"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, February 27, 2012

Will No. 7 Marquette produce the Big East Player of the Year? A look at BE leaders

Jack Cooley is on the court at Georgetown as one of four candidates who seems to be in discussion for Big East Player of the Year.

A couple of weeks ago Kevin Jones seemed like the odds on favorite, but Crowder held him to a season-low 12 points while scoring 26 himself Friday night. That helped keep a suspended Darius Johnson-Odom ahead of Jones in scoring in Big East play.

Certainly Jones is still in the running, but he has averaged just 16 points a game the last five games while Cooley has averaged 20.7 points and 12.3 rebounds his last six games, DJO scored over 20 points in four straight games before the half game suspension, and Crowder has average 26.3 points per game his last four games and just claimed his second Big East Player of the Week in a row.

I’ve made it pretty clear that statistically I believe Crowder is the POY, but this column is really more a rundown of what voters might be looking at as they cast their votes in hopes of figuring out if we should get our hopes up.

Jones was the favorite for a reason – dominating K-State and Baylor early in the season and being at the top in the two stats many voters look at first – rebounds and points. DJO holding him off as the top scorer might be a key in voters’ minds as many may immediately fill in the ballot for someone leading in both. Certainly Cooley could get strong consideration if he can nudge past Jones in rebounds per game, where Crowder is 11th:

1.JOHNSON-ODOM, Darius-MUSR16106435030519.1
2.JONES, Kevin-WVUSR16114175730218.9
3.HARRISON, D'Angelo-STJFR1683428729518.4
4.CROWDER, Jae-MUSR16100285328117.6

1.JONES, Kevin-WVUSR166410516910.6
2.COOLEY, Jack-NDJR16759216710.4

While the top 5 NBA prospects in the Big East are not in consideration, Jones and DJO are battling to go in the top of the 2nd round. Add to that the WOW factor of DJO’s explosive game as documented early by ESPN’s Sports Science shows why some like Jason King ESPN listed DJO as his 5th choice for National Player of the Year, and the only other player in the Big East in his top 15 was Kevin Jones. He was also one of three Big East players nominated earlier in the season as a finalist for the National Player of the Year, so he could win the award for voters who want to pick the guy who just looks the most unstoppable on the court.

For the voters who look more at traditional stats than the tempo free stats on Ken Pomeroy's page that show Crowder as the best player in the Big East and 10th best in the country, Crowder is on the leaders list in 8 of 13 categories. The following are the seven players who are on the leaders list in six or more categories, and where they rank in each:

3pt% 13   3 
3ptM 15 10   
Ast   6   
A/TO   2   
Blk4122 10  
DReb635 271
FG%173   13
FT%   8  11
Min   7954
OReb1 9 1381
Reb2115 581
Pts134 2410122
Stl 212 15 

So hopefully Jae or DJO can claim the award in what seems to be a four player race, but I also wanted to list the other Marquette players and what categories they make the leader’s list.

JOHNSON-ODOM, Darius-MU 1st in Scoring
JOHNSON-ODOM, Darius-MU 2nd in3-pt FG made
CADOUGAN, Junior-MU 4th in Assists
CADOUGAN, Junior-MU 4th in Asst/TO
JOHNSON-ODOM, Darius-MU 5th in 3-pt FG%
WILSON, Jamil-MU 7th in Blocked shots
MAYO, Todd-MU 7th in FT%
JOHNSON-ODOM, Darius-MU 14th in FT

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