Big East Season Superlatives

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 10th, 2015

The Big East had an outstanding season, finishing the regular season ranked as the second-best conference in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings as well as the RPI. Let’s take a look at some of the best players and teams from a league that will likely send six teams to the Big Dance on Sunday.

Player of the Year

Kris Dunn, So, Providence (15.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 7.4 APG, 2.8 SPG) – This award could have easily gone to Villanova’s Darrun Hilliard or Dunn’s Providence teammate LaDontae Henton, but the Friars’ sophomore point guard has dazzled us all year long on one of the Big East’s top teams. Originally a part of Providence’s 2012 recruiting class, Dunn had been beset by injuries up until this season. Finally healthy, he played in all but one regular season game and led the country in assist rate at 49 percent. Also an outstanding defender, Dunn ranks fifth nationally in steal percentage. His best performance of the year came in a home win over DePaul on January 29 when he posted a triple-double (27 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists) — it was the first triple-double ever posted by a Providence player in a Big East conference game.

It wasn't an easy choice, but Kris Dunn earns the nod as RTC's Big East POY. (USA TODAY Sports)

It wasn’t an easy choice, but Kris Dunn earns the nod as RTC’s Big East POY. (USA TODAY Sports)


First Team

  • Kris Dunn, So, Providence (15.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 7.4 APG, 2.8 SPG) – Our RTC Big East Player of the Year.
  • Darrun Hilliard, Sr, Villanova (14.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.8 SPG) – As is the case with all of his Villanova teammates, the statistics don’t tell the entire story. The best player on the best team in this league.
  • LaDontae Henton, Sr, Providence (20.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.4 SPG) – Joined Ryan Gomes as the only other Providence player to score at least 2,000 points and grab at least 1,000 rebounds over his career.
  • D’Angelo Harrison, Sr, St. John’s (17.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG) – The Red Storm’s leading scorer led an experienced team to what is likely to be an NCAA Tournament bid.
  • Sir’Dominic Pointer, Sr, St. John’s (13.7 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 2.5 BPG) – Perhaps the best defender in the conference, Pointer was all over the floor in an impressive senior season.

Second Team

  • Ryan Arcidiacono, Jr, Villanova (10.7 PPG, 3.6 APG) – Truly a great floor leader in every sense, Arcidiacono greatly improved his three-point shooting in Big East play.
  • Sterling Gibbs, Jr, Seton Hall (16.7 PPG, 3.8 APG) – Despite his team’s collapse, Gibbs was a consistent performer throughout the season.
  • D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Jr, Georgetown (16.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.3 APG) – The preseason Player of the Year flew under the radar a bit but still put up big numbers for a very good team.
  • Kellen Dunham, Jr, Butler (16.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG) – An Indiana kid who can stroke it, what a surprise. Dunham ranked third in the league with a 42.4 percent three-point mark.
  • Roosevelt Jones, Jr, Butler (12.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.7 APG) – Even with an unorthodox shooting form, Jones does it all for Butler. He had a terrific bounceback year after missing last season due to injury.

Honorable Mention: Phil Greene IV (St. John’s), Matt Stainbrook (Xavier), Matt Carlino (Marquette).

Coach of the Year

Who could argue with the job that Chris Holtmann has done this season? (AP)

Who could argue with the job that Chris Holtmann has done this season at Butler? (AP)

Chris Holtmann, Butler – This award could have easily gone to Villanova’s Jay Wright for his 16-2 record in the nation’s second-best basketball conference, but Holtmann gets the nod here. After spending last season as an assistant to Brandon Miller, Holtmann was named the interim coach when Miller took a medical leave of absence before the season began. When it was announced Miller would not return, Holtmann had the interim tag removed from his title on January 2. All told, he has successfully integrated Roosevelt Jones back into the rotation and significantly outperformed his team’s preseason expectations. Butler was picked seventh in the preseason Big East coaches poll but managed to finish in a tie for second with a 12-6 record. Given the uncertainty of the position going into the year, terrific management of a roster that is not deep, and the fact that the team exceeded expectations more than any other team in the conference, Holtmann absolutely deserves this recognition.

Freshman of the Year

Angel Delgado, Seton Hall – While much of the preseason hype was centered around teammate Isaiah Whitehead, Delgado went about his business in a blue collar way. He led the Big East in rebounding, only the second time a freshman has ever done that (Troy Murphy; 1999 Notre Dame). He posted 10 double-doubles in 30 games (including a monster 19/19 performance against DePaul) and ranks in the top 30 nationally in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. In fact, he finished just shy of averaging a double-double for the season (9.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG). Delgado’s 10 double-doubles puts him third nationally among freshmen, behind UCLA’s Kevon Looney and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor.

Sixth Man of the Year

Josh Hart, Villanova – Only a sophomore, Hart provides instant offense and toughness off the bench for Jay Wright. A solidly built wing player with great length, Hart’s 44.2 percent three-point rate ranked second in the league this year. He is a valuable piece for a Villanova team that hopes to contend for the national championship and will step into an even greater role next year when the Wildcats lose Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston.

Most Improved Player

Basketball is magnified in the Big Apple and no star shined brighter than Sir'dominic Pointer. ( J. Bereswill)

Basketball is magnified in the Big Apple and no star shined brighter than Sir’dominic Pointer (right). ( J. Bereswill)

Sir’Dominic Pointer, St. John’s – Pointer grew tremendously as a senior and enjoyed his best collegiate season as a result. His statistics skyrocketed across the board as he moved from a 21 minutes per game player to over 34 MPG for Steve Lavin. He averaged nearly eight more points per game than a season ago, while more than doubling his rebounding and blocked shots averages. He was the most valuable player for St. John’s on both ends of the floor and the main reason why the Red Storm are likely headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.

Biggest Surprise

Butler – There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Bulldogs program heading into this season. Most people were not sure how the coaching situation would work out, nor how well Roosevelt Jones would play after missing all of last season with an injury. Those questions were answered quickly as the Bulldogs knocked off North Carolina and Georgetown in the Battle 4 Atlantis during Thanksgiving weekend. Although Butler struggled in conference play against the very top of the league (it went 1-5 against Villanova, Georgetown and Providence), the team vastly exceeded expectations and will be the No. 3 seed at Madison Square Garden this week.

Biggest Disappointment

Seton Hall – The Pirates were picked sixth in the preseason poll but this selection is more about the second half of their season. After starting 13-3 overall and 3-1 in league play (including a win over Villanova), the Hall looked like a lock to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. Instead, locker room and chemistry issues derailed their season — starting guard Jaren Sina left the team after a February home loss to Georgetown due to what was reported to be an “untenable” locker room situation. Seton Hall crashed to a 6-12 league finish after losing 11 of its final 14 games. The Pirates will be the No. 8 seed at the conference tournament this week and there is a chance they may not even make the NIT after such a promising start to the 2014-15 campaign.

Brian Otskey (269 Posts)

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