March 6, 2007
NEW YORK - Georgetown forward Jeff Green has been named BIG EAST Player of the Year by a vote of the league's head coaches. Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has been tabbed OppenheimerFunds/BIG EAST Coach of the Year. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Villanova freshman guard Scottie Reynolds has garnered BIG EAST Rookie of the Year honors. Sophomore guard Jerel McNeal of Marquette was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. Herbert Hill, a senior center from Providence, has been named BIG EAST Most Improved Player. Brandon Jenkins, a senior guard from Louisville, has won the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award.
Green, a 6-9 native of Hyattsville, Md., led Georgetown to the BIG EAST regular season crown and the top seed in this week's BIG EAST Championship Presented by Aeropostale. The junior is one of the league's most versatile players. He leads the Hoyas with a 13.6 scoring average, is first in assists at 3.5 and second in rebounding at 5.9. The last Georgetown player to win BIG EAST Player of the Year accolades was Alonzo Mourning in 1992.
Brey has guided Notre Dame to a 23-6 overall record and a 11-5 BIG EAST mark after his team was picked to be in the bottom half of the league by most college basketball pundits. The Irish were placed 11th in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll. They finished in fourth place and earned a first-round bye in The BIG EAST Championship Presented By Aeropostale.
Reynolds, a 6-2 freshman from Herndon, Va., averaged 14.1 points and 4.1 assists for Villanova, but was even more productive in conference play. In BIG EAST games, Reynolds was second in the league in scoring with an 18.4 average and a 4.1 assist mark. His 40-point effort in a win at Connecticut on Feb. 28 was the highest point total by any player in a BIG EAST game this season. The only other Villanova player to be named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year was Tim Thomas in 1997.
McNeal, a 6-3 guard from Chicago, Ill., has been one of the BIG EAST's top thieves, while helping Marquette to a 23-8 record and a 10-6 conference mark. The sophomore, who regularly draws the tough defensive assignment, is second in the league in steals with a 2.6 average. Already with 140 career steals, McNeal is on pace to become the school's all-time leader in that category.
Hill became only the third Providence player to win the BIG EAST scoring crown. He averaged 19.9 points in league games this season after averaging only 10.4 points in BIG EAST play a year ago. In all games this year, the 6-10 center averaged 18.0 points and 8.6 rebounds. Last year, his rebound average was 4.8. A native of Kinston, N.C., Hill was second in the league in field goal shooting, hitting at a 64.0 clip. The other Friars to win the BIG EAST scoring title were Ryan Gomes (2004-05) and Eric Murdock (1990-91).
Jenkins, a native of Detroit, Mich., has been a guiding force behind Louisville's success this season. The 6-3 guard is UofL's lone scholarship senior. He suffered a broken leg last August, but returned before the season opener. Jenkins is averaging 5.1 points per game.
2006-07 BIG EAST AWARDS
Player of the Year
Jeff Green, Georgetown
Coach of the Year
Mike Brey, Notre Dame
Rookie of the Year
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
Defensive Player of the Year
Jerel McNeal, Marquette
Most Improved Player
Herbert Hill, Providence
Brandon Jenkins, Louisville