This season I will be writing a weekly college basketball column entitled Big East Bias, which will cover everything I deem important in the world of Big East basketball. I sincerely hope that those of you who frequent the b/r college basketball pages enjoy this column, and I welcome any comments you have.
Big East Bias’ Preseason Player of the Year
Luke Harangody, Jr., F, Notre Dame
You can’t argue with this pick, but you have to admit that it’s a little weird. When you look at all the studs that have come up through the high school ranks, who would have ever expected Gody to be in this position? How many three-star prospects end up with a chance to be a two or three-time Player of the Year?
Good for Gody though! His numbers certainly support his awards: 20.4 ppg, 10.6 rpg.
With those stats, he is way too good to be called a poor man’s Tyler Hansbrough...maybe just Tyler Hansbrough in an economic downturn.
Last week at Big East Basketball Media Day, the coaches agreed with the Bias—they also named Harangody Preseason P.O.Y.
Here is a look at the rest of the Coaches’ picks for the “first team.”
Luke Harangody, Jr., F, Notre Dame; Deonta Vaughn, Jr., G, Cincinnati; A.J. Price, Sr., G, Connecticut; Hasheem Thabeet, Jr., C, Connecticut; DaJuan Summers, Jr., F, Georgetown; Terrence Williams, Sr., F, Louisville; Jerel McNeal, Sr., G, Marquette; Kyle McAlarney, Sr., G, Notre Dame; Sam Young, Jr., F, Pittsburgh; Jonny Flynn, Soph., G, Syracuse; Scottie Reynolds, Jr., G, Villanova.
Who got the Snub?
That one is easy—Louisville Junior Earl Clark got snubbed! Clark became a double-double machine last year. He was also the guy who took control of The Ville during their impressive run in last year’s NCAA tournament.
I fully expect Earl Clark to appear on the year-end first team list. I also expect Clark to challenge Harangody and Sam Young for P.O.Y. honors. I’ve said it before, Earl Clark is the most legitimate pro prospect in the Big East Conference. He deserves to be on this team.
Who doesn’t Belong on the First Team?
Obviously this list is built on last year’s performances. With that in mind, one player does not belong on the first team: DaJuan Summers.
Last season Summers averaged 11.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg...not bad. But after Summers’ outstanding freshman year, he took a huge step back. As his sophomore campaign progressed, DaJuan got worse and worse. By the end of last year, he was totally unreliable in tournament play.
Don’t worry though, Hoya fans. Summers will have the opportunity to make first team at the end of the year. Along with Austin Freeman, Summers will get as many looks as he wants on offense.
Speaking of players who haven’t lived up to their freshman year, how about Dominic James missing the first team? I realize that this isn’t a surprise after his performance last year, but when you consider what he accomplished during his marvelous freshman year, it’s an absolute shock!
Following the 2005-2006 season, I would have laughed in your face if you told me that Dominic James would stay in school all four years. And to see him now, not making the first team as a senior! It’s a sad day.
James’ career reminds me a lot of former Notre Dame point guard Chris Thomas. He went from freshman player of the year to NBA flop. Let’s hope Dominic James does not become a “What ever happened to that point guard from Marquette?” story.
Big East Bias’ Preseason Freshman of the Year
Samardo Samuels, F/C, Louisville
Unlike the Big East Coaches, the Bias is not afraid to pick just one freshman P.O.Y. Samuels has the tools and temperament to handle the demands of the Big East. Not having the pressure to be his team’s go-to-guy as a freshman (which is the primary reason Devin Ebanks was not picked here) will help his development.
Did you miss my thoughts on the Big East Preseason Team Rankings? Check it out here.