Oct. 21, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) -Notre Dame senior forward Luke Harangody joined Georgetown great Patrick Ewing as the only players to be chosen Big East preseason player of the year more than once.

The 6-foot-8 Harangody, who led the conference in scoring last season and was second in rebounding, was picked by the league's coaches on Wednesday. He was the Big East player of the year as a sophomore and was the preseason choice last season.

Ewing was the preseason choice of the coaches three times, the last as a senior in 1984-85.

Villanova, coming off its first Final Four appearance in 25 years, was the pick in the preseason poll with West Virginia second and Connecticut third. They were the only schools to receive first-place votes from the 16 coaches.

Harangody averaged 23.3 points and 11.8 rebounds as a first-team all-conference pick last season. Joining him on the six-man preseason first team were seniors Deonta Vaughn of Cincinnati, Lazar Hayward of Marquette, Scottie Reynolds of Villanova and Da'Sean Butler of West Virginia, and sophomore Greg Monroe of Georgetown.

Lance Stephenson of Cincinnati was selected preseason rookie of the year.

Villanova, which received 10 first-place votes, was the preseason pick for the first time since 2005-06, the first season the Big East had 16 members.

West Virginia's placing is its highest since joining the conference in 1995-96. The Mountaineers had five first-place votes.

Connecticut, which also reached the Final Four last season, received one first-place vote. Louisville, the defending regular-season and tournament champion, was fourth followed by Georgetown, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, St. John's, Marquette, Providence, South Florida, Rutgers and DePaul.

The Big East had a record three No. 1 seeds in last season's NCAA tournament - Connecticut, Louisville and Pittsburgh - and had seven schools receive bids, joining the Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference for most in the field of 65.