 220, Raleigh, N.C.

    Luke Fischer, Marquette, C, Sr., 6-11, 250, Germantown, Wis.

    Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall, G, Jr., 6-4, 195, Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, F, Jr., 6-10, 240, Bajos De Haina, Dominican Republic


    Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention

    Marcus Foster, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-3, 210, Wichita Falls, Texas

    L.J. Peak, Georgetown, F, Jr., 6-5, 215, Gaffney, S.C.

    Jalen Brunson, Villanova, G, So., 6-2, 190, Lincolnshire, Ill.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.