Rutgers center Hamady Ndiaye was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches after leading the conference in blocked shots.
Ndiaye, a 7-foot senior from Senegal, averaged 4.52 blocked shots per game. The next best total was 66, and he had more blocked shots than 11 teams in the league. He ranked third nationally.
He is the first Rutgers player to lead the Big East in blocked shots, and he is two away from tying Roy Hinson’s school record of 355 in a career.
“Believe it or not, I am almost at a loss for words,” Ndiaye said in a statement. “To be selected as Defensive Player of the Year by the BIG EAST coaches is very humbling. I would like to thank Rutgers, my coaches and my teammates for helping to make it possible.”
Ndiaye averaged 9.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the 14th-seeeded Scarlet Knights, who play No. 11 seed Cincinnati on Tuesday at 9 p.m. in the first round of the Big East tournament.
“I don’t know if I have ever been more proud of a player,” Rutgers head coach Fred Hill said in a statement. “Hamady earned this every day. I have never seen a young man come so far in four years. I can’t wait to see where he will be in another three (years).”
It is the second major award for a Rutgers player in Big East history. Rob Hodgson was the scholar-athlete of the year in 1999.
Ndiaye’s honor could be the first of two major conference awards for the Scarlet Knights. The Big East will announce its rookie of the year Tuesday, and the leading candidates or Rutgers’ Dane Miller and Cincinnati’s Lance Stephenson. Both were unanimous selections to the Big East all-rookie team.
ScarletReport.com will be at Rutgers practice today to get reaction from Ndiaye about the award.