It should come to as a surprise to no one who followed Big East men's basketball this season that senior guard Bryce Cotton, the heart and soul of the Providence College Friars, was named First Team All-Big East on Sunday. This marks Cotton's second straight year as a First Team All-Big East selection, and he joins former Friar standout, Waterbury's Ryan Gomes, as the only PC players to earn two First Team All-Big East accolades. Teammate Kareem Batts was named to the second team.
Cotton, a 6-1 guard from Tuscon, Ariz., was joined by Doug McDermott of Creighton, Markel Starks of Georgetown, D'Angelo Harrison of St. John's, James Bell of Villanova, and Semaj Christon of Xavier on the Big East's 2014 first team. McDermott, the leading candidate for the Naismith Player of the Year Award given annually to the country's best college basketball player, broke the 3,000 career point barrier on Saturday when he led the Blue Jays to a 88-73 victory over the Friars in Omaha, Neb., with a 45-point effort. He ranks seventh on the NCAA's all-time scoring list, ahead of such luminaries as Larry Bird, Hersey Hawkins, Oscar Robertson, Danny Manning, Tyler Hansbrough, Elvin Hayes.
This is the first time that Batts, the Big East's Most Improved Player last season, has been tabbed for All-Big East Second Team recognition. This season, Batts averaged 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game during the regular season, and put up nine double-doubles. He ranks first in the Big East in offensive rebounding (3.3 per game), third in overall rebounding (8.1), and 12th in scoring (12.7). The 6-9 senior forward from Boston ranks 27th all-time time in scoring at Providence with 1,252 points, and is No. 12 PC's the list of all-time rebounders, hauling down 761 boards in 188 career games.
Cotton and Batts are two of just three seniors on the Providence roster. The Friars next game will be on Thursday when they take on St. John's in the Big East Championship Tournament at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Tip-off is slated for 2:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1, as will the entire Big East Tournament.