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    Friday, July 19, 2024

    Big East honors four UConn men’s basketball players

    UConn guard Cam Spencer brings the ball up the court in a game against Georgetown on Feb. 10 in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
    UConn guard Tristen Newton dribbles the ball in a game against Georgetown on Feb. 10 in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

    Big East coaches rewarded UConn for its historic regular season on Sunday.

    They voted Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer to the All-Big East first team, made Donovan Clingan an honorable mention and put Stephon Castle on the all-freshman team.

    Newton, a graduate guard, was one of four unanimous selections along with Providence’s Devin Carter, Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman and Marquette’s Tyler Kolek. Seton Hall’s Kadary Richmond rounded out the team.

    The conference selections were announced Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after UConn (28-3, 18-2) set the Big East regular season record for wins by winning at Providence Saturday night. The Huskies also have the program’s best regular season victory mark.

    It’s the first All-Big East honor for Newton, who didn’t appear on any preseason conference teams, and Spencer, a graduate transfer. Newton leads the second-ranked Huskies in points (15.0), rebounds (7.1) and assists (5.8) while Spencer averages 14.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

    This could be just the first league award for Newton, who’s considered a strong contender for the Big East player of the year.

    Newton isn’t concerned about individual accolades.

    “We want team awards, like Big East championships,” Newton said on Saturday night after the win at Providence. “We don’t have the awards that we want yet. We want championships. We don’t really care about personal awards. … It would be cool for everybody to get their awards that they deserve, but we’re looking forward to the team awards and the championships.”

    It is the second straight season that UConn had two players on the All-Big East team. Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins achieved that accomplishment in 2022-23.

    Clingan, a sophomore, was a preseason second team pick. Redshirt sophomore Alex Karaban, a preseason honorable mention, didn’t make the list.

    More awards will be announced this week, including top coach, player and freshman on Wednesday, the first day of the Big East tournament in New York. Honors for defensive player of the year, sixth man and sportsmanship will be handed out on Monday.

    UConn’s Dan Hurley is in the running for coach of the year.

    Castle, who earned a record 11th Big East freshman of the week on Sunday, is basically a lock to win the league’s top freshman award. He broke the tie with Syracuse’s Carmelo Anthony (2002-23). He leads all Big East freshmen in points (11.2), rebounds (4.2) and assists (3.0).

    “It’s a cool stat to think about but at the end of the year, if we don’t win the Big East and we don’t complete what our team goals are, I don’t think any of that really matters…,” Castle said Saturday before breaking the record. “I think that’s credit to all my coaches and all my teammates. They’ve helped me so much throughout this year.”

    Castle was the only unanimous selection to the all-freshman team.

    As the top seed, UConn earned a first round bye in the league tournament, opening play on Thursday at noon in the quarterfinals against Wednesday’s first round winner between No. 9 Xavier and No. 8 Butler.

    The Huskies swept the regular season series against both teams.

    g.keefe@theday.com

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