Sunday, January 4, 2009

All Big East Teams -- OOC Strong Showings

The Big East preseason All-Big East Team had, as I noted, a few underachievers coming out of the OOC. No doubt they have more than enough time to turn their season around, but there is a long queue of All-Big East players-in-waiting. With three All Big East teams, 11 members each, to fill, one would think the conference would be close to scraping the bottom of the barrel somewhere around the third team. But in the Big East I suspect the arguments will go long and hard over who is and who is not, included.

Pushing for the First Team?...
Should any of the eleven on the preseason first team falter (and there are several early possibilities), one of the five below would most likely step up.

Dar TuckerDPUG/FSo78.133.747.11.0442.230.5
DeJuan BlairPittFSo59.832.963.31.2539.422.0
Jeremy HazellSHUGSo84.931.854.41.1838.930.6
Mac KoshwalDPUF/CSo69.629.359.81.2055.732.0

Data has been sorted by Shot% (percentage of shots taken by the player when he is on the court), as an indication of the role each plays with respect to his team's offense. Note that all of the players (with the exception of Blair) are getting 70% or more of the playing time, so the pattern of the offense is set with respect to each player's role. how heavily the team relies on the individual's contribution. Four were on the All Rookie Team last season, it is good to see they continue to develop.

A Few Words...
Dante Cunningham...has improved with each season. On a team noted for guards and an offensive scheme that looks for offense to originate out of the back court, Cunningham has worked himself into the offensive scheme, often as the 1st or 2nd scoring option. He most likely will miss out on First Team honors, because Scottie Reynolds made the preseason First Team (& will provide enough offense and leadership for the Wildcats to make the post season First Team) and the voters might be reluctant to place two from the same squad on the First Team, unless of course that team dominates the conference play. See Notre Dame (Harangody & McAlarney) last season.
Dar Tucker & Mac Koshwal...see Cunningham/Reynolds. The stronger of the two candidates is probably Tucker. A poor finish by DePaul may actually help Tucker as the voters seem to prefer a Noah's Ark-type (one of each...) team, and will most likely be on the lookout for outstanding players among the bottom finishing teams. Tucker has a number of very strong games on his resume coming out of December (as noted in a previous post). So second team seems pretty much assured (pending continued progress), and a move up the to the First Team is not out of the question. Koshwal has also put together a number of impressive outings, a recent outing, versus Notre Dame's Luke Harangody in DePaul's first conference game (a 92-82 loss) included 26 points and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes of play, serves as a good example.
Jeremy Hazell...has put together a number of very good games. The Hall's last OOC game (versus Fairleigh Dickenson University) saw Hazell post 35 points (6 rebounds, 2 steals) in 38 minutes of play. Think the competition was too easy? In his first two Big East games (versus Syracuse and West Virginia) Hazell posted 23 and 29 points respectively. Like Tucker, Seton Hall's finish may work to Hazell's advantage.
DeJuan Blair...continues to be a strong contributor to the Panther's offense and defense. Blair is productive on a team of very productive players (Sam Young, Levance Fields). His positive disposition combined with his unconventional dimensions, make him a quirky, but easy-to-like choice for conference honors.

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