Panthers dominate Big East awards

Members of the Pitt basketball team were noticeably absent from the First Team in the conference all-conference selections despite being the regular season championships, but the greatly deserved respect was shown today as the Panthers dominated the post-season Big East awards.

Jamie Dixon, in his first year at the helm was named Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to a 27-3 overall record and 13-3 in the conference. Dixon became the first coach in league history to be named Coach of the Year in his first season.

Center Chris Taft was named Big East Rookie of the Year after averaging 11.4 ppg and 7.7 rbg. The 6'10" Taft, a native of New York City, was named the Big East Rookie of the Week six separate times this season.

Sophomore point guard Carl Krauser, also from New York City, was named Big East Most Improved Player. Krauser, who replaced Brandin Knight as a starter this season, led the Panthers with 15.3 ppg and 4.8 apg.

Senior Jaron Brown, often considered one of the more underrated players in the country was named the winner of Big East Sportsmanship Award. Brown averaged 11.9 ppg and 5.5 rbg.

The other two conference post season awards went to Connecticut junior center Emeka Okafor. The 6'10" Okafor was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year thanks to his NCAA leading 4.5 blocks a game, and he was also named the Big East Player of the Year for a season in which he averaged 18.7 ppg and 11.5 rbg.

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