Notre Dame's Hansbrough Named BIG EAST Player of the Year


 NEW YORK - Notre Dame guard Ben Hansbrough, who led the Irish to a 25-5 record and a second-place finish in the BIG EAST with a 14-4 mark, was named BIG EAST Player of the Year by a vote of the league's head coaches who were not permitted to vote for their own players.

DePaul forward Cleveland Melvin has been selected BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.  Notre Dame coach Mike Brey was named Oppenheimer Funds Coach of the Year.
A 6-3 senior, Hansbrough was the scoring leader and the emotional leader for the Irish who finished the BIG EAST regular season in second place with a 14-4 record.  He was third in scoring in all games with an 18.5 ppg average.  In BIG EAST play, he averaged 20.7 ppg, which also was third.   Hansbrough also averaged 4.2 assists and shot 81.8 percent from the foul line in all games.  He was third in the league in 3-point shooting, making 45.1 percent.
A native of Poplar Bluff, Mo., Hansbrough is the fourth Notre Dame player to capture BIG EAST Player of the Year honors.  The others were Luke Harangody (2007-08), Troy Murphy (2000-01, 1999-2000) and Pat Garrity (1996-97).  Hansbrough has enjoyed a strong regular-season finish.  He has scored at least 20 points in his last four games.
Melvin is one of the bright lights for DePaul's future.  He was the BIG EAST's top freshman scorer with a 14.3 average and ranked fifth in field goal shooting, making 52.2 percent.  Melvin, who came to the Blue Demons from Baltimore, Md., was even more productive in conference competition, averaging 17.4 ppg which ranked sixth in the league.  Melvin's award is the first for a DePaul player since the Blue Demons joined the BIG EAST in 2005-06.    
Brey was named the BIG EAST's top coach for a third time in the last five seasons.  He also won the award in 2006-07 and 2007-08.  Picked seventh in the Preseason BIG EAST Coaches Poll last fall, the Irish finished second with a 14-4 record.  Notre Dame has a 25-5 overall mark, the most regular-season wins in school history.
This season, the Irish enter The BIG EAST Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters as the No. 2 seed.  They have won 11 of their last 12 games.  Notre Dame is 6-0 in games decided by five points or fewer.  With a 112-72 (.609) record in BIG EAST regular seasons, Brey is sixth on the all-time BIG EAST coaches' victory list. 
BIG EAST Player of the Year
Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame
BIG EAST Rookie of the Year
Cleveland Melvin, DePaul
Oppenheimer Funds BIG EAST Coach of the Year
Mike Brey, Notre Dame