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Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Kemba Walker

Kemba WalkerKemba WalkerThe most valuable player from the Big East tournament was guard Kemba Walker, who helped Connecticut knock off four top 20 teams in five days. Walker, who averaged 26 points throughout the week, put on arguably the most impressive stretch of performances this tournament has ever seen, tantalizing opponents with a team strapped on his back. It truly looked as if the Huskies were playing with an NBA player, as he torched opposing defenses despite being targeted like he was Jason Bourne. His game-winner against Pittsburgh was legendary, seemingly tying Gary McGhee's shoelaces together with his mind before electrifying the Garden crowd with a picturesque step back jumper.

First Team All-Big East

Kemba Walker, G, UConn
He was great in Maui to start the year, he was great in New York City to end it. No player has had a bigger impact toward his team's success than Walker, who became the team's leader and go-to scorer from game one of the season. Walker's 23.5 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals per game doesn't quite tell the whole story, but will no doubt earn him votes for National Player of the Year.

Ben Hansbrough, G, Notre Dame
The Big East player of the year had a memorable senior season, averaging 18.5 on 44% shooting from downtown. With his strong late play down the stretch, he's put himself in the draft day conversation. One of the toughest players in the country, he'll have plenty of eyes watching him over the next week or two, or three.

Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
Brooks came out of nowhere to average 24.8 points and 7 rebounds per game, finishing second in the nation in scoring. It wasn't until he scored 52 points against Notre Dame that his name would make headlines, but if you followed him throughout the season you'd know how spectacular he was on a nightly basis against the most elite competition.

Ashton Gibbs, G, Pittsburgh
Gibbs' steady play all season was a primary reason for Pittsburgh's season-long stay atop the rankings. He averaged 16.7 points per game on an eye-popping 48% from downtown.

Dwight Hardy, G, St. Johns
Also named the conference's most improved player, Hardy's rise from inconspicuous to featured was exciting to watch. His 26 point effort in a win over Duke at the Garden seemed to have started the run, one that followed with a 33 point game in a win over Connecticut, a 28 point game in a win at Marquette and a 34 point game in a win at Villanova. Hardy finished the year averaging 18 points per game.

Second Team All-Big East

Austin Freeman, SG, Georgetown
Despite failing to fulfill the preseason conference player of the year vote, Freeman's season would be tough to scrutinize. Scoring 17.9 points per game, Freeman led the Hoyas to an eight game win streak midway through the season, where they collected wins over against St. Johns, Villanova, Louisville, Syracuse and Marquette.

Preston Knowles, G, Louisville
Knowles played an instrumental role in the Cardinal's run to the championship game at the Garden. This year he stepped up to become the team's go-to scorer, doubling his junior season's scoring average at 14.8 per game.

Darius Johnson Odom, SG, Marquette
DJO had some electric moments this season, where he averaged 15.9 points per game for the up and down Golden Eagles. With Jimmy Butler graduating, Johnson-Odom has the opportunity to have a big senior year.

Rick Jackson, PF, Syracuse
Jackson finished as the conference's defensive player of the year, averaging a double double consisting of 13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. The Orange' most consistent producer, Jackson most likely earned himself some looks as an NBA prospect.

Corey Fisher, G, Villanova
Though second team all conference may seem like an honor, I'd bet Fisher was disappointed to not have finished higher. He had a poor year shooting the ball, but still managed to score 15 points per game based on his impressive scoring instincts. Still, his 4.8 assists per game was his best stat of the season.

Third Team All- Big East

Chris Wright, PG, Georgetown
Wright's injury down the stretch proved just how valuable he is to his team, who struggled moving the ball without their true point guard. Look for Wright to rejoin the Hoyas for his last run during March.

Tim Abromaitis, F, Notre Dame
Abromaitis' season was highlighted by his 30 point, 9 three pointer performane in a blowout win over Villanova on senior night. The Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year, Timmy averaged 15 points, 6 rebounds and shot 42% from three.

Jeremy Hazell, SG, Seton Hall
Even a bullet couldn't stop Hazell, who averaged 19.8 points per game despite being shot (yes, by a gun) earlier in the season. He missed 13 games in the middle of the year, but didn't miss the trip to the Carrier Dome where he scored 28 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in a win over Syracuse, nor did he miss the St. Johns game where he scored 31 in a 14 point rout.

Brad Wanamaker, G, Pittsburgh
Another all-around season for Wanamaker, who has become irreplaceable in Jamie Dixon's offense. He did a little bit of everything, averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.5 steals in 30 minutes per game. His ability to hold multiple responsibilities on the floor could be attractive to NBA teams deep in the draft.

Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse
Joseph had somewhat of a disappointing year for the Orange, who struggled to get decent looks as the team's top offensive option. Still, he averaged 14 points per game and improved his three point shooting, showing occasional glimpses of his potential. Returning to school to straighten out some flaws and improve his stock shouldn't be out of the question.

Corey Stokes, SG, Villanova
Stokes had an up and down senior year, with his ups seeming to overshadow his downs. Despite some rocky and inconsistent play, Stokes finished the season averaging 15 points per game on 43% shooting from behind the arch.

Tournament Thoughts

- The injury to St. Johns forward D.J. Kennedy is devastating, and should not go overlooked when picking your brackets. Coach Steve Lavin has said all year how Kennedy has been the team's most important player, and Lavin is never wrong.

- Trying to figure out if Connecticut's five games in five days will hurt them come tournament time...

- Rick Pitino should have gotten more credit for the job he's done this season. He truly got the best out of what's on his roster.

- To tell you the truth, I don't love Notre Dame entering the tournament. Some team with size that plays a more physical style is just bound to overpower the Irish' finesse game.