Davante Gardner And Chris Otule Honored By The Big East

USA TODAY Sports

The senior big men were awarded the Sixth Man of the Year and the Sportsmanship award, respectively.

As the Big East kills time waiting for the men's basketball tournament to start on Wednesday, they announced some individual awards on Monday morning, and Marquette basketball was prominent amongst them.

Davante Gardner won the Sixth Man Award for the second consecutive year.  It's the first time in Big East history that anyone has won two Sixth Man Awards, much less two straight.  Gardner came off the bench for Marquette in 23 of their 31 games this season, but still leads the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game and is second in rebounding at 5.7 per game.  Those two averages have Gardner ranked ninth and 12th in the Big East respectively.  He's also sixth in the league in field goal percentage and 12th in free throw percentage.

The Big East doesn't provide an explanation as to the criteria for the Sportsmanship award, but it doesn't take a quantum physicist to figure out how Chris Otule won that award this year.  Otule returned for his sixth year of eligibility after breaking both of his feet and blowing out his ACL in three different seasons while at Marquette.  He persevered through all of this to still become one of the best defensive big men in Marquette history, ranking fourth all time on the blocked shots list.  Oh, and that's all just what he accomplished in college, as Big Chris was essentially born without a left eye.

In other news, Seton Hall's Fuquan Edwin was named Defensive Player of the Year, and Villanova teammates Darrun Hilliard and Daniel Ochefu were named co-winners of the Most Improved Player award.

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