NEW YORK — Seton Hall senior guard Fuquan Edwin was honored as the Big East’s defensive player of the year Monday while Marquette junior forward Davante Gardner was the conference’s top sixth man for a second straight season.
Villanova teammates Darrun Hilliard and Daniel Ochefu were co-winners of the most improved player of the year award and Marquette redshirt senior Chris Otule won the sportsmanship award.
The winners were selected by the league’s coaches. The player and coach of the year will be announced Wednesday when the conference tournament begins.
Edwin, Seton Hall’s all-time steals leader, led the conference with 74 steals despite missing five games because of injuries. His 292 career steals are second among active players behind Ohio State’s Aaron Craft’s 327.
Gardner is the first player to win the sixth man award twice. He leads Marquette in scoring at 15.1 points a game and is averaging 5.7 rebounds.
Hilliard, a junior, increased his scoring average from 11.4 points to 14.4. Ochefu, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, is averaging 5.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and is shooting 62.1 percent. He averaged 3.5 points and 4.1 rebounds last season.
Otule returned for his sixth season with the Golden Eagles after receiving a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA. Despite three previous seasons cut short by injuries, Otule played in 123 career games, 109 as a starter.