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Recap of Big East award winners

Coach of the Year: John Thompson III, Georgetown

The most disputed award of the year, Thompson III won his first Coach of the Year honor. The Hoyas were picked to finish fifth in the Big East before the season started, yet wound up going 14-4 in conference play, sharing the regular season title with Louisville and Marquette.

Thompson III’s father, John Thompson II, won the first Big East Coach of the Year in 1980. He believes this award is more reflective of his team’s achievements than his own coaching accomplishments.

While the preseason rankings didn’t make the Hoyas a favorite going into Big East play, Thompson said that was always his team’s goal.

“I did think we had a chance,” Thompson III said. “I told them at the end of last season I expected to win the Big East this year. After we got down 0-2, I told them I expected to win it this year.

“We have a group that listens, that works hard. As we had to make significant adjustments, they never lost faith in each other or in (the coaching staff),” he added.

Player of the Year: Otto Porter Jr., Georgetown

An award that was not up for debate was the Big East’s Player of the Year, which went to Otto Porter Jr. The Hoyas forward averaged 18.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in conference, boosting his play to lead the Hoyas to win 14 of their final 16 Big East games.

Now that Porter has the conference player of the year trophy on his mantle, the Naismith Award for national player of the year is a realistic possibility for the sophomore who was not even named to the All-Big East rookie team a year go.

Defensive Player of the Year: Gorgui Dieng

Dieng turned into one of the most complete big men in all of college basketball this season. He averaged 2.3 blocks in Big East play (second in the conference) and a conference-best 10.8 rebounds. Pitino has already said Dieng will be forgoing his senior year of eligibility and entering this summer’s NBA Draft.

Freshman of the Year: JaKarr Sampson, St. John’s

It’s the second straight year a Johnnie has won this award, as current Orlando Magic forward Moe Harkless took home the award in 2012. Sampson led all Big East freshmen in scoring and rebounding and was a near-lock for the award.

Scholar Athlete of the Year: Peyton Siva, Louisville

Rick Pitino’s senior point guard won the Scholar Athlete of the Year award with a 3.41 GPA, majoring in sociology. Siva was a All-Big East third team member this season, and his Louisville Cardinals will start their Big East Tournament run on Thursday night at 7 p.m. EST.

Sixth Man of the Year: Davante Gardner, Marquette

If Porter Jr. was a simple selection for Player of the Year, then Gardner’s selection as Sixth Man of the Year was the second easiest pick. Although he comes off the bench, the junior forward was Marquette’s second leading scorer in conference play this season with 10.9 points and 4.7 rebounds.

Gardner has only started 12 games in his three years at Marquette, and if redshirt senior Chris Otule returns next season he may receive this award again next March.

Sportsmanship Award: Junior Cadougan, Marquette

Cadougan receives this award as he finishes his college career after four seasons at Marquette. The senior point guard averaged 7.9 points and 4.0 assists per game in Big East play. He was given the sportsmanship award by Marquette his freshman season after returning from a torn Achilles to finish out his freshman season and help Marquette to the NCAA Tournament.

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