This season, especially in Big East play, that potential has been fulfilled, and Steve Novak has become one of the Big East's best players, one of four guys unanimously named to the All Big East first team. In Big East play, Novak averaged over 20 points and 7 rebounds a game, highlighted by his awesome 41 point, 16 rebound performance against top ranked Connecticut.
"It's a huge honor," Novak stated. "I know it has my name on it, but the whole team played a major role in that."
Along with the honors from the Big East, Novak is one of 22 finalists for the Wooden Award.
One of the keys to Novak's special season has been dynamic freshman point guard Dominic James, the Big East's Rookie of the Year. James's playmaking ability has often freed Novak and allowed him to hit his Big East leading 110 threes.
After being picked to finish 12th in the preseason, and having no players listed among the preseason honors, he and his teammates wanted to show the Big East what Marquette basketball is all about.
"That kind of stuff just serves as motivation," Novak added. "I think that at the beginning of the year that was very true. There was a lot of attention around UCONN and Louisville. Those guys definitely deserve those awards."
After being tentative to take some open shots his first three seasons, Novak has been willing to shoot whenever he had a look this season, a mindset pounded into him by head coach Tom Crean. Even with the increased number of shots taken, Novak's trademark accuracy has still been there, leading the Big East shooting 45.6% behind the arc.
Through the play of Novak and his teammates, Marquette has exceeded everyone's expectations, winning 20 games, 10 in the Big East and earning a bye in the first round of the Big East Tournament.