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.
Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, Providence’s Bryce Hopkins headline All-Big East teams
Tyler Kolek of Marquette and Bryce Hopkins of Providence were unanimously named to the All-Big East First team, meaning one of them will be named Player of the Year this week.
The expectation here is that Kolek wins the award when it is announced on Wednesday.
The other four First Team honorees are: Jordan Hawkins of UConn, Ryan Kalkbrenner of Creighton, Souley Boum of Xavier and Adama Sanogo of UConn.
Other league individual awards, including Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man Award and Sportsmanship Award will be announced Monday, March 6, at 11 a.m. ET.
Sanogo, a 6-9 junior, leads the Big East in scoring in all games with a 17.2 average. He also ranks seventh in rebounding with a 7.2 mark and is sixth in field goal percentage, making 58.6 percent. Sanogo was the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year.
Sanogo’s teammate Hawkins is the BIG EAST scoring champion in league games with a 17.3 mark. He is the first UConn scoring champion in the BIG EAST since Richard Hamilton in 1998-99. In all games, Hawkins ranks third in scoring at 16.4. One of the BIG EAST’s top shooters, the sophomore leads the league with 2.9 3-pointers made per game. He is shooting 37.8 percent from 3-point range and 87.7 percent from the line.
Kalkbrenner has been the strong anchor in the middle for Creighton both offensively and defensively. The 7-1 center is the Bluejays’ top scorer with a 14.9 average. He leads the nation field goal shooting, connecting at 70.6 percent and is first in blocked shots in the BIG EAST with a 2.5 mark.
Kolek has been the director of Marquette’s championship regular season. The 6-3 junior is averaging 12.7 points and a league-leading 7.9 assists, which ranks second nationally. Kolek also ranks first in assist/turnover ratio at 3.3, which places him sixth in the nation. He is fifth in the BIG EAST in steals at 1.8 and ninth in free throw shooting, making 81.4 percent.
Xavier’s Boum and Providence’s Hopkins are both first-year players on their respective teams.
Boum, a 6-3 graduate transfer, has been the quarterback for the Xavier squad that will enter the BIG EAST Tournament as the No. 2 seed. Boum ranks second in scoring with a 16.8 average and has made 42.2 percent from 3-point range, which is third in the league. He has averaged 4.5 assists.
Hopkins, a 6-7 sophomore, is fourth in the BIG EAST in scoring with a 16.1 average and second in rebounding at 8.5. He is one of only three players in the BIG EAST to lead his team in both categories.
The All-BIG EAST Second Team includes two Marquette players. Kam Jones, a 6-4 sophomore, leads the Golden Eagles in scoring with a 15.3 average. He is first in the league with 87 3-pointers made. Oso Ighodaro, a 6-9 junior forward, is averaging 11.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and is second in the league with a 66.4 percent field goal percentage.
St. John’s center Joel Soriano has been one of the BIG EAST’s most improved players. The 6-11 senior is averaging 15.3 points and a league-leading 11.8 rebounds. Soriano also is tied for first in the nation in double-doubles with 23. He is the first St. John’s player to be the BIG EAST rebounding champion in league games with an 11.5 mark.
Eric Dixon has been a key component for Villanova’s success. The 6-8 forward leads the Wildcats with a 15.7 scoring average and a 6.4 rebound mark.
Xavier’s Colby Jones has been an all-around contributor for Xavier. The 6-6 junior is averaging 15.3 points 5.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.4 steals.
All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention includes four players: guards Trey Alexander and Baylor Scheierman of Creighton along with guard Devin Carter of Providence and center Jack Nunge of Xavier.
The BIG EAST Freshman of the Year will come from the All-Freshman Team. UConn forward Alex Karaban and Villanova forward Cam Whitmore were unanimous picks. The others are: UConn center Donovan Clingan, St. John’s guard AJ Storr, Villanova guard Mark Armstrong and Xavier guard Desmond Claude.
ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM
Jordan Hawkins, Connecticut, G, So., 6-5, 195, Gaithersburg, Md.
Adama Sanogo, Connecticut, F, Jr., 6-9, 245, Bamako, Mali
Ryan Kalkbrenner, Creighton, C, Jr., 7-1, 260, Florissant, Mo.
*Tyler Kolek, Marquette, G, Jr., 6-3, 190, Cumberland, R.I.
*Bryce Hopkins, Providence, F, So., 6-7, 220, Oak Park, Ill.
Souley Boum, Xavier, G, Gr., 6-3, 175, Oakland, Calif.
ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM
Oso Ighodaro, Marquette, F, Jr., 6-9, 215, Chandler, Ariz.
Kam Jones, Marquette, G, So., 6-4, 195, Memphis, Tenn.
Joel Soriano, St. John’s, C, Sr., 6-11, 260, Yonkers, N.Y.
Eric Dixon, Villanova, F, R-Jr., 6-8, 255, Willow Grove, Pa.
Colby Jones, Xavier, G, Jr., 6-6, 205, Birmingham, Ala.
ALL-BIG EAST HONORABLE MENTION
Trey Alexander, Creighton, G, So., 6-4, 190, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Baylor Scheierman, Creighton, G, Sr., 6-7, 205, Aurora, Neb.
Devin Carter, Providence, G, So., 6-3, 195, Miami, Fla.
Jack Nunge, Xavier, C, Jr., 7-0, 245, Newburgh, Ind. (repeat
BIG EAST ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
Donovan Clingan, Connecticut, C, 7-2, 265, Bristol, Ct.
*Alex Karaban, Connecticut, F, 6-8, 210, Southborough, Mass.
AJ Storr, St. John’s, G, 6-6, 200, Rockford, Ill.
Mark Armstrong, Villanova, G, 6-2, 180, South Orange, N.J.
*Cam Whitmore, Villanova, F, 6-7, 232, Odenton, Md.
Desmond Claude, Xavier, G, 6-5, 195, New Haven, Conn.
*Denotes unanimous selection
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.