NEW YORK – Three BIG EAST standouts were unanimous selections to the 2017-18 All-BIG EAST First Team, announced today by the league. The conference announced the All-BIG EAST First and Second Teams, Honorable Mention and the All-Freshman Team. The league’s head coaches choose the all-conference teams and are not permitted to vote for their own players.
The three unanimous picks are: Trevon Bluiett of Xavier, Jalen Brunson of Villanova and Kelan Martin of Butler. The three other All-BIG EAST First Team picks are Marcus Foster of Creighton, Shamorie Ponds of St. John’s and Mikal Bridges of Villanova. Bluiett became only the 13th player in BIG EAST history to earn first-team honors three times. Brunson is a two-time first-team selection. Martin has been an all-conference second team pick the past two years.
The BIG EAST Player of the Year will come from the All-BIG EAST First Team. The conference will announce Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Freshman of the Year and the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, March 7. The announcement will be made on the first day of the BIG EAST Tournament Presented by Jeep at Madison Square Garden at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Other league individual awards -- BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man Award and Sportsmanship Award -- will be announced Monday, March 5.
Bluiett was the prime contributor for the Musketeers who won their first BIG EAST regular-season title with a 15-3 record and a 27-4 overall mark. The 6-6 senior ranked sixth in the league in scoring with a 19.4 average and was third in the conference with 96 3-pointers made. Bluiett’s hit 43.4 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, which ranked fourth.
Brunson guided Villanova to a 27-4 record and a 14-4 BIG EAST mark, averaging 19.0 points and 4.8 assists. He ranks fifth in the conference in field goal shooting, making 52.8 percent. The 2017-18 Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year, the 6-3 junior leads the league in assist/turnover ratio with a +2.9 mark.
Martin is the BIG EAST scoring champion, averaging 23.6 points in league games. The 67 senior scored at least 20 points in 12 of his 18 league games and ended the regular season with a 35-point effort in a game at Seton Hall. In all games, Martin is second in scoring with a 21.2 average.
Creighton’s Foster earned first team honors for a second straight season by averaging 20.3 points and shooting 42.6 percent from 3-point range. His scoring average ranks fourth in the BIG EAST and his 3-point shooting mark is fifth. The 6-3 senior helped the Bluejays to a 10-8 record.
St. John’s Ponds garnered All-BIG EAST First Team accolades after being named to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team last season. The only sophomore on the first team, the guard led the BIG EAST in scoring and steals in all games. He averaged 21.6 points and 2.5 steals. In league games, Ponds was second to Butler’s Martin in scoring with a 21.9 mark.
Bridges teamed with Brunson for the Villanova success which included eight weeks as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in the Associated Press poll. The 6-7 junior averaged 17.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and was third in the league in steals with a 1.6 mark.
The All-BIG EAST Second Team has two seniors, two juniors and a freshman. The seniors are Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado and Desi Rodriguez. Delgado won his second straight BIG EAST rebounding crown with an 11.9 average. He is the BIG EAST’s all-time leading rebounder in league play with 828. This season, the 6-10 senior averaged 13.4 points and 11.6 rebounds in all games. The 6-7 Rodriguez emerged as the Seton Hall scoring leader with an 18.1 average and a 5.0 rebounding mark.
Creighton’s Thomas is one of the league’s most versatile players. The 6-3 junior averaged 15.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals. He was the top shooting guard in the league making 54.5 percent from the field. Thomas also owns an outstanding reputation for defense.
The other junior, Georgetown’s Marcus Derrickson, broke through as a strong contributor by averaging 15.7 points and 8.1 rebounds. His rebound mark ranked third in the BIG EAST.
Marquette’s Howard set the BIG EAST single game scoring record with a 52-point effort at Providence on Jan. 3. For the season, the 5-11 sophomore ranked third in scoring with a 20.9 average and led the league in free throw shooting, connecting on 93.9 percent (93-of-99).
Two players received BIG EAST Honorable Mention recognition: seniors Andrew Rowsey of Marquette and Kyron Cartwright of Providence. Rowsey averaged 19.9 points and was first in the BIG EAST with 101 made 3-pointers. Cartwright averaged 11.4 points and a league-leading 5.8 assists.
The BIG EAST Freshman of the Year will come from the All-Freshman Team. Three players were unanimous selections: Jamorko Pickett of Georgetown, Omari Spellman of Villanova and Naji Marshall of Xavier.
Spellman, a 6-9 forward, is the top freshman scorer in the BIG EAST with a 10.9 average. He ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in rebounding with a 7.8 average. The 6-7 Marshall has become a starter in the second half of the season and is averaging 8.4 points and 4.1 rebounds. Pickett, a 6-8 forward, is third on the Hoya squad in scoring with a 9.8 mark and a 3.7 rebounding average. Pickett’s teammate, guard Jahvon Blair, has filled a sixth man role and is averaging 9.3 points.
Creighton’s Ballock also has filled an important role off the bench. The 6-5 guard is averaging 6.9 points and 2.7 rebounds while averaging 20.6 minute per game. Providence’s Watson, a 6-10 center, has seen his playing increase late in the season. He is averaging 6.8 points while making 60.4 percent of his shots from the field.
ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM *Kelan Martin, Butler, F, Sr., 6-7, 220, Louisville, Ky. Marcus Foster, Creighton, G, Sr., 6-3, 210, Wichita Falls, Tex. Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s, G, So., 6-1, 165, Brooklyn, N.Y. Mikal Bridges, Villanova, G/F, Jr., 6-7, 210, Malvern, Pa. *Jalen Brunson, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-2, 190, Lincolnshire, Ill. *Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, G, Sr., 6-6, 205, Indianapolis, Ind.
ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM Khyri Thomas, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-3, 210, Omaha, Neb. Marcus Derrickson, Georgetown, F, Jr., 6-7, 250, Bowie, Md. Markus Howard, Marquette, G, So., 5-11, 175, Chandler, Ariz. Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, C, Sr., 6-10, 245, Bajos De Haina, D.R. Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall, F, Sr., 6-6, 220, Bronx, N.Y.
BIG EAST HONORABLE MENTION Andrew Rowsey, Marquette, G, Sr., 5-11, 180, Lexington, Va. Kyron Cartwright, Providence, G, Sr., 5-11, 185, Compton, Calif.
BIG EAST ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM Mitch Ballock, Creighton, G, 6-5, 205, Eudora, Kan. Jahvon Blair, Georgetown, G, 6-3, 189, Brampton, Ont. *Jamorko Pickett, Georgetown, G, 6-8, 190, Washington, D.C. Nate Watson, Providence, C, 6-10, 260, Arlington, Va. *Omari Spellman, Villanova, F, 6-9, 245, Cleveland, Ohio *Naji Marshall, Xavier, F, 6-7, 218, Atlantic City, N.J.
*Denotes unanimous selection.