It seems like Seton Hall is doing a lot of “for the first time in X years…” things this season and they’ve just added another to the list. For the first time since 2007-08 when a tough, versatile Brian Laing averaged 18.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg, a Pirate player has earned conference first-team honors.
In what became obvious over the last 10 to 15 games, Isaiah Whitehead (17.9 ppg, 4.9 apg) has taken his game to NBA levels if sustained and has been recognized across the board as he joins Kris Dunn, Ben Bentil and Josh Hart as unanimous selections: all nine Big East coaches not named Kevin Willard put him on their first team ballots.
Whitehead is Seton Hall’s ninth appearance on the conference’s first team list and has arguable played better than everyone except Bentil over the last 10 games, though the Player of the Year award has a good chance of heading to Providence; Josh Hart would be the fourth horse in that race and is KenPom’s pick for the award.
Playing as a converted point guard this year, Whitehead shot 45-percent from the perimeter in league play after a 31-percent mark during the non-conference schedule, has improved upon his assist-to-turnover ratio over the course of the season and has tallied 20+ points in six of his last seven games.
Isaiah is joined by fellow sophomore Angel Delgado (10.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg) on the Big East’s post-season honors list. Delgado averaged a double double for stretches of the season and racked up 13 over 30 games including seven in a row late-December going into January, earning him a spot next to seniors Kellen Dunham and Daniel Ochefu as honorable mentions.
When guys like Dunham and Ochefu aren’t even making the first two teams, I get the argument for Delgado sitting in this tier of the conference’s best players. I’m sure he will be looking to get into the first two teams next season after being named Rookie of the Year and then following up with an honorable mention.
The conference will announce Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Freshman of the Year and the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Wednesday. The announcement will be made on the first day of the BIG EAST Tournament at the Garden at 4:30 p.m. ET.