The Big East has revealed this season’s regular season award recipients.
Markus Howard is the choice for Big East Player of the Year. This was none too surprising, as the Marquette Golden Eagles star took the conference and nation by storm this year. Howard averaged a league-high 25 points per game while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from 3-point range. He had stellar performances all season long, including two 45-point games and one 53-point effort. The other strongest contenders — Myles Powell, Phil Booth and Shamorie Ponds — certainly were worthy of recognition. But Howard stood tall above the rest in the end.
Meanwhile, it’s James Akinjo who takes home Big East Freshman of the Year honors. The Georgetown Hoyas point guard was second in the conference among freshmen in PPG, 0.1 behind his teammate Mac McClung. He led all freshmen in assists per game with 5.4, a full 2.1 assists ahead of Creighton Bluejays freshman Marcus Zegarowski, who was a finalist for the award. Akinjo was certainly worthy of the honor and distinction and it should come as no surprise that he comes away with the hardware here.
Lastly, Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright is your Big East Coach of the Year. It’s the sixth time that Wright has won the award, which of course breaks the record set by... you guessed it — Jay Wright, which he set last year when he won the honor. This may be a bit of a surprise in some aspects, as you could make the argument that Villanova underachieved in some aspects. But, in the end, they still won the conference, and based on how things shook out, there’s no shame in giving Wright the honor.
In addition to those awards, other players have received honors this week. Justin Simon of the St. John’s Red Storm was named as the Big East’s Defensive Player of the Year. Paul Reed of the DePaul Blue Demons is the Most Improved Player of the Year, and Paul Jorgensen of the Butler Bulldogs is the Sixth Man of the Year.