The Danbury News-Times begins the litany of post-season accolades for the Big East and Marquette is well represented.
Coach of the Year: Tom Crean
Of all the post-season awards, this was the toughest to handicap down the stretch.....it’s Crean, the former Pittsburgh and Michigan State assistant, who deserves this award. With six freshmen and just one returning player who started more than 10 games last year, Crean dealt UConn its worst loss of the season, 94-79, in the Big East opener Jan. 3. Crean also took a team that was picked 12th in the Big East’s preseason poll and positioned it nicely for an NCAA tournament berth at 19-9, 9-6 entering this weekend.
Rookie of the Year: Dominic James
Unlike the race for coach of the year, Marquette point guard Dominic James lapped the field for this award. James, a 5-foot-10 freshman from Indiana, is averaging 15.6 points and 5.3 assists this year. Both figures lead all Big East freshmen. What’s more, James ranks among the top 15 scorers in the Big East and ranks third in assists behind Notre Dame’s Chris Quinn (6.0 apg) and McNamara (5.6 apg). With five Big East Rookie of the Week awards, James has proven he can play at a high level consistently.Dominic James is the easy choice as the Big East Rookie of the Year. Tom Noie of the South Bend Tribune also agrees.....and he places Steve Novak on the all-conference team as well. Jerel McNeal was selected as second team all-rookie by Noie-- which is pure insanity when you compare Jerel's numbers to those of Devan Downey and Sharaud Curry -- and realize which player helped his team dramatically overachieve this season.