Having looked at the “Preseason All-Conference” team earlier, now might be the best time to tip the hat to those players, veterans and newbies, who have helped their teams get off to good starts this season. We won’t go much deeper than a First Team and a Newcomers Team (composed of freshmen and transfers)…and of course the Honorable Mentions.
All-Conference First Team
g – Kellen Dunham, Butler — The seven Big East schools are about to get their first look at Butler’s all-purpose guard, and they may not like what they see. Deadly from the off guard spot, Dunham can pick up the point when Alex Barlow is not on the court. The sophomore has scored 217 points (18 per game) to lead Coach Brandon Miller’s squad and earn the #3 rank in conference.
g – D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s — A preseason favorite who has scored at the clip most expected. The Red Storm’s challenge will be to find another option at the end of tight games. Saturday against Columbia, Harrison with the ball in hand, but double-teamed, found Sir’Dominic Pointer for that basket. It can only make Harrison more dangerous in those situations. The off guard has scored 234 points (19.5 per game) to lead the Johnnies to a 9-3 record going into conference play.
g – Bryce Cotton, Providence — Another player named to the coaches’ preseason team who has lived up to his billing. Cotton is second in the conference for points scored (229) and third in average per game (19.1 — through Friday 12/27).
f – Doug McDermott, Creighton — The preseason favorite for Player of the Year has not disappointed so far. He leads the conference and the Bluejays with 297 points scored (through Sunday 12/29) with an average of 24.8 points per game. He is also 5th in the conference with 88 rebounds. The Bluejays, at 10-2, may not have had the start they wanted, but with McDermott, the Creighton fans can be sure the Bluejays will be in every game.
f – James Bell, Villanova — The senior combo forward leads the Wildcats in points scored (194, 16.2 points per game) and rebounds (76, 6.3 rebounds per game), ranked (by average) #8 and #12 respectively in the conference. Bell’s crucial trio of threes turned the Iowa game and he scored a team-high 25 in Villanova’s 78-62 drubbing at the hands of Syracuse Saturday.
Honorable Mentions — The individual performancers have logged solid out of conference records.
Khyle Marshall, Butler — The Bulldog’s junior forward, along with Dunham, forms the Bulldogs’ dynamic offensive duo. He is second for Butler in scoring and rebounding (204 points, 80 rebounds) going into conference play.
Ethan Wagge, Creighton — The conference’s most prolific three point shooter has taken 96 field goal attempts, 91 of them from beyond the arc. The 6- 7 senior forward has connected times for a conversion rate — 50.5% — better than his two point conversion rate (1-5) of 20%. This should make one of Ken Pomeroy paradox lists.
Josh Smith, Georgetown — The UCLA transfer has become a dominant inside scorer for the Hoyas. Given that scoring is about 1/3 of the game however, he is a work in progress. Could finish the season on the second or third All-Conference team.
Markel Starks, Georgetown — The Hoyas’ lead guard is the lead distributor. He has been pressed into a scoring responsibility that does not play to his strength, but he takes care of the ball and, if another shooter steps up/develops over the course of the season, he will be able to get him the ball.
Davante Gardner, Marquette — Marquette’s all-sixth man has done everything but will the Golden Eagles to a better out of conference record.
LaDontae Henton, Providence — The Friars’ fourth scoring option and lead rebounder is often overlooked in Cooley’s offense, but might be the most efficient scorer on the Friar squad. His efficiency suggests a larger role in the offense may help the team’s overall offensive efficiency.
JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova — The Wildcats’ second leading scorer faced double teams at Syracuse Saturday, but has scored 184 points and grabbed 60 rebounds for Coach Jay Wright’s team.
Semaj Christon, Xavier — The Musketeers’ guard, despite disappearing in the Battle 4 Atlantis Invitational Tournament, ranks #12 in the conference for scoring average (191 points, 14.7 points per game), #8 for assists (51 assists, 3.9 per game) and #11 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7).
g – Sterling Gibbs, Seton Hall — The sophomore point guard transferred in from Texas and has cut down on the Pirates’ turnover rate from the first game and complements Fuquan Edwin’s scoring. Gibbs is ranked #9 in the conference for scoring (191 points, 15.9 points per game) and #3 in the conference for assists (47 assists, 4.3 per game). He strained his knee in the Eastern Washington game, December 22, and returned for 18 minutes in the Pirates’ 90-58 win over Lafayette on December 27.
g – Josh Hart, Villanova — The freshman flew in under the radar at Media Day, but rattled Kansas with timely three pointers in Villanova’s 63-59 win. He is the Wildcats’ fourth leading scorer and rebounder (114 points, 57 rebounds). Better news, Coach Jay Wright loves his defense, unusual for a Villanova freshman.
f – Tyler Harris, Providence — The North Carolina State transfer starts at the #3 for Coach Ed Cooley and is the second leading scorer with 184 points and the third leading rebounder with 67 caroms.
f/c – Tommy Hamilton, DePaul — The 6-10 Chicagoland native has taken over the Blue Demons’ low post, freeing forward Cleveland Melvin to hunt for his shot. The move has worked as Melvin’s scoring is up this season and between them, DePaul is dominating the boards unlike prior seasons. In Friday night’s game, the center grabbed six rebounds, scored two points and dished two dimes as DePaul squeaked out a win, 57-56 over Northwestern.
c – Matt Stainbrook, Xavier — The Western Michigan transfer anchors the low post for Coach Chris Mack. He leads the Musketeers and is ranked #3 in the conference for rebounding (110 rebounds, 8.5 per game).
Honorable Mentions — These players have had very productive out of conference seasons, and may well work their way onto the a post season “All-Team”.
Devin Brooks, Creighton — A JUCO from Harlem, NY by way of Western Iowa CC, the 6-2 guard is the third scorer on the Bluejay roster. He fits right in with wings Ethan Wragge and Austin Chatman as a solid rebounder, currently fourth on the team with 47 boards (through Saturday 12/28).
Billy Garrett, DePaul — The freshman scoring machine is a heavy favorite for the All-Freshman team. He has averaged 10.3 points per game through 13 games, third on the Blue Demons and #26 in the conference. If St. John’s Rysheed Jordan does not continue to make progress through conference play, Garrett will be in a dog fight with teammate Tommy Hamilton and others like Villanova’s Josh Hart for Freshman of the Year honors.
Sandi Marcius, DePaul — The fifth year senior has added much needed length and experience to the Blue Demons’ backline. Coach Oliver Purnell might have the longest front court in the conference.
Deonte Burton, Marquette — The one piece of good news for Coach Buzz Williams this season. The freshman, a thick guard/forward has been a spark plug on offense.
Jaren Sina, Seton Hall — The freshman has worked himself into the starting lineup and serves as a solid complement to Gibbs and Edwin. He is a third option from the outside, scoring at a better clip than back court mates Edwin and Gibbs.
Rysheed Jordan, St. John’s — The preseason favorite for Freshman of the Year has performed well the past two weeks.
Brandon Randolph, Xavier — Coach Chris Mack has moved the freshman in and out of the starting lineup, and while the 6′ 1″ has struggled with his shot he is one of the squad’s better distributors.
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