Saturday, January 23, 2010

Top Men's Players of the League's 1st Half

It's the exact halfway mark of the regular season, as good enough a time as any to take a look at the top players in the conference thus far.

But, first, a note of warning: The following is for entertainment purposes only. Picking all-star teams at the mid-season point is a meaningless exercise, and often bears no resemblance to the true actual post-season selections.

Still, it's fun to consider what has transpired to date. We'll pick two teams for me and, later, two teams for women.

Here are the men's selections...


- Edwin Ubiles, 6-6 senior forward, Siena (15.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists)
He is the leading scorer on the conference's dominant team, has stepped up in key situations and even takes over at point guard to give starter Ronald Moore a rest for several minutes each game.

- Alex Franklin, 6-5 senior forward, Siena (15.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, .57.8 shooting percentage)
A near unstoppable inside force. He is fifth in the league in rebounding and scoring and fifth in field-goal percentage.

- Ryan Rossiter, 6-9 junior center, Siena (13.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, .593 shooting percentage)
The conference's player who averages a double-double, plus his .593 shooting percentage is second-best in the league.

- Ronald Moore, 5-11 senior guard, Siena (7.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists)
He makes Siena go, leads the nation in assists and the conference in assist-turnover ratio with a 2.8 number when the next best in that stat in the league is 1.9.

-Frank Turner, 5-10 senior guard, Canisius (17.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, .523 field-goal percentage)
A do-everything guard who spearheads his team's best start in nine years. Has cut back his turnovers and made drastic improvement in his shooting.

ANALYSIS: It's not likely that four players from the same team will wind up as post-season all-stars; league coaches, who do the voting, tend to share the wealth when it comes to all-star honors. But, for now, who deserves a first-team slot more than any of the four Siena players? Answer: No one.


- Derek Needham, 6-0 point guard, Fairfield (15.5 points, 5.8 assists, 2.0 steals)
The best freshman the conference has seen since Frank Turner and Edwin Ubiles were co-Rookies of the Year after the 2006-07 season. A big reason for the Stags' resurgence.

- Anthony Johnson, 6-8 senior forward, Fairfield (13.8 points, 9.2 reboundsm 2,3 blocks)
Leads the conference in blocks and is No. 3 in rebounding. One of the top two or three inside players in the league, and the conference's most-heartwarming story with his return from severe health problems (blood clots) last season.

- Bilal Benn, 6-5 senior forward, Niagara (14.2 points, 9.9 rebounds)
Niagara is off to a disappointing start, but Benn is putting up his typical numbers including a near-double-double in points and rebounds.

- Tyrone Lewis, 5-11 senior guard, Niagara (17.1 points, 2.8 three-pointers per game, 1.8 steals)
The conference's second-leading scorer, and top long-range marksman.

- Rico Pickett, 6-3 junior guard, Manhattan (17.0 points, 4.2 rebounds)
Third-leading scorer in the conference, he has given the offensively challenged Jaspers enough to keep them competitive in most games.

Coach of the First Half: Fran McCaffery, Siena.
How can you pick against a coach of a team that's unbeaten in conference play thus far?
But ... if you wanted to make a case for John Dunne of Saint Peter's, or Ed Cooley of Fairfield, you wouldn't get much of an argument here.

Player of the First Half: Edwin Ubiles, Siena.
He has just taken over games when needed this season. While others have better stats, no one has had more impact on games this season.

Rookie of the First Half: Derek Needham, Fairfield.
No one is even close.


James said...

You're kidding right? Coach of the year Fran McCafferey? Take a look at Iona's record, oh yeah and their standing in the league. I believe they were picked to finish in the lower half of the league this year. Oh yeah its no big deal that Willard has the team at 7-3 in conference play with a 15-6 overall record. Nevermind that he has gone on the road with a pretty young team and put together wins against Creighton, a team that when they played everyone had high expectations for, and against Providence in Providence. Or the fact that they hung tight with a pretty good Florida State team. While Fran McCafferey although being undefeated in conference play, hasn't lived up to the hype non-confernece with a loss to a St. Johns team they should have beat and a Georgia Tech team they could have beat....but yeah he's TOTALY coach of the year.

Andrew Kahn said...

Well I won't be as sarcastic as James but I'm here to state my case for Coach Willard as well. As an Iona beat writer, however, I am biased. But the fact that the Gaels have really overachieved so far this year is why he'd get my vote. And I'd like to see Iona's Scott Machado in the top 10 as well!

Great work with the blog!

Steve Amedio said...

Can't argue much with the perceptions of Willard, either, although I gave Iona more preseason respect, picking the Gaels to finish sixth, than league coaches gave them.
Here's what I had to say about Iona in early August:
6) Iona. Five returnees who all saw some time in last season's starting lineups, two solid red-shirt freshmen become eligible and four touted freshmen ... if it all comes together, Gaels could be better than this.

Well, it has come together and the Gaels are better than expected. Willard deserves much credit for that.

Obviously, it's going to be a tough decision for top coach if Siena, Fairfield, Saint Peter's and Iona continue having success.

But, my point is that the coach of any team that goes unbeaten in the MAAC, since it has only been done once in the conference's history to date, should be Coach of the Year.

So, check back if Siena loses a game in league play.

Andrew Kahn said...

Good point, Steve. I guess I expect Siena to a lose a game somewhere along the line. Just because you have the best team talent-wise doesn't mean you can't win coach of the year. I just think Willard is doing such a great job with his VERY YOUNG team. But McCaffery is a great coach, too.

Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on the first half. I'd appreciate any feedback so feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me.

Steve Amedio said...

Andrew --

I don't see where we disagree on any of this.
Siena probably won't finish 18-0.
And, who knows what other players will step up over the second half.
I'll take a look at your "report," and get in touch with you at some point.
Thanks for reading