The Big East announced their Player of the Year Award on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the start of the Big East Tournament beginning Wednesday night. Ryan Arcidiacono and Kris Dunn were named co-Big East Players of the Year by the league's coaches.The Providence Friars get their first ever Big East Player of the Year award, while this is the third for the Villanova Wildcats. Kerry Kittles won the award in 1995 and Randy Foye in 2006. Dunn was a unanimous selection for the All-Big East First Team, along with LaDontae Henton and Darrun Hilliard. Arcidiacono was part of the 7-player First Team, which is why he was eligible to win this award. Still I'm sure many people will be surprised that Arcidiacono would get the nod ahead of teammate and senior Hilliard. You can vote whether you think that was the correct thing in the poll at the end of this article. A coach cannot vote for his own player. This is the 7th time in league history that the Player of the Year Award is shared between two players.
Arcidiacono averaged 12.9 ppg and 3.6 apg in Big East play this season and while those numbers may not inspire awe he is the point guard and a leader of the best team in the Big East that also happens to be ranked #4 in the nation at the moment. Villanova also has a very balanced attack. Arcidiacono's 12.9 ppg was second on the team to Hilliard's 15.4 ppg. Arcidiacono also played the most minutes at 31.6 mpg on the team and was the team's best 3-point and free throw shooter. The coaches clearly value good point guard play as both Arcidiacono and Dunn are the lead guards on their respective teams.
Dunn is in the midst of one of the better all-time seasons in Providence history. In addition to being the first player in league history to lead the Big East in assists (7.7 apg) and steals (2.8 spg) Dunn also has accumulated the 7th most assists in a single season and the 9th most steals in a single season in school history. His season averages for both assists and steals would rank in the top 10 best seasons for those two stats at Providence if they hold up. Dunn's 7.4 apg in overall play ranks 4th nationally as does his 2.83 spg. Dunn also had a triple-double earlier this season against DePaul and he became the first Friar to accomplish that feat in a Big East game. Dunn was named a Second Team All-American by NBCSports.com's Rob Dauster as well as ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman.
While some people might have an issue with Arcidiacono winning the award ahead of Hilliard I don't have a problem with the way the voting turned out. Oddities like this are more likely when the pool of voters is decreased to 10 coaches and there are 4 players from 2 teams getting the most consideration. Arcidiacono and Dunn are two of the best players and point guards in the Big East and both are deserving of this award. Arcidiacono is a key player on the #4 team in the nation, while Dunn is a key player on a team headed for their second straight NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1978. Could Henton and/or Hilliard have won this award? Sure. Would it have been a disaster? Absolutely not. But neither is Arcidiacono and Dunn sharing the Player of the Year award.
For more information on Arcidiacono head over to VUHoops.com.