Big East Conference Wrap-Up

Player of the Year

Kris Dunn Providence

Kris DunnKris DunnThis blog may as well be renamed Everybody Loves Kris what with all of the praise Kris Dunn has received this season. Many thought that Dunn should have gone to the draft last year and was projected as a potential lottery pick; instead, he chose to stay at least one more year with the Friars. Dunn proved the doubters wrong with another successful campaign and another tournament bid. Dunn may not be shooting as well from the field and from deep, but his complete game on both ends of the floor make him the surefire pick. Providence was not expected to do much this season and while much of their success can be attributed to the rise of Ben Bentil (we'll get to him, don't worry) Kris Dunn is the heart and soul of this team. Dunn is one of those players with whom scouts salivate: his elite size (6'4'', 220), defense (2.5 spg) playmaking ability (6.4 assist) and scoring (16 ppg) make him one of the safer picks in the draft with an extremely high ceiling. Dunn has trouble with turnovers (he averaged 3.5 a game) and can be a little too trigger happy, but both of those are things that can be corrected at the next level. Dunn looks ready to be a leader for a young team and contribute from day one. Dunn had 8 games with at least four steals and got to the free throw line more frequently than last year which was key to his game when struggling from the field. Dunn might not have had the tremendous season he had in 2014-15 but was still his stellar self which upped his draft stock from the lottery to a potential top-five pick.

Runner Up:


Ben Bentil Providence

Bentil could have easily been on the most improved list as Whitehead and Bentil are interchangeable for these two awards. He also could have been POY. Providence was expected to struggle since Kris Dunn was thought to be Providence's lone talent. Not. So. Fast. Bentil had an okay freshman season, averaging 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 21.5 minutes, but he might be the only one who could have predicted his 2015 season. Bentil averaged 21.2 points a game, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 34.1 minutes. Bentil improved every facet of his game with his shooting from both the field (from 43.6% last year to 46.9%) deep (30% to 33%) and even free throw percentage (69.5% to 78.8%) all having an uptake even with the raise in usage. Bentil outplayed Dunn in some aspects as he was prone to go off for a big night. Bentil scored 25 or more points 10 times during the season, including 38 against Butler, 42 against Marquette and 31 in Providence’s big win over Villanova. Bentil even suffered an ankle injury during the season but continued to dominate throughout. Bentil might be the best story in college basketball after Buddy Hield. It’s amazing that people can legitimately make a case for Bentil as Providence’s best player as many thought Dunn made a mistake coming back with the Friars roster situation. Bentil and Dunn will both have to play extremely well if Providence wants to make it far into March and will be one of the most fun teams to watch when their stars are on fire.

Biggest Surprise

Isaiah Whitehead Seton Hall

Whitehead is a player who can make you get out of your seat with a crazy layup (even Kevin Willard) or drive you crazy with his inconsistency. Whitehead is a chucker, but he has improved his game to where he's not the same inefficient guy he was last year thanks to improving from the field (38.2%, up from 34.6%) and his ability to attack and get to the free throw line (5.8 attempts a game, up from 2.9 last year). Whitehead is averaging 18.4 ppg and dishing out 5 assists, up from 12 ppg and 3.5 apg last season. Whitehead answered questions as to whether he could be the point guard and not just a chucker with his passing. Whitehead has improved his defense to the point where the 6'4'' point guard is averaging 1.4 blocks a game. Whitehead shoots 38.2% from deep, showing that you always have to worry about him pulling up, something he does often. Whitehead is as likely to go 5-15 as he is to go 11-21, but Whitehead has already improved so much that he was a legitimate contender for player of the year. He finished the season strong, averaging 26 points in his last five games on the way to a Big East championship. Whitehead is one of the most exciting players in the Big East, a big change from the often infuriating one he was last season. Whitehead is now a legitimate prospect with his defense, his shooting and his ability to get to the rim—all above-average. It will be interesting to see what Year Three will bring in the roller coaster that is Isaiah Whitehead.

Biggest Disappointment

Georgetown and [Player: DVauntes Smith-Rivera]

Before the season started, the player of the year award was thought to be a two-way race between D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Kris Dunn. Fast forward to now, where Dunn is the unanimous player of the year and Rivera (16.2 ppg), who regressed in almost every offensive category, is an afterthought. It might seem unfair to blame Rivera, as he put up similar (albeit lower) stats, but was expected to take Georgetown to new heights. Instead the Hoyas had one of the more disappointing seasons in recent history, finishing 15-18. Smith-Rivera improved his passing but went away in losses to Villanova, Seton Hall and Providence. It may be unfair to blame Smith-Rivera for Georgetown's horrific season, but he's the best player on the most disappointing team in the conference. Smith-Rivera was still very good, but not the superstar that many thought him to be this season. The senior does not project as an NBA talent and is seen largely as a college scorer. Georgetown was seen as a legitimate threat and looked keen on another tournament run with their star in Smith-Rivera, but just looked lost as a program for much of the season.

Draft Sleeper

Edmond Sumner

Sumner is not a huge name and probably should return, but has the potential to become a lottery pick if he can build on his freshman season. Sumner possesses great athleticism and, at 6'6", has the size to be one of the taller point guards in the NBA. Sumner is lanky, averaged a cool 11 points in his freshman campaign (albeit on 40% shooting), showed he can shoot a little from deep (31.6%) and averaged 3.5 assists a game. Sumner has the tools to be a star and expect that to happen next season. It was an exciting season for Sumner who has thankfully recovered from a scary fall against Villanova. This season really showed the upside of his game who can be a star if he can improve from the field, three-point range, and add some weight to his 6'6 frame. If Sumner takes a leap from year one to year two, he might be the name scouts all over the country are talking about.

Team of the Year

Villanova

Fresh off of a heartbreaking loss to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament and whispers of Villanova faltering again in the NCAA tournament, it might be easy to forget just how dominant the Wildcats were in 2015. Jay Wright is almost Greg Poppovich-ian in how he can seemingly win Coach of the Year every year as Villanova finished 29-5 thanks to contributions from just about anyone and everyone. The Wildcats were led by Josh Hart (probably third on my list for
player of the year) who transitioned from a sixth man last year to a star, averaging 15.5 ppg. Hart isn’t huge but gets by with great shooting touch and smart basketball play, a key for all of the Villanova Wildcats. Villanova, similar to Xavier, has so many contributors that it may take away from their key contributors getting recognition. Kris Jenkins (13.3 ppg), Ryan Arcidiacono (11.9 ppg), Jalen Brunson (9.9 ppg) and Daniel Ochefu (9.7 ppg) all put up solid seasons as Villanova coasted to big victories for much of the season. Sharpshooter Kris Jenkins (37.1% from deep) and efficient Daniel Ochefu (61.2% from the field) helped Villanova become one of the most complete teams in the country. The Wildcats are the model for success with their five losses all coming against top teams before a shocking loss to Seton Hall. Not much else can be said about the Wildcats whose domination might seem boring as even a 29-5 season means nothing without a strong postseason. Villanova's consistent dominance make them the team of the season as it's postseason play that continues to haunt Jay Wright's men.

Coach of the Year

Kevin Willard

Willard was coaching for his job after his first five seasons all ended without a tournament bid, but what a difference a year makes. Even the biggest optimist would not have predicted the spectacular season the Seton Hall Pirates had in 2015 with a 25-8 record, a Big East tournament championship (their first in 23 years) and their first tournament bid since 2006. The Pirates had a tumultuous 2014, finishing with a 16-15 record. The Pirates started last season strong going 13-3 before imploding, losing 9 of their last 10. Locker room issues made 2015 a make or break season for coach Willard. The Pirates once again started strong, going 13-4 to start year and were on the bubble, but finished the season 12-2 with the only two losses coming against Butler. The Pirates were a presumed lock for the tournament after a stretch that saw them beat Georgetown, St. John’s, Providence and Xavier, all in succession. The magical Big East tournament run was just icing on the cake, proving again that Seton Hall was no fluke after beating Xavier and Villanova. Willard did a great job of letting this young team work as Seton Hall’s four leading scorers—Isaiah Whitehead, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado—are all sophomores. In fact the only upperclassman who gets meaningful minutes is UMass transfer Derrick Gordon. Gordon is one of the best stories in college basketball after coming out as gay and finding a home with the Pirates. Kevin Willard deserves a ton of credit for taking this youthful team and an upperclassman transfer and turning them into Big East champions.


First Team All-Big East

F- Josh Hart
F- Trevon Bluiett
F- Ben Bentil
G- Isaiah Whitehead
G- Kris Dunn

All Second All-Big East

F- [Player: Daniel Ochefu
F- [Player: Henry Ellenson
F- [Player: Kelan Martin
G- [Player: Maurice Watson
G- [Player: Khadeen Carrington

All Third All-Big East

F Angel Delgado
F- Roosevelt Jones
G- Kellen Dunham
G- Kris Jenkins
G- DVauntes Smith Rivera

Big East All-Freshman

C- Jessie Govan
F- Henry Ellenson
F- Kassoum Yakwe
G- Edmond Sumner
G- Jalen Brunson

lawnforce75
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Nice

Kriss Dunn is the MVP for the night games. I really love how he plays the ball. Strong game!

Hope he can be more precise in another games!

Keep up the good work man!

Lawrence - LHP Law Firm Jakarta.

Wesley Virgin
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Great job.

Wonderful. I love Kriss Dunn much.At the same time, i hope playing basketball can shed some extra fat which is a big problem troubled me.

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