April 4, 2014
NEW YORK – Postseason honors have rolled in all week in BIG EAST men’s basketball.
The list of postseason awards has to begin with Doug McDermott. On Friday, the Creighton forward was named the winner of the John R. Wooden Award as the nation’s best player. It’s a capstone to a tremendous career that saw McDermott finish fifth in NCAA history in scoring while helping lead the Bluejays to an appearance in the BIG EAST championship game and the NCAA Round of 32.
McDermott earned a plethora of honors this week. Other awards include the Oscar Robertson Trophy, presented to the national player of the year by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), along with Player of the Year honors from CBSSports.com, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the Associated Press. He also became a three-time member of the Wooden All-America squad and the AP All-America first team while adding the title of Senior CLASS Award winner. On Friday he added a second Lute Olson Player of the Year honor to his career, and on Sunday was named the Naismith Award winner.
Other BIG EAST players have been on display during Final Four festivities in North Texas. Georgetown’s Markel Starks is one of 21 seniors selected by the NABC to compete at the Reese’s Division I College All-Star game on Friday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Creighton senior Ethan Wragge competed in the 3-point shooting contest on Thursday. Despite a first-round score of 17, Wragge just barely missed advancing to the semifinal round. He finished fifth, with the top four moving forward. Wragge sank a BIG EAST-leading 110 treys in 2013-14.
Wragge and Xavier’s Matt Stainbrook were two selections from the BIG EAST to the Division I-AAA Athletic Directors Association Scholar-Athlete team. Wragge is a finance, marketing and entrepreneurship triple major with a 3.22 grade-point average, while Stainbrook, a junior, has a 3.34 GPA in finance.
Providence senior guard Bryce Cotton, who finished second in the BIG EAST in scoring behind McDermott, became the Friars’ first AP All-America selection in three years when he earned honorable mention status. Meanwhile, PC coach Ed Cooley is one of three finalists from the BIG EAST for the Jim Phelan Coach of the Year Award. The winner will be announced Friday at the CollegeInsider.com banquet. Creighton’s Greg McDermott and Villanova’s Jay Wright are also finalists.
Wright already has one award to his credit for the season, as he was named Philadelphia Big Five Coach of the Year last week, while Villanova senior James Bell garnered the Big Five Player of the Year honor. Both will be presented with their awards at a banquet at Philadelphia’s famed Palestra on April 14.
St. John’s Rysheed Jordan, a BIG EAST All-Rookie pick by the head coaches, is one of 26 finalists for the CollegeInsider.com Kyle Macy National Freshman of the Year Award. Fellow Red Storm player Chris Obekpa is a finalist for the Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year honor, also awarded by CollegeInsider.com. Both those awards will be doled out on Friday.