NEW YORK, NY (UHND.com) – A day after being named to the First Team All Big East squad, Notre Dame sophomore Luke Harangody took home an even bigger prize on Tuesday – 2008 Big East Player of the Year. His coach, meanwhile, collected his second straight Big East Coast of the Year award after guiding the Irish to a school record 14 Big East wins and a 24-6 overall record.
It certainly came as no surprise that Harangody was named Big East Player of the Year – the sophomore center has been downright dominant in league play this year. In 18 games against conference opponents, Harangody averaged 23.3 points and 11.3 rebounds a game – both well above his season averages. Both averages were also good enough to lead the entire Big East in conference play.
On the season, Harangody posted averages of 21.0 points and 10.3 rebounds – good for first and second in the Big East.
Last season Harangody was named to the Big East All Freshman team, but was absent from the pre-season All Big East teams announced in October. That didn’t slow the big man down though. He started the season off with 15 points in just 24 minutes against Long Island and capped his regular season off with a team high 21 points in Saturday’s win over South Florida.
Along the way, Harangody added impressive performance after impressive perform highlight by a 40 point outburst against Lousiville when he nearly single handedly brought the Irish back by hitting only three attempts from beyond the arc all season in the game’s final minutes. His 40 points marked the first time a Notre Dame player ever scored 40 during a Big East game.
Harangody’s selection marks the fourth time a Notre Dame player has been tabbed as the league’s Player of the Year since the Irish joined the conference. Pat Garrity won the award during the 1996-97 season and Troy Murphy took home the top honors twice during the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons.
Harangody also joined Murphy as only the second player in league history to lead the Big East in both scoring and rebounding in league play.
While Harangody’s selection was no surprise, Brey’s was to some extent. His back to back selections as the top coach in the Big East marks only the 3rd time in league history a coach has won the award in back to back seasons. Brey joins Lou Carnesecca (1984-85, 1985-86) of St. John’s and P.J. Carlesimo (1987-88, 1988-89) of Seton Hall.
While his selection may come as a bit of a surprise, Brey is certainly more than deserving of the recognition. Brey’s Irish were picked to finish 9th in the Big East Pre-Season poll in October, but instead tied for second place in the league along with Louisville and clinched a first round bye in this week’s Big East Tournament as the #3 seed.
Under Brey’s guidance this year, Notre Dame has enjoyed one of its best seasons in recent history. No Irish team has won more Big East games in a single season than this year’s squad with 14. Notre Dame also currently sits at #14 nationally in both the AP and USA Today Polls.
Brey has also led his team to 37 home game winning streak which has spanned parts of three seasons. With a perfect 17-0 record inside the Joyce Center this year, Notre Dame became the first team in Big East history to post back to back undefeated seasons at home. With two more wins at home next season, the Irish would break the school record of 38 consecutive wins. Another three more in a row, and Notre Dame will also own the Big East record for consecutive conference home wins which is currently owned by Pittsburgh with 20.
Over the last two seasons, Brey has accumulated a record of 48-10 after suffering through a 16-14 mark during the 2005-06 season.
Notre Dame will be off tomorrow during the first round action of the Big East Tournament and will await the winner of the Marquette-Seton Hall game. Brey and the Irish will look to continue adding more post season honors Thursday night when they face either the Pirates or the Golden Eagles. Tip off is approximately scheduled for 9:00 ET.