Big East Preseason Player Awards

Posted by Justin Kundrat on November 12th, 2015

Here is the Big East microsite’s 2015-16 Preseason Honor Roll.

Player of the Year: Kris Dunn (Providence). Dunn faces little competition for the title of Big East’s best player. He is one of those rarest of players at the college level that regularly makes you say “wow.” Players of his ilk typically only stick around for one season before bolting for the NBA, but with Dunn now beginning his fourth and likely final season as an amateur, it’s high time for all of us to appreciate his prodigious game.

No Shock Here: Kris Dunn Is The RTC Preseason Big East Player Of The Year (Photo: USA Today Sports)

No Shock Here: Kris Dunn Is The RTC Preseason Big East Player Of The Year (Photo: USA Today Sports)

Newcomer of the Year: Henry Ellenson (Marquette). Ellenson comes highly regarded and will be a key cog in Marquette’s bid for a turnaround season. The 6’10” forward can step out and shoot from distance but also has the skill to play physically in the post, which should enable him to integrate well with an offensively-challenged Marquette squad. The weight on Ellenson’s shoulders this season will be heavy, but all signs point to him having the greatest impact of any newcomer in the conference.

Breakout Player of the Year: Isaac Copeland (Georgetown). Copeland may no longer be hiding under the radar, but less roster competition should bring a greater opportunity for the 6’9″ sophomore to shine. The bouncy wing demonstrated a soft shooting stroke as well as a penchant for successfully attacking the rim last season — he will look to build upon his 6.8 PPG last season in a starting role as John Thompson III hopes he develops into a dynamic secondary offensive option behind D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera.

Scoring Leader: D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown). DSR finished fifth in the Big East in scoring last season and trails only Butler’s Kellen Dunham among returning players. The senior guard actually took fewer shots last season than he did the year prior and his scoring average dipped slightly as a result. Given the expected growth of Copeland along with sophomores LJ Peak and Paul White, Smith-Rivera should anchor a more balanced offense and experience shooting slumps at a much lower frequency this time around.

Rebounding Leader: Angel Delgado (Seton Hall). Standing at 6’9″, Delgado gave Seton Hall exactly what it needed last season: offensive rebounding. The freshman got immediate playing time and made the most of it, co-leading the Big East (along with Butler’s Kameron Woods) in rebounding last season with 9.8 RPG. His rebounding rates placed him among the top 30 nationally on both ends of the floor and an offseason of conditioning should enable him to stay on the floor longer this season.

Assist Leader: Kris Dunn (Providence). Boring, considering that he was already named our Big East POY above. But it’s hard to make a case for anyone other than Dunn here, considering how frequently he will have the ball in his hands this season. Dunn’s staggering 7.6 APG last season placed him second in the entire country, and while he was still somewhat turnover prone, there is little reason to believe he won’t again lead the conference in assists.

Best Shooter: Kellen Dunham (Butler). Opponents tasked with guarding Dunham always have their work cut out for them. Butler not only let Dunham bring the ball up at times last season, but it also constantly ran the 6’6″ guard off screens, rendering him extremely difficult — and tiring — to cover. His usage rate on the offensive end was high (he hoisted over 25 percent of Butler’s shots when he was on the floor) but it didn’t seem to hamper his efficiency, as he shot a career best 41.0 percent from beyond the arc. Dunham has supposedly been working on his shot creation off the dribble this season in hopes of finding even more scoring opportunities.

Best Post Player(s): Daniel Ochefu (Villanova)/Jalen Reynolds (Xavier). While Ochefu has been garnering attention down low for some time now, Xavier’s Reynolds came onto the scene late last season and stayed there. Now, with Matt Stainbrook gone, Reynolds figures to dominate post touches where he makes good use of them (he converted 62 percent from the field last season). At Villanova, Ochefu saw a rise in usage last season after he demonstrated a real ability to score in the low post. If he successfully expands his offensive tool kit and plays with less hesitation, the 6’11” forward will be a handful to contain.

Justin Kundrat (175 Posts)

Villanova grad, patiently waiting another 10 years for season tickets. Follow Justin on twitter @JustinKundrat or email him at

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