MORGANTOWN - That West Virginia has been and probably will be shut out of the Big East's major awards this season should come as no surprise to anyone.
Kevin Jones was relegated to honorable mention status when the all-league teams were announced Sunday. That's probably about right.
When the coach of the year and player of the year and such are announced between sessions of the opening round of the Big East tournament today at Madison Square Garden, don't hold your breath.
And when the defensive player of the year was announced Monday and it was Syracuse center Rick Jackson, well, it's hard to do much of a double take there. The guy did lead the league in blocked shots and rebounds (both offensive and defensive).
Chances are, though, that Bob Huggins would have to think long and hard before trading one of his own players for Jackson. Oh, sure, Huggins always has and always will covet big, strong post players who can cover up defensive mistakes elsewhere, and if he had a chance to put Jackson in the middle of his own defense he'd do so in a heartbeat.
Still, without trying to turn this into an issue, Huggins - long before the awards were announced - made a pretty good case for his own John Flowers as the best defensive player in the Big East.
"He's what, second in the league in blocked shots?'' Huggins asked, merely as precursor to the real point he would like to make. "But he's the only guy in the league that can go out and guard Kemba Walker, then the next night go inside and guard Terrence Jennings.''
Indeed, you're not going to get that from Rick Jackson or anyone else.
None of which is meant to disparage Jackson, of course. But there just aren't many players in the Big East - or in the country, for that matter - who are equipped to do what Flowers does. He's 6-foot-7, athletic, has enough quickness and length to guard on the perimeter and just enough size and length to guard along the baseline or in the post.
Let's face it, from a purely defensive standpoint he's Devin Ebanks with a better knack for blocking shots. Ebanks filled the same role for West Virginia last season, guarding the best player on the opposing team, regardless of whether it was a shooting guard, a forward or someone in the paint.
Ebanks wasn't the defensive player of the year in the league, either, but he - like Flowers this season - might well have been most valuable defender.
Part of it is a team thing, of course.
"There are a lot of good defensive players out there, but most players think about offense first,'' Flowers said. "They don't value defense like Coach Huggins' teams do. We don't like to get scored on.''