Big East honors Arcidiacono, Wright
Junior guard Ryan Arcidiacono is co-Player of the Year, while Jay Wright is named Coach of the Year.
VILLANOVA'S Ryan Arcidiacono made the seven-man all-Big East first team. But he wasn't a unanimous choice, like teammate Darrun Hilliard. That didn't keep the junior from Neshaminy High from being named the conference's co-Player of the Year yesterday.
He shares the honor with another point guard, Providence sophomore Kris Dunn, who was also a unanimous choice, along with teammate LaDontae Henton, the Big East's top scorer.
The other Wildcats to win this award were Kerry Kittles (1995) and Randy Foye (2006). Kittles won as a junior.
Dunn was the first player to lead the Big East in assists and steals in a season.
The 10 coaches can't vote for their own players.
Speaking of which, Jay Wright was named the Coach of the Year for the second straight season. He also won in 2006 and 2009.
"I was surprised, but really happy," said Wright, whose fourth-ranked Wildcats (29-2) will play Marquette (13-18) this afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. "Ryan was surprised, too. He's a very humble kid. He said he thought Darrun [the team's leading scorer] would win it.
"All we'd heard was what everyone else was saying, that Darrun was going to win it. Then we got the call and it was Arch. I definitely felt like I needed to talk to Darrun about it. He had a great year; he's an All-American. He was fine. He was happy for Arch. He said, 'That's great, let's go win the tournament.' "
That's something the Wildcats did only once, 20 years ago.
"I thank my teammates and coaches who have given me this opportunity to start on a team like this," said Arcidiacono, who averaged 12.9 points and 3.6 assists in Big East games, while leading the Wildcats in shooting from both the foul line (84.7 percent) and arc (44.4). "I just accept this on behalf of my whole team.
"I really did not think 100 percent I would get this. I appreciate it, but there is a long way for us to go as a team. One thing I always try to do is be the toughest guy on the floor when I play. Hopefully, I can look myself and my teammates in the eye after the game and know I gave it all for them."
Added Wright: "I think the coaches really showed they valued guys that had a lot of impact on the game in different ways, guys that were clutch players and leaders on their team. I don't remember two MVPs being those kind of players, ever. It's a really interesting pair. They're very similar."
The fourth-seeded Friars are 21-10.