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Men’s Basketball: Irish earn top honors for Big East

Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, March 9, 2011

No. 4 Notre Dame earned some recognition from the most competitive conference in the country Tuesday when it picked up three major awards at the Big East’s annual awards ceremony at Madison Square Garden.

Senior guard Ben Hansbrough was named Big East Player of the Year on the heels of his unanimous selection to the first-team all-conference squad Sunday. Hansbrough was the only unanimous selection to the all-league top-five and finished as the third-highest scorer in the conference, averaging 20.7 points in his conference matchups.

Hansbrough closed the season on a particularly strong note, pouring in 20 points or more in each of his last four outings. He is the fourth Irish player to take home the award, preceded by Pat Garrity, Troy Murphy (who won the award twice) and Luke Harangody.

Irish coach Mike Brey was selected as Big East Coach of the Year by his conference peers on the after a season that has vaulted him into the discussion for national Coach of the Year. After losing three-time All-American Luke Harangody and four-year starting point guard Tory Jackson to graduation after the 2009-2010 campaign, Brey’s squad far exceeded expectations by recording a 25-5 season. Brey also earned the award in 2007 and 2008 and is only the third active coach to have received the award multiple times, joining Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun in that category.

The selections mark the third time the Irish have taken home both the conference Player and Coach of the Year awards; Notre Dame most recently did so in 2008 with Harangody and Brey.

Senior forward Tim Abromaitis was honored for the second consecutive year as the Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year, becoming the third player in league history to win the award in back-to-back campaigns. Abromaitis was recently named to his second consecutive first-team Academic All-America honors; he was also named to the all-conference third team over the weekend.

Hansbrough, Brey, and Abromaitis will return to action Thursday night in the Big East tournament against the winner of tonight’s clash between Cincinnati and South Florida.