Recently, I participated with bloggers from all around the Big East in a question and answer session about the season in the Big East at-large as well as the Pirates' season.
As you can see, I correctly picked the Big East Player of the Year, but just missed on the Coach of the Year.
Here are the questions, as well as my answers. Links to the larger discussion are also posted below.
1a: your 6 person all-league team, with the player of the year at the top.
Ben Hansbrough (POY)
South Orange Juice : Not a lot of good forwards this year, hence the guard-heavy lineup. Hansbrough gets my POY vote because he won the H2H matchup with Walker, and because his effective transition to point guard has been the reason behind ND's success.
Follow the jump for the rest of the roundtable.
Who is your pick for newcomer of the year AND rookie of the year (they can be the same person).
South Orange Juice : Newcomer : Chris Smith, Louisville
Going outside the box on this one. Smith was a walk-on transfer from Manhattan who really helped the depth-challenged Cardinals reach unexpected heights in the standings. He averaged 9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and 2.45 apg while making over 40% from three in his first year in the conference. In a season with so many injury issues for Louisville, Smith was rock-solid and consistently in the lineup.
Rookie : Cleveland Melvin- DePaul
No contest. Best player on the team in just his freshman year, and was top-5 in the conference in field goal percentage. A nice piece for Oliver Purnell to build around.
Who is your pick for coach of the year?
South Orange Juice : Rick Pitino- Louisville. He took a roster that was short on bodies and talent and got them to a double-bye in the Big East Tournament when they were picked 8th. He didn't have the seniors that St. John's did, or the great all-around player that Notre Dame did, yet he finished 3rd in the toughest conference in college basketball. Winner.
Surprise team? Disappointing team?
South Orange Juice : Disappointing team: Villanova by a landslide. Picked to finish 2nd, Corey Fisher never quite made that transition to greatness, and when his team needed him to make shots, he went cold.
Surprising team: Louisville. See above reason.
Surprise/Disappointing Player (from own team)?
South Orange Juice - Surprise player : Fuquan Edwin. Rated highly coming out of high school, we knew Edwin would be good, but had no idea he would start 25 or 30 games and contribute like he did. He averaged 8 pts and was second on the team in steals while showing off some great athleticism and self-control (something not too common for a Gonzalez recruit). He was also vital when Jeremy Hazell went down when it came to scoring, and he stepped up his game during that time. His defense was very solid and it will only get better.
Disappointing player : Jamel Jackson. We thought Jackson's problem was that he wasn't given any confidence by Bobby Gonzalez last year, often yanked after one missed three. We soon discovered that he was not a good shooter. He was given time this season at the start, but he still couldn't knock anything down and was too much of a defensive liability to keep Willard happy. Then he got himself thrown off the team. Utter disappointment.
That's it for now. There was also a question about how far your team would go in the Big East Tournament (got that one wrong), how many Big East teams would make it to the Sweet 16 and onwards, and what is next for the program (since Seton Hall will not make the NCAAs this year).
Here are the links to the full posts on Rumble in the Garden-