March 6, 2001
NEW YORK – Notre Dame junior forward Troy Murphy (Morristown, N.J.) and Boston College sophomore point guard Troy Bell (Minneapolis, Minn.)-who led their teams to respective division titles-have been named the BIG EAST Conference Co-Players of the Year for the 2000-01 men’s basketball season.
The 6-11 Murphy won the award outright as a sophomore and is just the fourth individual to be named BIG EAST player of the year in multiple seasons (since 1980), following in the footsteps of St. John’s guard Chris Mullin (’83, ’84, `85), Georgetown center Patrick Ewing (’84, `85) and Connecticut swingman Richard Hamilton (’98, `99). The 21-year history of the BIG EAST basketball awards has yet to produce an individual who was named the outright player of the year in multiple seasons (Mullin and Ewing shared the award in ’84 and ’85, Hamilton and Miami’s Tim James were the ’99 co-recipients).
Former Irish forward Pat Garrity was named the 1996-97 BIG EAST player of the year, making Notre Dame the only BIG EAST school to produce three-plus players or co-players of the year during the past five seasons.
Murphy currently leads the BIG EAST in overall scoring average (22.6 points per game) while ranking fourth with 9.3 rebounds per game. A five-time BIG EAST player of the week in 2000-01 (Bell earned the honor three times), Murphy averaged a league-best 22.8 ppg in BIG EAST games-joining former BC guard Dana Barros (’88, ’89) as the only players ever to lead the BIG EAST in conference scoring during consecutive seasons. His other season totals include a .492 field-goal percentage, 27-of-46 shooting from three-point range (.355), a .755 free-throw pct., 47 blocks, 25 steals and 56 assists.
Boston College’s Al Skinner was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year while Seton Hall forward Eddie Griffin took BIG EAST Rookie of the Year honors. Providence guard John Linehan was chosen unanimously as BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, with Syracuse swingman Preston Shumpert and West Virginia forward Calvin Bowman sharing BIG EAST Most Improved Player.
All of the awards were determined by a vote of the conference’s head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players. The awards were presented at the Grand Hyatt Hotel prior to the AT&T BIG EAST Championship, which will be played at Madison Square Garden on March 7-10.
Bell, a 6-1 sophomore guard from was the leader behind Boston College’s quantum leap in the BIG EAST standings. He finished third in the league in scoring with a 20.1 average and was third in steals at 2.6. He hit his free throws at an .854 clip, fourth best in the conference. Last season, Bell was the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.
Skinner, in his fourth year at Boston College, guided the Eagles to the biggest turnaround in BIG EAST history. The Eagles’ 3-13 conference record last season was the worst in the league. This year, BC’s 13-3 record is the best and Eagles won the East Division. Now in his 13th year as a head coach, Skinner’s career record is 193-186.
Griffin, a 6-9 freshman from Philadelphia, Pa., led the BIG EAST with 19 double-doubles. The Seton Hall forward was fifth in overall scoring in the BIG EAST at 18.1 and first in rebounding at 11.2. He leads the nation in blocks at 4.5 per game. Griffin is the first Pirate in league history to be named Rookie of the Year.
Linehan was the pesky defensive force that lifted Providence to a resurgence similar to Boston College. Last season, both teams finished 11-19 overall. The Friars were 4-12 in the BIG EAST. A 5-9 junior point guard from Chester, Pa., Linehan missed most of last season with a hamstring injury. This year, he led Providence to an 11-5 league mark, the best in school history. The first Friar to win Defensive Player of the Year honors, Linehan comfortably leads the BIG EAST steals with a 3.3 average. He is averaging 11.1 points and 3.8 assists.
Shumpert, a 6-6 junior, increased his scoring average from 10.3 points last season to 19.7 this year. A native of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., he leads the Orangemen in scoring and is fourth in the BIG EAST. He is in his first season as a starter.
Bowman finished the regular season with averages of 17.8 points and 10.0 rebounds. Last season, the native of Brooklyn, N.Y. averaged 12.1 points and 5.9 boards. The Mountaineers bring a 17-10 record to the AT&T BIG EAST Championship after finishing 14-14 last season.
2000-01 BIG EAST Awards
Co-Players of the Year
Troy Bell, Boston College
Troy Murphy, Notre Dame
Coach of the Year
Al Skinner, Boston College
Rookie of the Year
Eddie Griffin, Seton Hall
Defensive Player of the Year
John Linehan, Providence
Co-Most Improved Players
Preston Shumpert, Syracuse
Calvin Bowman, West Virginia