We already talked about the possibilities for the women’s basketball preseason awards, so that means it’s time to talk about the men’s basketball end of the Big East. This is pretty straight forward, though, so don’t expect surprises.
Preseason Player of the Year: Josh Hart, Villanova
I really don’t want to listen anyone’s argument that it’s some other player. Anybody who had a legitimate challenge to Hart’s spot as “the man ‘round these parts” is off playing professionally at this point. He’s the only guy coming back from last year’s All-Big East First Team, which should make this nothing but obvious.
I GUESS if you REALLY wanted to argue, you could make a case for Butler’s Kelan Martin who scored 0.2 points per game more than Hart and averaged the same number of rebounds. I don’t think he’ll be as good as that this year now that Kellan Dunham and Roosevelt Jones are gone, but I guess you could try to pretend that Martin has a chance against Hart.
Preseason Freshman of the Year: Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s
Up until September 23rd, this was going to be Villanova’s Omari Spellman. However, Spellman has been ruled ineligible to play this season by the NCAA, which means the #19 recruit in the country according to the 247 Sports Composite system can’t be preseason FOY. So, that means we turn our eyes towards Ponds, the #45 recruit on the list. I suppose Marquette’s Markus Howard (#70) could get some votes, too, but Ponds is much more likely to have an immediate impact on his team.
All-Big East Team
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall
Josh Hart, Villanova
Kelan Martin, Butler
Maurice Watson, Jr., Creighton
This was very simple. It’s the five guys who made All-Big East First Team, Second Team, or Honorable Mention last year that are back for this season. There were only five of them, so it was an easy choice. I suppose votes could land on Seton Hall’s Khadeen Carrington as the fourth best returning scorer, but I wouldn’t really expect it.
Top Five Teams
1 - Villanova
2 - Xavier
3 - Seton Hall
4 - Butler
5 - Creighton
Defending national champs that bring back their top two scorers? Yeah, that’s a pick to win the conference. The Musketeers lost Jalen Reynolds and James Farr, and Myles Davis is suspended right now. They still have Bluiett and Edmond Sumner, and head coach Chris Mack is a wizard. They’ll figure it out. Seton Hall was an amazing defensive team last year and only really lost Isaiah Whitehead, who was not a core component on defense. Butler still has pieces in place, even without Kellan Dunham and Roosevelt Jones, and Creighton might be scary as hell with a point guard like Watson running the show.