Trying to figure out how the Big East coaches will vote sometimes resembles attempting to herd cats, but it's a fun exercise as we prepare for the upcoming basketball season. A lot of these are pretty straight forward if you remember how the 2014-15 season ended, but we'll still have some explanations along the way.
Preseason Player of the Year: Kris Dunn, Providence
Dunn was the 2014-15 Co-Player Of The Year at the end of last season. All due respect to Ryan Arcidiacono, but I still don't get how that happened. If the argument is that Dunn had too much assistance from LaDontae Henton, then fine, but Arcidiacono wasn't even close to the most important player for Villanova last year.
ANYWAY, Dunn led the Big East in steals and assists a year ago, and both were by fairly significant margins. He's also the third leading scorer amongst guys who are returning to the Big East this season. If you want to throw one final marker on top of the pile, Dunn is the top NBA prospect in the Big East according to Draft Express' current 2016 NBA Mock Draft.
Freshman of the Year: Henry Ellenson, Marquette
Just like you have to consider Dunn the best player in the league because he's atop the Big East players in that mock draft, you have to consider Ellenson the best freshman because he's sitting atop any recruiting ranking list of Big East freshmen that you'll find. Let's take the 247 Composite ranking for example. Ellenson is #9, while Villanova's Jalen Brunson is #22. This isn't complicated sometimes. Ellenson's also one spot lower on that Draft Express Mock Draft than Dunn, so this might not be the only award that Ellenson is going to be in the running for at the end of the season.
All-Big East Team
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
Kellen Dunham, Butler
Kris Dunn, Providence
Henry Ellenson, Marquette
D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown
The Big East went with a five man team with the Player of the Year coming out of that five man team a year ago, so that's the format I'm going to use here. In the past, it's been a six man team with the POY, and for the record, Butler's Roosevelt Jones would have been the sixth man on this list.
Other than that, it's not a complicated list to assemble. Dunn's the obvious choice. As I mentioned, Arcidiacono was the co-Player of the Year back in March, so he's a shoo-in here. Dunham and DSR are the only two returning players on the All-Big East First Team at the end of last season, so they make this list.
Ellenson is the one that will cause controversy amongst you non-Marquette fans that might be reading this. Look. He's the #8 NBA prospect in the entire country, and he's a better NBA prospect than anyone in the Big East other than Kris Dunn. Do you really want to argue for Roosevelt Jones, Billy Garrett, Jr., or Daniel Ochefu over Ellenson? I mean, really? Ok, case closed.
Top Five Teams
Don't look now, but Butler was the second best team in the Big East last season, and they return their top three scorers and three of their top five rebounders. I can't possibly pick them over Villanova at this point, but they're an obvious #2. Georgetown returns a bunch of dudes as well, as does Xavier. Providence will have to deal with the loss of LaDontae Henton and Carson Desrosiers, but you can't pick Kris Dunn as the POY and not have them in the top five.
I am obviously leaving Marquette out of this grouping. They're going to have to rely way too much on guys who haven't played a minute of college basketball this season for me to have them in the top half of the league in an attempt to be objective about it. Are they sixth? Can't see how they're any lower.