March 7, 2006
NEW YORK - Villanova senior guard Randy Foye has been selected BIG EAST Player of the Year by a vote of the league's head coaches. Foye's coach, Jay Wright, garnered the BIG EAST Coach of the Year Award presented by OppenheimerFunds, Inc. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Marquette's Dominic James has won the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year award. Hilton Armstrong, a senior center from Connecticut, was tabbed BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. Pittsburgh junior center Aaron Gray was named BIG EAST Most Improved Player. Notre Dame senior guard Chris Quinn won the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award.
Foye was the top scorer on a Villanova squad that won a share of the BIG EAST regular season championship. A 6-4 senior from Newark, N.J., Foye was second in the BIG EAST in scoring, averaging 21.0 points. Foye averaged 5.4 rebounds. The only other Villanova player to earn Player of the Year honors was Kerry Kittles in 1994-95.
Wright, in his fifth season at Villanova, has led the Wildcats to a 24-3 regular season record going into this week's BIG EAST Championship Presented by Aeropostale. The Wildcats have not been ranked lower than eighth this season in the Associated Press or ESPN/USA Today polls. This season's accomplishments have been achieved without the services of forward Curtis Sumpter, a 2004-05 BIG EAST All-Second Team performer. Wright's record at Villanova is 100-57.
James, Marquette's freshman point guard, has guided the Golden Eagles to a 20-9 record, including a 10-6 BIG EAST mark. A native of Richmond, Ind., James was the league's top freshman scorer all season. He is averaging 16.4 points per game, which is ninth in the league. His assist average of 5.0 ranks fifth.
Armstrong is this year's leader of the Connecticut block party. A 6-11 senior from Peekskill, N.Y., he is averaging 4.3 blocks this season in league games and 3.5 in all contests. Both figures are tops in the BIG EAST. The Huskies lead the nation in blocked shots for a fifth season in a row, averaging 9.5 blocks per game this year. A UConn player has won the defensive award for the past four seasons. Armstrong's teammate, Josh Boone, was last year's Defensive Player of the Year.
Gray developed from a Panther reserve who saw less than 12 minutes of action per game last season to being the only player in the BIG EAST who is averaging a double-double. A 7-0 junior from Emmaus, Pa., Gray is averaging 14.0 points and a league-leading 10.4 rebounds. Last season, his averages were 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds.
Quinn has made his senior season his best campaign at Notre Dame. A two-year team captain who has carried himself with class, he is averaging 18.2 points while shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range. His assist average of 6.2 leads the BIG EAST. Quinn hails from Dublin, Ohio.
2005-06 BIG EAST Awards
Player of the Year
Randy Foye, Villanova
Coach of the Year
Jay Wright, Villanova
Rookie of the Year
Dominic James, Marquette
Defensive Player of the Year
Hilton Armstrong, Connecticut
Most Improved Player
Aaron Gray, Pittsburgh
Chris Quinn, Notre Dame