High Riser

  • March 10, 2008 12:05 PM
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By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
March 10, 2008

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For many years West Virginia couldn’t get a men’s basketball player on the all-Big East first team. Now it’s becoming a trend. Junior forward Joe Alexander was named to the 10-player all-Big East first team announced by the conference this morning.

  West Virginia's Joe Alexander earns first team all-Big East honors after averaging 16.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
All-Pro Photogrpahy/Dale Sparks

It is the third straight year West Virginia has had a player on the first team. Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle were selected in 2006 and Frank Young was picked in 2007.

The only other Mountaineer players to earn first team all-Big East honors were forward Damian Owens in 1998 and forward Calvin Bowman in 2001.

"Joe has really come on," said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. "He's made so much progress with just his understanding of how to play. He's doing a much better job catching the ball, reading the defense and reacting to how the defense is playing him."

Alexander finished the regular season ranked eighth in the conference in scoring averaging 16.2 points per game. The Mt. Airy, Md., resident is also averaging 6.1 rebounds per game and has blocked 46 shots to rank eighth in the conference.

In his last three games against Connecticut, Pitt and St. John’s he has scored 93 points to average 30.5 points per game during that span. Alexander is shooting 47.7 percent from the field and has accumulated four double-doubles in points and rebounds so far this season.

"Coming off of 32 and then 29 at St. John's on Saturday he's certainly become one of the better players in a great league," Huggins said.

Yesterday Alexander was named Big East player of the week for his 61 points in victories against Pitt and St. John’s.

Joining Alexander on the first team were Connecticut’s Jeff Adrien and A.J. Price, Notre Dame’s Kyle McAlarney and Luke Harangody, Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert, Pitt’s Sam Young, Cincinnati’s Deonta Vaughn, Louisville’s David Padgett, Seton Hall’s Brian Laing and South Florida’s Kentrell Gransberry.

The league will announce its major award winners Tuesday night at its annual awards banquet in New York City.