The honors for the 4th ranked Notre Dame basketball team continued to roll in on Tuesday when senior guard Ben Hansbrough and head coach Mike Brey were named Big East Player and Coach of the Year.
Hansbrough’s candidacy for Big East Player of the Year gained momentum throughout the season and skyrocketed over the final month of the season while the former Mississippi State transfer led the Irish to 11 wins in their final 12 games to secure the #2 seed in this week’s Big East Tournament.
After playing a complementary role in his first season with the Irish a year ago, Hansbrough assumed leadership of the team this season and now has Notre Dame flirting with a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Hansbrough led the Irish in scoring this season with 18.5 points a game and was a deadly shot from the three point line nailing 45.1% of his three point attempts. Hansbrough elevated his game in conference play with 20.7 points per game against Big East foes.
Hansbrough is the 4th Notre Dame player to win Big East Player of the Year honors since the Irish joined the conference. Pat Garrity (1997), Troy Murphy (2000 & 2001), and Luke Harangody (2008) have previously won the award.
Hansbrough was the only person from Notre Dame taking home some hardware Tuesday. Head coach Mike Brey took home his 3rd Big East Coach of the Year Award after taking a team predicted to finish 7th in the Big East to the top 5 with a 25-5 record (14-4 in league play).
Brey previously won the award in both 2007 and 2008, but this season’s honors may have been the most deserved. After losing Jackson and Harangody to graduation, Brey guided the Irish through the toughest conference in the country to a school record 25 wins.
Hansbrough and Brey now have their eyes set on some more important hardware – a Big East Tournament Championship. Hardware Notre Dame has never won before. The Irish will start their quest on Thursday night at 7:00 PM in Madison Square Garden against the winner of tomorrow night’s South Florida/Cincinnati contest.
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