Providence's Kris Dunn selected Big East player of the year
NEW YORK (AP) Jay Wright and Kris Dunn made some Big East history Wednesday and both were humbled by it.
Wright, who led Villanova to a first-place finish in the Big East, was named co-coach of the year along with Seton Hall's Kevin Willard. It is the fifth time - and third in a row - that Wright was honored by his fellow coaches.
This award breaks a tie with Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and former Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun for the most in conference history.
''I really didn't know that until I heard them say it just now,'' Wright said. ''Those guys are the Big East. Those guys were the ones I looked up to in this league. The Big East means so much to me and so much to Villanova. This is just wild.''
The Wildcats are the first Big East team to win 16 league games three consecutive seasons.
Dunn is the Big East player of the year for the second straight season, making him the sixth player to be so honored. Dunn was also named defensive player of the year for a second straight seasons, the first guard in conference history to win both awards twice.
''My name is now with (Chris) Mullin, (Patrick) Ewing, those are the guys you think of when you hear Big East. They set the bar so high and for me to be listed with them is an honor I never dreamed of.''
Dunn, a 6-foot-3 redshirt junior, is fourth in the conference in scoring with a 16.3 average. He averages 5.7 rebounds per game and leads the league with 2.7 steals per game.
''I have to thank Coach (Ed) Cooley for letting me be the player I wanted to be on the court and the person I am off it,'' Dunn said.
Willard led the Pirates, picked seventh in the preseason coaches' poll, to a 12-6 conference mark and third place in the 10-team league.
''This is special to share the award with Jay because of the excellence and continuity of his program,'' Willard said. ''This group of players I have really believe in what we're trying to do and that's why we were able to go 12-6.''
Another Big East coach, Chris Mack of Xavier, was also honored Wednesday. He was named national coach of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Marquette's Henry Ellenson, who is third in the conference in scoring with a 16.8 average and leads in rebounding at 9.8 per game, was the freshman of the year.
Kellen Dunham of Butler was named student-athlete of the year.