Conference player and coach of the year

Updated: March 3, 2011, 3:45 PM ET
By Dick Vitale |

A lot of people have been asking me about my conference player and coach of the year choices. Well, let's break it down with some of the bigger conferences. I will announce my national player and coach of the year early next week.


Player: Nolan Smith, Duke

Coach: Brad Brownell, Clemson

COMMENT: Smith was a slam dunk choice. Brownell has done a solid job at Clemson and he gets the nod over Roy Williams of North Carolina and Steve Donahue in his first year at Boston College.

Atlantic 10

Player: Tu Holloway, Xavier

Coach: Chris Mack, Xavier

COMMENT: It was a tough call between Mack and the coach Fran Dunphy of Temple, but I really like what Mr. Mack has done with the Musketeers.

Big East

Player: Kemba Walker, Connecticut

Coach: Mike Brey, Notre Dame

COMMENT: Compared to all of the other conferences, selecting a coach from this league was the most difficult. You could make a case for Steve Lavin of St. John's or Rick Pitino of Louisville.

Big Ten

Player: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

Coach: Thad Matta, Ohio State

COMMENT: Matta lost the former Player of the Year (Evan Turner) and his Buckeyes will probably have a No. 1 seed at the Big Dance.

Big 12

Player: Jordan Hamilton, Texas

Coach: Bill Self, Kansas

COMMENT: It was a tough decisions here too. Marcus Morris of Kansas is a legit candidate for POY in the league. Colorado head coach Tad Boyle is also worthy of consideration.


Player: Charles Jenkins, Hofstra

Coach: Jim Larranaga, George Mason

COMMENT: Jenkins is unsung in terms of national exposure. Larranaga has done a super job with the Patriots.

Conference USA

Player: Randy Culpepper, UTEP

Coach: Larry Eustachy, Southern Miss.

COMMENT: Culpepper has been remarkable in his senior year. Eustachy has Southern Miss. battling for the top spot in the conference.

Mountain West

Player: Jimmer Fredette, BYU

Coach: Dave Rose, BYU

COMMENT: Fredette is a no-brainer. Rose and San Diego State's Steve Fisher are neck and neck, but the Cougars ability to beat the Aztecs twice is the difference maker.


Player: Derrick Williams, Arizona

Coach: Ben Howland, UCLA

COMMENT: Williams, the high-riser, is a first-team All-American in my book. I gave the slightest of edges to Howland over Arizona coach Sean Miller.


Player: John Jenkins, Vanderbilt

Coach: Anthony Grant, Alabama

COMMENT: Jenkins gets the nod over Terrence Jones of Kentucky and Chandler Parsons of Florida. Grant's team was 5-6 at one point as the Tide have turned things around completely.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to