Mar 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Creighton Bluejays forward Doug McDermott (3) applauds a call during the second half against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Wells Fargo Center. Creighton defeated Cincinnati 67-63. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Big East Basketball: Breaking down Preseason First Team All-Conference

It’s the time of year again where basketball season is right around the corner so first team and second team all-conference rosters are being named. The Big East’s was released at media day last Wednesday in New York, so we thought we’d dive a little deeper and break down exactly who people expect to be the top players Butler will be playing against this season.

Player of the Year: Doug McDermott

The unquestioned preseason player of the year in the Big East, McDermott is coming off of a season in which he made national headlines with his scoring ability in the Missouri Valley Conference. Now the two-time consensus All-American will have a chance to do something special after turning down an opportunity to go to the NBA and chose to continue playing for his father in Omaha.

Shown by his 49% and 48.6% shooting in the last two seasons, McDermott is in range when he steps into the gym and shows it during the Blue Jays’  games. He’s also averaged over 20 points the last two seasons and figures to do the same again this season.

First Team

 Markel Starks Georgetown

Entering his senior season at Georgetown, Starks is coming off of a season as a major part of the Hoyas’ offense in which he averaged 12.8 points per game in just over 34 minutes per contest. The part of his game that stands out the most is his ability to knock down the jump shot at a very high rate. He shot 41.7% from beyond the arc last season and 45% overall.

Starks comes in as a senior leader on this Georgetown team that will be competing for a Big East Championship this season alongside another talented guard and Indianapolis native D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Both figure to be a big part in the success of the Hoyas this season, putting them in good hands.

 Davante Gardner Marquette

The Golden Eagles’ strong and built center is moving into his senior season as well and will be looking to come through on the team’s lofty preseason rankings and projections. And, moving forward, Gardner will be a large part in the program’s success this season.

As shown in two games against the Bulldogs last season, Gardner is a very good scorer around the basket and will continue to impose his will against centers in this new league. Now, maybe even more so if he can improve his stamina and play more than just the 20 minutes per game he’s averaged the last two seasons.

 Bryce Cotton Providence

A program on the rise under Coach Cooley, the Friars figure to be a very competitive team this season in the new conference and Bryce Cotton’s offensive  firepower figures to be a reason why. Cotton will be a go-to offensive play maker this season after a 2012-13 campaign in which his efficiency and scoring ability improved from his sophomore year. Now, the senior will look to become perhaps the best scorer in the Big East.

According to DraftExpress, 75% of his field goal attempts last season were jumpers as his jump shot is still the best part of his overall game. His three-point numbers still leave some to be desired though as his 3-point percentage regressed to just 36% last season. Hopefully for the Friars, the volume scorer can become even more efficient and consistent this season while leading a good team into a new conference.

D’Angelo Harrison St. John’s

The lone junior on this list, Harrison has averaged well over 30 minutes per game in his first two seasons for the Johnnies and figures to play a big role yet again this season for Steve Lavin’s team. Again an improved team, they have a chance to be at the top of the conference this year and Harrison’s scoring ability has a lot to do with it.

Harrison was dismissed from the team last March but was added back to the roster for this year’s campaign and will have a big impact. The biggest thing the Red Storm will be looking for from him now will be efficiency. There’s no doubting his talent and his abilities, now it’s just a matter of honing those into an offense that can be very effective.

Semaj Christon Xavier

Christon is the youngest player on the First Team list after having a very successful freshman season for the Xavier basketball program. His quickness and athleticism made him a very effective scorer last season in the Atlantic 10 and now he figures to be a standout in the Big East.

Making an even bigger role for him in his sophomore season, the Musketeers will have one of the best players in the conference on their roster that will help ease the transition to what figures to be a better conference.

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Tags: Big East Butler Creighton Marquette Providence St. Johns Xavier

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