When the Big East All-Conference teams were announced on Sunday, there was a moment of hesitation when we saw that Marquette’s Markus Howard was one of four players that were unanimously named as all-conference First Team honorees. When you see someone as an unanimous selection, it’s clear that they’re in contention for Player of the Year.
That mystery and hesitation was wiped away on Wednesday when Howard was named Player of the Year by vote of the Big East coaches. He wasn’t an unanimous vote for that award, so it’s clear that a vote or two went in the direction of one of the other chaps who made the First team with everyone’s vote.
Here’s the league’s writeup on Howard and his qualifications for the trophy:
Howard, a 5-11 native from Chandler, Ariz., averaged 25.0 points in all games this season. His 24.9 scoring mark in league play makes him the BIG EAST scoring champion. One of the nation’s top shooters, Howard led the league with 112 made 3-pointers and shot 41.6 percent from 3-point range. He ranked second in the league in free throw shooting, making 90.2 percent. In an overtime win at Creighton on Jan. 9, Howard broke his own BIG EAST single-game scoring record with 53 points. He is a finalist for several national awards, including the Wooden Award and the Bob Cousy Award and is a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy. In only three seasons of BIG EAST play, Howard has surpassed the 1,000-point plateau and ranks 29th on the league’s all-time scoring list with 1,070 points.
Howard is the fourth Golden Eagle to win a conference player of the year award, and the second to win Big East Player of the Year. Jim McIlvaine was named POY in the Great Midwest Conference in 1993-94 and Dwyane Wade was the 2002-03 Conference USA Player of the Year. Jae Crowder was MU’s first ever Big East Player of the Year when he won the award in 2011-12.
In other individual awards, Georgetown’s James Akinjo was named Freshman of the Year, and Villanova’s Jay Wright was named Coach of the Year. If you read the official AE voting on the postseason awards, then you’re not surprised that Akinjo snagged that trophy over MU’s Joey Hauser. Wright did not pick up very much attention in our voting, but he earned enough respect from his peers to take the trophy back to Philly. We didn’t vote on Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved, or Sportsmanship, so you’re welcome to go read the Big East press release on those awards to see why those guys won those awards.
Let’s turn our attention to the all-conference teams. First the listings, then a brief chat about it all.
ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM
Jessie Govan, Georgetown, C, Sr., 6-10, 255, Queens Village, N.Y.
*Markus Howard, Marquette, G, Jr., 5-11, 175, Chandler, Ariz.
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s, G, Jr., 6-1, 180, Brooklyn, N.Y.
*Myles Powell, Seton Hall, G, Jr., 6-2, 195, Trenton, N.J.
*Phil Booth, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-3, 194, Baltimore, Md.
*Eric Paschall, Villanova, F, Sr., 6-8, 255, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM
Kamar Baldwin, Butler, G, Jr., 6-1, 195, Winder, Ga.
Max Strus, DePaul, G, Sr., 6-6, 215, Hickory Hills, Ill.
Sam Hauser, Marquette, G-F, Jr., 6-8, 225, Stevens Point, Wis.
Alpha Diallo, Providence, G, Jr., 6-7, 213, New York, N.Y.
Naji Marshall, Xavier, F, So., 6-7, 222, Atlantic City, N.J.
BIG EAST HONORABLE MENTION
Ty-Shon Alexander, Creighton, G, So., 6-4, 195, Charlotte, N.C.
Martin Krampelj, Creighton, F, Jr., 6-9, 235, Grosuplje, Slovenia
BIG EAST ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
*Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton, G, 6-2, 180, Hamilton, Mass.
*James Akinjo, Georgetown, G, 6-0, 180, Oakland, Calif.
Josh LeBlanc, Georgetown, F, 6-7, 230, Baton Rouge, La.
Mac McClung, Georgetown, G, 6-2, 185, Lake City, Va.
Joey Hauser, Marquette, F, 6-9, 230, Stevens Point, Wis.
Saddiq Bey, Villanova, F, 6-8, 220, Largo, Md.
As you can see from all of those asterisks that I cut & pasted from the official press release, those are the guys who were unanimous choices for their various all-conference squads. Let’s dive into the All-Freshman team. Akinjo as an unanimous choice makes all the sense in the world, but isn’t it a bit surprising that Marcus Zegarowski is as well........ and Joey Hauser is not? Hauser was named Big East Freshman of the Week five times this season, more than anyone else.... but there’s someone other than Steve Wojciechowski who didn’t vote for the younger Hauser? Seems weird.
Here’s what the MU press office wrote about Hauser’s inclusion on the All-Freshman team:
Joey Hauser claimed BIG EAST Freshman of the Week recognition a league-high five times this season. He is ranked among the league leaders in five categories, including 3-point field goal percentage (1st, .443) and free throw percentage (7th, .831). The versatile forward is second on the team in assists (2.5 apg.) and is third on the roster in scoring (9.8 ppg.).
The elder Hauser was named as a Second Team performer, which makes all the sense in the world. Here’s how the official MU press release discussed his accolades this season:
Sam Hauser is one of the league’s top all-around players and as a result is ranked among the BIG EAST leaders in scoring (13th, 14.8 ppg.), rebounding (7th, 7.1 rpg.), field goal percentage (15th, .462), free throw percentage (1st, .919), 3-point field goal percentage (12th, .393) and 3-point field goals made (7th, 2.5 3-pt fg.). He was a preseason second team selection.
The Golden Eagles return to action in just a few hours in their quarterfinal game in the Big East tournament. They face off against St. John’s at 6pm Central on FS1, with the winner playing either Georgetown or Seton Hall on Friday in the semifinals.