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Kassoum Yakwe Named to BIG EAST All-Freshman Team

Kassoum Yakwe (Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

Kassoum Yakwe (Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)


St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe, from Bamako, Mali, was named to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team, announced on Sunday by the league. Yakwe is the 18th player in the program history to receive this honor since the conference was formed back in 1979. The 6-foot-7 freshman averaged 7.1 points and 5.5 rebounds, and led the BIG EAST with 2.7 blocks per game.

Yakwe appeared in 25 games for St. John’s and started the last 15 regular-season games. He made a name for himself in the St. John’s record book with 65 blocks, which are the eight-most for a single season. Yakwe’s seven blocks versus Marquette on Jan. 24 were the most by a BIG EAST player this season.

Only four games into his collegiate career, Yakwe had a remarkable performance against Syracuse that helped the Red Storm secure an 84-72 victory on Dec. 13 at Madison Square Garden. Yakwe posted 15 points, making 5-of-6 free-throws, and blocked two shots in the winning effort.

In BIG EAST play, Yakwe recorded five of his six double-figure scoring performances and had two double-doubles. In the Red Storm’s game against Seton Hall on Feb. 21, he posted a career-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and had a career-best 15 rebounds along with four blocks. Over the course of this season’s conference action, Yakwe increased his production on both ends of the court, averaging 7.5 points on 45.5 percent shooting, 6.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.

Yakwe was one of three St. John’s freshmen to collect a BIG EAST weekly award this season. On Feb. 22, he was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll after averaging 13.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in the team’s games against DePaul and Seton Hall. He also shot a team-high 60.0 percent from the field, converting 12-of-20 field goal attempts in both of those games. Yakwe had back-to-back double-doubles, including the first of his college career with 11 points and 11 rebounds to help St. John’s to an 80-65 win over the Blue Demons on Feb. 17 at Carnesecca Arena.

The BIG EAST Freshman of the Year will come from the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team. The conference will announce the Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Coach of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, March 9. The announcement will be made on the first day of the BIG EAST Championship Presented by the Jeep brand at Madison Square Garden at 4:30 p.m.

St. John’s (8-23) enters the BIG EAST Tournament as the No. 10 seed and will face No. 7 Marquette (19-12) in the first round Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on FS1.

Henry Ellenson, Marquette, F, Fr., 6-11, 245, Rice Lake, Wis.
*Ben Bentil, Providence, F, So., 6-9, 235, Wilmington, Del.
*Kris Dunn, Providence, G, Jr., 6-3, 205, New London, Conn.
*Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall, G, So., 6-4, 210, Brooklyn, N.Y.
*Josh Hart, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-5, 202, Silver Spring, Md.
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, G, So., 6-6, 208, Indianapolis, Ind.

Roosevelt Jones, Butler, F, Sr., 6-4, 225, O’Fallon, Ill.
Kelan Martin, Butler, F, So., 6-6, 235, Louisville, Ky.
Maurice Watson, Jr., Creighton, G, Jr., 5-10, 170, Philadelphia, Pa.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown, G, Sr., 6-3, 215, Indianapolis, Ind.
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-3, 195, Langhorne, Pa.

Kellen Dunham, Butler, G, Sr., 6-6, 200, Pendleton, Ind.
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, F, So., 6-9, 245, Bajos De Haina, Dominican Rep.
Daniel Ochefu, Villanova, F, Sr., 6-11, 245, Baltimore, Md.

Eli Cain, DePaul, G, Fr., 6-6, 202, Willingboro, N.J.
Jessie Govan, Georgetown, C, Fr., 6-10, 270, Queens Village, N.Y.
Haanif Cheatham, Marquette, G, Fr., 6-5, 190, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
*Henry Ellenson, Marquette, F, Fr., 6-11, 245, Rice Lake, Wis.
Kassoum Yakwe, St. John’s, F, Fr., 6-7, 205, Bamako, Mali
*Jalen Brunson, Villanova, Fr., G, 6-2, 199, Lincolnshire, Ill.
*Edmond Sumner, Xavier, G, Fr., 6-6, 183, Detroit, Mich.

*Denotes unanimous selection.
^Due to a tie in the voting, additional positions were named.

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