All-Big East Decade Team: A Look Back at the Conference's Best in Basketball
It just hit me that we are dawning on a new decade in college basketball. It's hard to believe the decade is over, honestly. There have been a ton of talented players who graced the Big East conference from 2001-210. So, before this new era kicks off, I say it's time to take a look back at the past seasons in Big East basketball.
All-Big East First Team
This dominant low-post force probably deserves the player of the decade award. Not only did he win Big East Player of the Year and receive consensus All-American honors, but he also helped Connecticut win the national championship.
D-Beast was exactly what his nickname says, a true beast. While he didn't have the size, he had more power than anyone I can remember. He led the Panthers to a No. 1 seed, along with making it to the Elite Eight. Also, a Big East POY (well Co-POY) and a consensus All-American. It would have been fun to see Okafor and Blair battle in the post.
It was a tough decision between him and Foye for who deserved first team honors. I went with Scottie, even though Foye won the POY. But nobody scored more points in the decade than Scottie Reynolds. He also led Nova to a Final Four appearance, and is truly one of the all-time greats. Also, a consensus All-American.
This was another tough choice. But I went with Warrick over Carmelo. Warrick played all four years at Syracuse. He had a great career with the Orange, including winning Big East POY, being named consensus All-American, and helping the 'Cuse win the Big East in 2005 without Carmelo. Let's not forget his iconic block that helped secure the national championship.
The only two-time Big East POY of the decade. Only one of five players to win multiple Big East POY awards. I almost forgot about Troy because Boston College is now part of the ACC, but he was clearly one of the best guards of the decade. He is the all-time scoring leader in BC history and for obvious reasons was an All-American.
All-Big East Second Team
While I went with Scottie over him for the first team, he was great in his own right. He was the leader of a great Nova team, playing all positions but Center. Nova lost in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 to the eventual national champions in Foye's junior and senior year respectively. If Sumpter was healthy for those games, who knows how this would be different. Foye won Big East POY and was a consensus All-American.
You could see right away that he was going to be a pro superstar. He only stayed one year in the Big East or else he would have made the first team. Led his team to the national championship, and probably should have won Big East POY, but Troy Bell won his second instead.
He was the Robin to Okafor's Batman, but even more essential. Whenever UCONN needed points, they gave it to Gordon. One of the best scorers of the decade for sure. While he doesn't have a player of the year award or All-American honors, he has a national championship ring that is much more satisfying.
He could do it all and play any position the Hoyas needed. He won the Big East POY and led Georgetown to the Final Four. Who could forget the game-winning shot against Vanderbilt to send the Hoyas to the Elite Eight? Some people might want Hibbert here instead of Green, but after looking back on it, Green was a more valuable Hoya.
While he might be a bust as pro, he was a defensive force in college. He won Co-POY with Blair, won Big East defensive POY twice, won National defensive POY, and was a consensus All-American. He changed the way opponents ran their offense when he was in the game, and deserves a spot on the second team all-Big East.
All-Big East Third Team
Providence was never really that good this decade, except when Ryan Gomes was there. Not only was he a consensus All-American one year, but he led the Friars in scoring and rebounding three of his four years playing there. He also helped Providence make the NCAA tournament, and they haven't been back since.
He is one of the all-time Notre Dame scoring leaders. He won Big East POY as a sophomore and was also an All-American. Why is he only on the third team? Notre Dame and Harangody came up real small every year he was there, and they only once got passed the first round of the NCAA tournament only to lose in the second round.
Caron won the Big East POY award along with helping UConn reach the Elite Eight. He was the link that kept the program strong between the Rip Hamilton National Championship years and the Okafor/Gordon National Championship years.
While he might not have the accolades of others on these teams, who was a better, more clutch role player than G-Mac? Not only did he help Carmelo and Warrick bring home the national championship, but when they were both gone, he had the single greatest Big East tournament performance of all time.
He was a rock inside for the Hoyas. He is having a better pro career than I thought as well. He was a very good college player and helped Georgetown reach a Final Four. The big man Hibbert was super slow, but as steady and reliable as anyone.
There have been so many great players to grace the Big East conference this decade, so I am only going to name the ones I remember greatly.
Kyle Lowry, Villanova; Dante Cunningham, Villanova; Allan Ray, Villanova; Mike Gansy, West Virginia; Kevin Pittsnogle, West Virginia; Brandin Knight, Pittsburgh; Carl Krauser, Pittsburgh; Sam Young, Pittsburgh; Wilson Chandler, DePaul; Mike Sweetney, Georgetown; Terrence Williams, Louisville; Rudy Gay, UConn; Jeff Adrien, UConn; Quincy Douby, Rutgers; Johnny Flynn, Syracuse
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