Villanova received three major Big Five awards Tuesday, with senior Josh Hart being named player of the year, Donte DiVincenzo earning rookie of the year and Jay Wright taking coach of the year honors.
The 6-foot-5 1/2 Hart, of Silver Spring, Md., a first-team All-America and the Big East player of the year, averaged 18.7 points in helping the Wildcats win their fourth consecutive City Series title. Villanova also won the Big East regular-season championship and its second Big East tournament title in the last three years.
The 6-5 DiVincenzo, a redshirt freshman from Wilmington, averaged 8.8 points during the season. However, in the Wildcats’ five postseason games, he averaged 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds.
Wright led the Wildcats to a 32-4 record and their 12th NCAA appearance in the last 13 years. The team was ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for eight weeks.
Hart led the selections to the all-Big Five first team, which included two of his teammates – sophomore Jalen Brunson and senior Kris Jenkins – along with sophomore Shizz Alston of Temple and junior B.J. Johnson of La Salle.
The second team consisted of sophomore Mikal Bridges of Villanova, freshman A.J. Brodeur and senior Matt Howard of Penn, senior Jordan Price of La Salle, and juniors James Demery of St. Joseph’s and Obi Enechionyia of Temple.
The 6-4 Alston was honored as the Big Five’s most improved player. He improved his scoring average from 2.0 points in his freshman year to 13.9 points this past season, and sank 67 three-point baskets and fashioned a 2.7-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Brunson was named the Big Five’s scholar-athlete of the year and won the award as the city’s top free-throw shooter. He hit 87.6 percent of his attempts during the season.
The award winners will be honored Monday night at the Big Five banquet at the Palestra. The Big Five Hall of Fame Class of 2017 – Carlene Hightower of La Salle, Ibrahim Jaaber of Penn, Jameer Nelson of St. Joseph’s, Lynn Greer of Temple, Randy Foye and George Raveling of Villanova, and long-time Inquirer columnist Bill Lyon – also will be honored.