Jae Crowder, a man whose journey to Marquette included stops at two different junior colleges, has been honored with the Big East’s highest individual award after averaging 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds for the 9th-ranked Golden Eagles. The 6’6″ senior forward was also selected to the All-Big East First Team with his teammate Darius Johnson-Odom.
A native of Georgia, Crowder graduated from Villa Rica High School and enrolled at South Georgia Technical College. After one season there, he transferred to Howard College in Big Spring, Texas. He spent one stellar season at Howard, being named the State Farm Junior College Player of the Year. Despite that, Crowder was only offered three Division I scholarships and was the least-heralded prospect in Marquette’s 2010 recruiting class.
Crowder was productive for the Eagles last year, playing 27.6 minutes per game and averaging 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game as a junior. But he really blossomed into a Big East star in his senior year, helping lead Marquette to a second place conference finish and a Top-10 ranking headed into the tournament. His scoring average of 17.6 ppg was fourth best in the conference and although he was not the leading scorer on his own team (Johnson-Odom averaged 18.3), he was the teams all-around best player. The coaches and media of the Big East decided this week that he was also the best player in the entire conference.
Other notes from the Big East Conference:
* Glenview-native Jack Cooley, who averaged 12.5 points and 9.2 rebounds for Notre Dame, was named to the All-Big East Second Team. Cooley also led the conference in field goal percentage (.621).
* DePaul sophomore Cleveland Melvin was honored with All-Big East Honorable Mention. He lead the rebuilding Blue Demons with 17.5 points and 7.4 rebounds.
* Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant was named to the Big East All-Rookie team, after averaging 12.5 points and a team-leading 4.9 assists this season.