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Walker named to All-Big East first team, somehow not unanimous selection

The Big East revealed its first team today and, as expected, Kemba Walker was on it. Here's what wasn't expected: he was not a unanimous selection. The team, which is voted on by the Big East coaches had only one unanimous selection -- Ben Hansbrough of Notre Dame.

That, frankly, is shocking. You can have a perfectly legitimate debate about who should be the Big East Player of the Year, but there are six spots on the First Team, and there is no defensible way to claim that Walker was not one of the six best players in the conference this year. Walker did not miss out because of position either -- all six of the First Team members are guards. Austin Freeman of Georgetown, Ashton Gibbs of Pittsburgh, Marshon Brooks of Providence and Dwight Hardy of St. John's were the other four members of the squad.

This result is not a good sign for Walker's Player of the Year chances. He could still win the award (the winner will be announced on Tuesday), but it's a long shot. I have no idea who left Walker off his ballot, but I'd love to hear an explanation.

Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier both made the All-Big East Rookie team.

The full release and rosters from the conference is after the jump.

 PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Notre Dame senior Ben Hansbrough is the only unanimous selection to the All-BIG EAST First Team, the league announced.  The conference’s head coaches choose the all-conference teams.  The coaches are not permitted to vote for their own players.  The league announced the All-BIG EAST First, Second and Third Teams in addition to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.

DePaul forward Cleveland Melvin was the lone unanimous pick on the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
Six players were named to the All-BIG EAST First Team.  The BIG EAST Player of the Year will come from that group.  The conference will announce Player of the Year, Oppenheimer Funds/BIG EAST Coach of the Year, BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday, March 8.  The announcement will be made between sessions of the first day of The BIG EAST Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden.  The press conference will begin after the postgame interviews of the afternoon doubleheader have been completed.  The other individual awards will be announced Monday, March 7.

The six first-team players are also the top six scorers in the BIG EAST.  The other first-team selections are: Kemba Walker of Connecticut, Austin Freeman of Georgetown, Ashton Gibbs of Pittsburgh, Marshon Brooks of Providence and Dwight Hardy of St. John’s.
Hansbrough, a 6-3 guard, led Notre Dame to a second-place finish in the BIG EAST regular season with a 14-4 record.  He led the Irish in scoring with an 18.5 average, which was third in the league.  He also was third in the BIG EAST in 3-point shooting, making 45.1 percent.
Walker was the unquestioned leader for Connecticut, The junior guard finished the regular season second in the BIG EAST in scoring at 23.1 ppg.  He has scored at least 24 points in a game 13 times this season.  Walker was an All-BIG EAST Third Team selection last year.  
Freeman, the Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year, is fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 17.8 points while helping the Hoyas to a 21-9 record.  The senior guard was an All-BIG EAST Second Team pick last season.
Gibbs, who also was a second-team All-BIG EAST selection in 2009-10, helped lead Pittsburgh to the BIG EAST regular-season crown with a 15-3 record.  The league’s top 3-pointer shooter at 46.6 percent, he finished sixth in scoring with a 16.4 average.
Brooks was the BIG EAST scoring champion with a 26.0 scoring mark in league games.  In all games, he also was first, averaging 24.8 ppg.  The 6-5 senior improved his scoring mark from 14.2 ppg last season.
Hardy provided the critical offensive punch to help fuel the resurgence at St. John’s. The senior guard averaged 17.9 ppg which ranked fourth for the regular season.  The Red Storm’s 12-6 mark was their best since a 12-4 record in 1999-2000.
Melvin, a 6-8 forward, was DePaul’s top scorer and the leading freshman scorer in the BIG EAST with a 14.2 average.  He also averaged 5.0 rebounds. 
Kemba Walker, Connecticut, G, Jr., 6-1, 172, Bronx, N.Y.
Austin Freeman, Georgetown, G, Sr., 6-3.5, 227, Mitchellville, Md.
*Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame, G, Sr., 6-3, 206, Poplar  Bluff, Mo.
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh, G, Jr., 6-2, 190, Scotch Plains, N.J.
Marshon Brooks, Providence, G-F, Sr., 6-5, 200, Stone Mountain, Ga. 
Dwight Hardy, St. John’s, G, Sr., 6-2, 195, Bronx, N.Y.
Preston Knowles, Louisville, G, 6-1, 190, Winchester, Ky.
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette, G, Jr., 6-2, 215, Raleigh, N.C.
Brad Wanamaker, Pittsburgh, G, Sr., 6-4, 210, Philadelphia, Pa.
Rick Jackson, Syracuse, F, Sr., 6-9, 240, Philadelphia, Pa.
Corey Fisher, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-1, 200, Bronx, N.Y.
Chris Wright, Georgetown, G, Sr., 6-1, 208, Washington, D.C.
Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame, F, Sr., 6-8, 235, Unionville, Ct.
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, G, Sr., 6-5, 188, Bronx, N.Y.
Kris Joseph, Syracuse, F, Jr., 6-7, 207, Montreal, Quebec
Corey Stokes, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-5, 220, Bayonne, N.J.
Peyton Siva, Louisville, G, So., 5-11, 180, Seattle, Wash.
Jimmy Butler, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-7, 220, Tomball, Texas
Scoop Jardine, Syracuse, G, So., 6-2, 190, Philadelphia, Pa. 
Kevin Jones, West Virginia, F, Jr., 6-8, 255, Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati, G, Fr., 6-4, 215, White Plains, N.Y.
Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut, G-F, 6-5, 185, Norcross, Ga.
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, G, Fr., 6-0, 170, Randolph, Mass.
*Cleveland Melvin, DePaul, F, Fr., 6-8, 210, Baltimore, Md.
Brandon Young, DePaul, G, Fr., 6-3, 175, Washington, D.C.
Gilvydas Biruta, Rutgers, F, Fr., 6-8, 230, Jonava, Lithuania
*denotes unanimous selection