College Basketball's 10 Best in the Big East
Stats to know: 9.1 ppg, 5.6 apg, 1.7 spg His season averages weren't gaudy, but the MVP of last season's Big East tournament excels on the defensive end and his offensive strengths (speed in transition, penetrating to initiate the attack) don't always translate to stat sheets. Look for Siva to avoid a midseason slump like last year's and serve as the steady but aggressive hand guiding another deep postseason run.
Stats to know: 9.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 3.2 bpg Siva's strongest challenge for Big East player of the year might be his own teammate, the 6-foot-10 anchor of last season's most efficient defense. Dieng, who is originally from Senegal, broke out as a sophomore last year, leading the Big East in blocks per game and displaying a developing offensive game that has NBA scouts intrigued.
Stats to know: 9.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 52.5% FG The 6-8 sophomore's scoring average increased every month of his first collegiate season, peaking with 15.6 points per game (at a 65.3 percent shooting clip) in five March games. With Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson, and Henry Sims gone, Porter will be counted on to fill theHoyas' large scoring void this year. He certainly seems up for the task.
Stats to know: 9.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 51.0% FG Coach Rick Pitino compared the 6-6 Behanan to Charles Barkley this offseason for his rebounding prowess as an undersized forward, but also noted how his lack of focus hindered him at times as a freshman. Behanan appeared to put it together when it mattered most (13.2 points, eight rebounds per game on 60 percent shooting in the NCAA tournament), a positive harbinger for Pitino and Louisville.
Stats to know: 14.3 ppg, 37.6% 3P, 4.6 rpg In addition to leading the conference in three-pointers last season with 2.49 makes per game, Kilpatrick rarely makes mistakes: he had the 11th-best turnover rate and fourth-lowest foul rate in the conference last year. His increased output during Yancy Gates's six-game suspension last year (17.5 ppg, 42.6 percent from three) was pivotal in keeping the Bearcats' eventual Sweet 16 season on track after the ugly brawl at Xavier.
Stats to know: 12.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 62.5% FG, 1.6 bpg An elite offensive rebounder (his 16.7 percent rate ranked fifth nationally last year) and highly efficient post scorer, Cooley broke out in a big way last season after two years as a reserve. He will be central to a veteran Irish team trying to match or surpass last season's third-place conference finish.
Stats to know: 13.0 ppg, 5.8 apg, 35.5% 3P The former super sub was all over the place in his first season as a starter last year, scoring 20-plus points in 11 games but five or fewer points eight times. The thinned-out Huskies will becounting on him to carry much of the offense in a transitional season, so he will need to show more of the former form than the latter.
Stats to know: 15.9 ppg, 7.5 apg, 4.1 rpg The Friars' stat-stuffing point guard led the Big East in assist rate last season, assisting on 43 percent of Providence's field goals while he was in the game and also finished fourth nationally inassists per game. He's relied on heavily -- he played more than 90 percent of Providence's minutes last year -- and when you see all he does on often-struggling teams, it's not hard to understand why.
Stats to know: 2.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 7 mpg A shoulder injury kept the highly touted freshman out of action until February and limited him thereafter, but his 13-point debut against West Virginia and nine-point, two-huge-dunk effort (in 14 minutes) against Kentucky in the Final Four showed why much bigger things are expected from the 6-5, 230-pound wing.
Stats to know: 2.7 ppg, 2.1 apg, 10.3 mpg, 38.9% 3P While last year's numbers are low, this spot might end up being a bit low too given Carter-Williams's talent. The 6-5 Massachusetts native had to wait in line behind Dion Waiters, Scoop Jardine, and new starting backcourt-mate Brandon Triche for playing time as a freshman, but he'll have plenty of opportunities to show his offensive abilities in his sophomore season.