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2023-24 CoBL Big 5 Awards (MBB)

04/03/2024, 11:15am EDT
By CoBL Staff

CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)

The first year of the new, expanded Big 5 wasn’t a banner one, as all six of the city’s men’s program’s — yeah, yeah, Villanova’s in the suburbs — failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.

And while this might not have been the bounce-back year some expected, there’s no doubt the Big 5 still is home to plenty of top-level talent.

So without further ado, our 2023-24 Big 5 Men’s Basketball Awards:


Villanova's Eric Dixon is the Player of the Year. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

Player of the Year: Eric Dixon (Sr. | Villanova)
Was this Dixon’s last season of hoops in the Philadelphia area? After a standout four-year run at Abington High School and five seasons at Villanova — including three as a full-time starter for the Wildcats — the 6-foot-8 forward might be ready to move onto the professional ranks. If so, he saved his best for last, setting new collegiate career bests in scoring (16.6 ppg), assists (1.7 apg) and foul shooting (86.2%) while his 6.5 rpg was right in line with his last two seasons, doing it all on 46.5% from the floor and 34.6% from 3-point range.

It was an up-and-down season for the Wildcats, who finished in dead last in the Big 5 but somehow found themselves on the NCAA Tournament bubble after beating the likes of UNC, UCLA, Texas Tech and 10 Big East opponents. But Dixon was ‘Nova’s consistent star the whole way through, scoring 20-plus points 12 times, with three double-doubles, including a 34-point, 10-rebound outing in the win over the Tar Heels. If this was indeed the last year we’re going to see the powerful ‘4’ man with a deft touch and inside-out ability on a regular basis locally, he went out with a bang.

First Team

Jhamir Brickus (Sr. | La Salle)
A four-year starter in an Explorers uniform, ‘Jig’ had certainly his best collegiate season as a senior, the Coatesville native almost never leaving the court (36.6 mpg) for head coach Fran Dunphy. Brickus set new career bests in points (13.9/game), assists (4.8/game), rebounds (3.5/game) and 3-point shooting (40% on 150 attempts), shooting 43.3% from the floor and 85.7% from the foul line, another career best. The 5-11 lead guard entered the transfer portal at the beginning of the offseason.

Temple junior Hysier Miller averaged 15.9 ppg this season. (Photo: Gavin Bethell/CoBL)

Hysier Miller (Jr. | Temple)
Until a run to the American Athletic Conference championship game to create some excitement, it was mostly a forgettable season for the Owls in their first season under Adam Fisher. But that wasn’t because of a lack of effort from Miller, the Neumann-Goretti product playing more than 36 mpg in his second year as a full-time starter. He averaged 15.9 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.6 rpg and 1.8 spg, all career bests, and though his shooting numbers for the season weren’t great (29.4% from 3-point range), he hit 37.1% of his 3s over the last 18 games. He’s also in the transfer portal.

Erik Reynolds II (Jr. | St. Joe’s)
The St. Joe’s star guard didn’t quite match his fantastic sophomore year numbers, seeing a slight drop in points (19.6 to 17.3 ppg) and rebounds (3.1 rpg to 2.7 rpg), though his overall shooting splits (.420/.380/.871) were similar to the year before. Reynolds is already 15th all-time in St. Joe’s history in scoring (1,616 points), and Jameer Nelson’s all-time record (2,094) is very much in jeopardy assuming he sticks around for a fourth season. 

Clark Slajchert (Sr. | Penn)
The talented 6-1 guard from Southern California missed seven games in the middle of the season with a sprained ankle, but that wasn’t enough to keep him off the first team. He finished with a city-high 18.0 ppg on terrific splits (.487/.422/.824) plus 3.0 rpg, 2.9 apg and 1.2 spg, all but the free-throw mark career bests for the third-year Quaker. Slajchert, who graduated from Penn after this season but didn’t play his freshman year due to COVID, leaves Penn with 1,030 career points, forced to play his final year elsewhere due to Ivy League graduate student regulations

Amari Williams (Sr. | Drexel)
In four years, Williams went from a little-used backup center to one of the most dominant posts in the CAA. Starting all 32 games as a senior, the 6-10 British big man averaged 12.2 ppg and 7.8 rpg, and he did so while barely playing more than half the game (22.9 mpg). Williams finished with eight double-doubles, including a 21-point, 11-rebound outing against Monmouth, and had multiple blocks in 16 games with a season-high six rejections against Old Dominion. He’s in the transfer portal now with one year left to play.

Second Team

Khalil Brantley (Jr. | La Salle)
The talented 6-1 guard from the Big Apple set new career bests in scoring (15.0/game), rebounds (5.3/game) and assists (4.2/game), doing so on .387/.326/.763 splits. Scored 20-or-more seven times, including a season-high 30-point outing against Southern Indiana. He’s in the transfer portal with one year of eligibility remaining. 

St. Joe's graduate guard Cameron Brown averaged 11.0 ppg this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Cameron Brown (Gr. | St. Joe’s)
Nobody else has played in more Hawks’ games than Brown, who started 135 of the 147 games he appeared in over the last five years. His career averages are impressive: 10.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 31.1 mpg; he was right around them as a senior, averaging 11.0 ppg and 4.1 rpg on .415/.386/.690 splits, giving him 1,547 career points, 17th in program history.

Xzayvier Brown (Fr. | Saint Joseph’s)
Brown was terrific in his first college season, finishing second on the Hawks in scoring (12.7 ppg) while leading them in 3-point shooting (69-of-171, .404) and steals (62), with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.75:1. He looks like he’ll be a star in the Atlantic 10.

Justin Moore (Soph. | Drexel)
The Dragons’ second-year point guard out of Archbishop Wood took a solid step forward, averaging 12.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg and 3.5 apg, numbers which improved during CAA play, including his shooting percentages. His best game was a 34-point outburst against Bryant, and he topped out with seven assists three times; he entered the transfer portal at the conclusion of the season.

Tyler Perkins (Fr. | Penn)
In his one and only year at Penn — Perkins entered the transfer portal almost immediately after the season — the 6-4 guard from Virginia averaged 13.7 ppg and 5.3 rpg, shooting 39.1% overall and 34.7% from 3-point range. Perkins scored 20-or-more five times, including a pair of 25-point outings that were his high-water mark. 

Nick Spinoso (Jr. | Penn)
The 6-9 junior forward had his best season yet in a Quaker uniform, averaging 10.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 3.7 apg, all career bests, while shooting 51 percent from the floor. He also cut down on his fouls from 2.8/game last year to 2.2/game this year, which allowed him to play 28.3 mpg, up from 22.1 mpg a year ago.

Honorable Mention
TJ Bamba (Sr. | Villanova); Sam Brown (Fr. | Penn); Lynn Greer III (Jr. | St. Joe’s); Luke House (Gr. | Drexel); Jordan Riley (Jr. | Temple); Daeshon Shepherd (Jr. | La Salle)


Most Improved Player: Rasheer Fleming (Soph. | St. Joe’s)
From two years ago when he was a senior at Camden to now, Fleming has gone from a raw-but-promising forward into a potential pro prospect at his current trajectory. The versatile 6-9 ‘4’ man started all 35 games for the Hawks this year, averaging 10.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg and 1.5 bpg while improving his ability to stretch the floor (32.4%) and also scoring at a high clip around the bucket (66.0% on 2s). When he was at his best — like a 23-point, nine-rebound, four-block effort on just 10 shots against Davidson — he was a dominant two-way force. Another big step forward this offseason and he could be an A-10 MVP option.

Honorable Mention
Rokas Jocius (Soph. | La Salle), Hysier Miller (Jr. | Temple); Justin Moore (Soph. | Drexel), Daeshon Shepherd (Jr. | La Salle); Nick Spinoso (Jr. | Penn)

St. Joe's freshman guard Xzayvier Brown is the Rookie of the Year. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

Rookie of the Year: Xzayvier Brown (Saint Joseph’s)

Maybe we should have seen this coming. After all, in a standout four-year career at Roman Catholic, Brown didn’t just prove he was one of the most talented players around; he also showed he was mature, composed, hard-working and coachable, all qualities that bode well at the next level. The 6-2 guard wasted no time showing he was ready to be a major part of the Hawks’ plans, scoring 21 points in his third collegiate game, one of two dozen double-digit scoring outings on the year. For the season, Brown averaged 12.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 3.3 apg in 35 games (13 starts), hitting 40.4% of his 3-point attempts, and looks set to have a special career on Hawk Hill.

Honorable Mention
Sam Brown (Penn); Christ Essandoko (Saint Joseph’s); Tyler Perkins (Penn); Tunde Vahlberg Fasasi (La Salle)


Coach of the Year: Zach Spiker, Drexel

For the first time in 15 seasons as a head coach, including the last eight at Drexel, Spiker guided a team to a 20-win season, the Dragons finishing 20-12 after a double-OT loss to Stony Brook in the CAA quarterfinals. Drexel finished 13-5 in the CAA’s regular season, the Dragons’ second-place finish their best since winning the regular-season title in 2011-12. Spiker built a rotation that went nine deep down the stretch run, and he utilized his depth better than any other coach in the city. For that, he’s our pick for Coach of the Year.

Honorable Mention: Billy Lange, Saint Joseph’s

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