We’re still 24 days from the Marquette season opener, but since Big East Media Day is tomorrow, now seems like the right time to make our pre-season conference award predictions. The official preseason awards (as voted on by the coaches) come out tomorrow at 7:30 a.m, so in the spirit of the offseason, we’ll give out our own virtual and meaningless preseason awards – plus conference standings predictions as well. Now, for clarification – the point for this article isn’t to predict who the coaches will pick, but to base our predictions on what we think will actually happen. As of the coach’s results, there’s going to be much debate between who is picked or not – but even as of now, there’s completely no argument over who should be Big East Preseason Player of the Year:
Doug McDermott – F, Senior (Creighton)
After downright dominating the MVC for three years, McDermott made a surprising decision to return to Creighton despite being projected as a first-round pick by many. He’d already broken nearly every school record, including points and three-point percentage in a season – so why did he come back? “Just being a college kid another year, playing with my best friends and joining the Big East,” said McDermott. As the second-leading scorer in all of Division I basketball last season at 23.2 PPG, he shouldn’t have any issues with transitioning to this new conference – especially if he’s even close to the 49% three-point clip he posted last year. If he was moving to the old Big East, it’s a more complicated story – but as of now, this is McDermott’s award to lose.
Preseason All-Big East First Team
G Bryce Cotton – Providence
- 19.7 PPG, 3.6 APG; 1st team Big East last season – expect the same or better out of the team’s lead scorer
G Markel Starks – Georgetown
- 12.8 PPG, 42% from three, 3rd team Big East last season – expect role/stats to increase without Otto Porter, Jr.
G D’Angelo Harrison – St. John’s
- 17.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG last season – no matter are Harrison’s subpar shooting percentages; another 17.8 PPG should easily get him on first team, especially in weaker conference
G/F Fuquan Edwin – Seton Hall
- 16.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 41% from three, BE Honorable Mention last season – should again put up stellar numbers with combination of talent and team’s reliance on him
F Doug McDermott – Creighton
- Do I really need to explain again?
Note: Yes, I know, this is a Marquette blog that’s leaving off both Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson. I truly believe MU is too deep a team for any one player to put up 16+ PPG, or even 15. And that’s not a bad thing at all – having multiple late, go-to options is both a rare and valuable asset. If I were to release a second team, both Wilson and Gardner would be present.
Big East Rookie of the Year
G JaJuan Johnson – Marquette
- Here we are. Rysheed Jordan of St. John’s gets snubbed for currently having too many talented guards ahead of him, where Johnson’s situation is the exact opposite. The scoring guard should get plenty of minutes with Vander Blue and Trent Lockett gone, plus inexperienced guard play ahead of him. According to players and coaches, Johnson played phenomenally in Marquette’s boot camp, leading many to believe he’ll have a big impact from day one.
Big East Coach of the Year
Ed Cooley, Providence
- Providence has talent in Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts, and I believe Cooley will succeed in meshing it together for a solid year. Remember, this team went a respectable 9-9 in last years’ Big East, including 5-3 against the “Catholic 7” teams in the new conference. They always seemed to be “in” every game they played, even against top-25 opponents, and a weaker conference should definitely help them out with pulling out with a few extra W’s.
Big East Conference Predictions, 1-6. (7-10 not considered because, well, does it really matter?)
1. Marquette – Even with loss of Vander Blue, it’s hard to imagine Buzz Williams not guiding the gritty Golden Eagles to a conference championship in this weaker conference.
2. Creighton – Loss of Gregory Echenique/lack of athleticism puts them a notch behind MU, but still 2nd b/c of McDermott and 3-point shooting.
3. Georgetown – Loss of Porter Jr. (draft) and Greg Whittington (injury) leaves them with questions on depth/spreading scoring outside of Markel Starks.
4. St. John’s – Could move up to at least 2nd if they mesh talent together. Performed well in old Big East – could suprise many this year.
5. Providence – As with St. John’s, potential is there with Cotton and Batts leading a talented roster – next step is putting it together to form a consistent, winning team.
6. Villanova – JayVaughn Pinkston should keep Villanova competitive as long as he’s on the floor.
If you’d like to see the official coaches poll results, click here. For MU fans: Gardner was first-team, Wilson second-team, and MU picked to finish first. #mubb
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