March 4, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Junior forward Jack Cooley (Glenview, Ill.), who became a full-time starter in the Notre Dame men’s basketball starting lineup this season and went on to average a double-double during the 18-game conference slate, was named a second team all-BIG EAST selection as announced today (Sunday, March 4), by the league office, while teammate Jerian Grant (Bowie, Md.) earned a spot on the league’s all-rookie team.
Cooley, who is averaging 12.5 points and 9.5 rebounds overall this season, finished conference play averaging 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds. One of the league’s and nation’s most improved players, he averaged just 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds as a reserve off the bench as a sophomore in 2010-11.
Grant was eligible for all-rookie team honors this year because he did not play last season.
The two were selected by a vote of the league’s 16 head coaches who were not permitted to vote for their own players.
The selection of Cooley as a second team honoree marks the 12th straight year that Notre Dame has placed an individual on one of the all-conference teams. Since 1995-96, Irish players have earned all-conference accolades 32 times.
Grant is the first Notre Dame player named to the all-rookie squad since Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson both were selected in 2007. With Grant’s selection, seven different Irish players have earned a spot on the conference’s all-rookie team.
Six individuals comprised the all-BIG EAST first team led by Marquette’s Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. Also on the first team were Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut, Jason Clark of Georgetown, Kris Joseph of Syracuse and Kevin Jones of West Virginia.
Joining Cooley on the second team were Sean Kilpatrick of Cincinnati, Jordan Theodore of Seton Hall, Scoop Jardine of Syracuse and Maalik Wayns of Villanova.
On the five-member all-conference third team were Henry Sims of Georgetown, Vincent Council of Providence, Herb Pope of Seton Hall, Dion Waiters of Syracuse and Darryl Bryant of West Virginia.
Named to the league’s honorable team were Cleveland Melvin of DePaul, Hollis Thompson of Georgetown, Kyle Kuric of Louisville, Ashton Gibbs of Pittsburgh and Moe Harkless of St. John’s.
Cooley has been a dominant force inside for the Irish this season as he has registered a team-best 12 double-doubles with 10 of those coming in BIG EAST play. Heading into this season. Cooley had only scored in double figures four times, but this season has been in double figures 17 times that includes a career-high 27-point outing against Providence on March 2 in the regular-season finale. Against the Friars, he also hauled in 17 rebounds, one shy his personal best of 18 rebounds he had against Rutgers on Feb. 15.
Cooley has hit on 62.1 percent of his shots from the field (141-227) and leads the Irish with 47 blocked shots. He recorded 20 or more points in six contests that included consecutive 20-plus point outings against West Virginia, DePaul and Rutgers. Cooley also had a four-game stretch in which he posted a double-double in each of those contests. He also has hauled in 10-plus rebounds on 14 occasions.
Cooley was named BIG EAST Player of the Week once during the season and was a member of the league’s weekly honor rolls on five occasions.
Grant has been Notre Dame’s leading double-figure scorer as he has reached double figures 24 times. He has started 30 of 31 games and scored 20-plus points on four occasions. Grant has four 20-plus outings to his credit that includes a career-high 22 point outing against Bryant on Nov. 27, 2011. In that contest, he posted his first career double-double as he hauled in 11 rebounds.
Grant leads the Irish with 153 turnovers and has committed just 54 turnovers while averaging 35.7 minutes per game. He also leads the BIG EAST with a 2.83 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Grant was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week in the first week of the season and also was named to the Weekly Honor Roll in late January.
Also named to the all-rookie team were Andre Drummond of Connecticut, Chane Behanan of Louisville, LaDontae Henton of Providence, Moe Harkless of St. John’s, D’Angelo Harrison of St. John’s and Anthony Collins of USF.
Notre Dame finished the regular season with a 21-10 mark and 13-5 BIG EAST record, good for third in the final regular-season standings. For the second straight year, the Irish earned a double-bye into 2012 BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitter and are the tournament’s No. 3 seed. For the 30th consecutive year, the tournament will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City and will run from March 6-10.