The three major individual Big East awards were given out Wednesday afternoon.
Of the three award winners, Villanova’s Cam Whitmore took home the Big East Freshman of the Year. Whitmore is Nova’s first winner since Jeremiah Robinson-Earl in 2019-20 and only the fifth winner in school history.
Whitmore edged out UConn’s Alex Karaban for the award. The two were the only unanimous members of the Big East All-Freshman team.
Whitmore missed the first month of the season and was sorely missed by the ‘Cats. Villanova started the season 2-5 and proceeded to win their next five games with Whitmore back in the lineup.
Whitmore entered the starting lineup on New Year’s Eve against Marquette and proceeded to start every game the rest of the season. Whitmore’s extreme athleticism gave the Wildcats a much-needed boost on defense and rebounding.
The Freshman of the Year, who is a near-certain lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, finished the regular season averaging 12.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.
Whitmore’s season-high in points came at home against Xavier when he dropped 26 points. His season-high in rebounds came in only his fifth game of the season where he grabbed 10 over Big East Most Improved Player Joel Soriano and St. John’s.
Big East Player of the Year
Tyler Kolek, Marquette
Tyler Kolek was able to take his game to a new level this season. Kolek has always been an above-average ball-handler, but he was really able to improve on his scoring this season, especially in conference-play.
Kolek averaged 14.4 points per game in conference play this season and 17.9 points per game over his last 13 games. Kolek averaged a career-high 7.9 assists per game while cutting down his turnovers from last season.
Big East Coach of the Year
Shaka Smart, Marquette
This season, Shaka Smart led Marquette to their first Big East Regular season title. The Golden Eagles finished the season ranked No. 6 in the nation with a 25-6 record.
Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Jack Nunge, Xavier
Nunge, a graduate student, has a near-perfect 3.97 GPA while averaging 14.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the Musketeers.