If last year is a guide, we'll find out who the Big East coaches favored in their voting some time this week. That means we'd better make some picks for the men's lacrosse preseason awards before the league jumps the gun and sneaks the awards past me.
Offensive Player of the Year: Connor Cannizzaro, Attack, Denver
2015 rankings: First in points per game, second in goals per game, fourth in assists per game. Next.
Defensive Player of the Year: Christian Burgdorf, Defense, Denver
He won the postseason award last year and now he's back for his junior season. Next.
All-Big East Team
Connor Cannizzaro, Attack, Denver
Eric DeJohn, Attack, St. John's
Conor Gately, Attack, Marquette
Peter Conley, Midfield, Georgetown
Zach Miller, Midfield, Denver
Kyle Whitlow, Midfield, Marquette
Christian Burgdorf, Defense, Denver
BJ Grill, Defense, Marquette
Jarrod Neumann, Defense, Providence
Liam Byrnes, LSM, Marquette
Trevor Baptiste, FO, Denver
Nick Marrocco, GK, Georgetown
This was a really simple list to put together. 10 of these dudes were all-Big East First Teamers at the end of the 2015 season. Boom, they're all in. Needed another attacker to balance it out, hey, there's Conor Gately as the lone returning attackman on the Second Team. Needed another midfielder, there's Peter Conley returning from an injury shortened season where he still finished with the fifth best goals per game average and was top 10 in points per game. And there's your all-Big East Team. Simple, right?
Top Three Teams
Denver's the defending national champion and they have the best offensive and defensive players in the league, and there's depth behind Cannizzaro and Burgdorf, too. Yeah, they're the pick to win. Not hard.
Yes, Marquette is a homer pick for me here. I'll be honest about that. It's Year 4 for the Golden Eagles, and they have 19 seniors. This season is critical for the development of Marquette as a program for the future. Can they break through and steal a win against Denver, Notre Dame, or Duke, the top 3 teams in the country heading into the season, something that has eluded them through the first three seasons? I think they can.
The USILA voters disagree with me, putting Georgetown and Villanova in the top 20 with MU on the outside, but at least they agree with me that Georgetown is a shade better than the Wildcats right now.