By: Greg Levinsky
All 10 Patriot League teams still hope for an NCAA Tournament appearance, but with the regular season having come and gone it’s time to release my All-Conference teams and major awards. Like last year, I’ll mirror the league’s awards with my own selections the. The official league awards set to release Monday, March 4. Here are my picks.
Player of the Year:
Sa’eed Nelson, American
The conference’s preseason pick for the award, the junior guard has lived up to and even exceeded expectations. He’s second in the conference in scoring (19.5 PPG), fourth in assists (5.3 APG), 10th in rebounds (5.7 RPG) and second in steals (2.4 SPG).
Defensive Player of the Year:
Jehyve Floyd, Holy Cross
The only player to average better than two blocks per game (2.5), Floyd is one of the league’s most physically domineering presences. The 6-foot-8, 240 pound senior center is incredibly athletic and alters seemingly every shot around the rim. He should repeat as Defensive Player of the Year.
Rookie of the Year:
Tucker Richardson, Colgate
With no rookies averaging double figure scoring, this was a tough pick. Richardson established himself as a solid secondary playmaker in the Raiders offense. He’s first among rookies and assists (3.6 APG) and steals (1.3 SPG) and second in scoring (7.7 PPG) and rebounding (4.4 RPG).
Coach of the Year:
Matt Langel, Colgate
Only three teams finished with a winning record in league play, but I like Langel to repeat as Coach of the Year. He helped Colgate close the regular season with eight straight wins, and victories in 11 the last 13 games, including victories over Bucknell and Lehigh. They secured a program record 21 wins and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
First-Team All-Patriot League:
Sa’eed Nelson, American (Jr. G); Andrew Kostecka, Loyola (Jr. G); Kimbal Mackenzie, Bucknell (Sr. G); Max Mahoney, Boston University (Jr. F); Rapolas Ivanauskas, Colgate (Jr. F)
Kostecka was the league’s top scorer at 21.5 points per game. Mahoney (16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds per game, .624 FG%) and Ivanauskas (16.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, .438 3PT FG%) edge out Sestina because of their numbers, and I believe Mackenzie (16.9 PPG) is a slightly more important part of the Bison roster than Sestina.
Second-Team All-Patriot League:
Jordan Burns, Colgate (So. G); Lance Tejada, Lehigh (Sr. G); Kyle Leufroy Lehigh, (Sr. G); Nate Sestina, Bucknell (Sr. F); Jehyve Floyd, Holy Cross (Sr. F)
Truth be told, Jordan Burns is my favorite player in the league. The sophomore averaged 15.7 points, 5.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. He’s a showy lead guard, and had seven games with at least eight assists in conference play. Sestina (15.5 points, 8.4 rebounds per game) had a splendid senior year.
Third-Team All-Patriot League:
Tommy Funk, Army (Jr. G); Justin Jaworski, Lafayette (So. G), Jordan Cohen, Lehigh (Sr. G); Tyler Scanlon, Boston University (Jr. F); Pat Andree, Lehigh (Jr. F)
Funk, a junior lead guard, averaged 12.3 points, 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game for the Black Knights and flies under the radar. Jaworski also blossomed, averaging a team-high 14.4 points good for ninth in the league.
Tucker Richardson, Colgate (G); Jonas Harper, Boston University (G); Alex Vilarino, Boston University (G); John Carter Jr., Navy (G); Jaylin Andrews, Loyola (G)
Carter Jr. averaged 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and was a close second in the Rookie of the Year considerations. They along with BU’s Alex Vilarino really asserted themselves as capable starters in the league, while Harper and Andrews appear to be solid bench threats.
Nelson; Floyd; Kostecka; Hasan Abdullah, Navy (Sr. G); Stacy Beckton Jr., American (So. F)
Abdullah is a tremendous defender of opposing guards. Beckton Jr. is the only player in the league to average at least one block and steal per game.
Greg Levinsky can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky