A recent post about the Downey brothers' (Kevin of Canisius and Kyle of Siena) work to help earn an Empire State Games' gold medal for their Western region team recently, also included this blogger's comment that the brothers are probably the second family of the MAAC, next to the Thompson brothers of Rider.
But, your blogger's memory must be slipping, a fact brought to my attention by friend and astute MAAC observer Jerry Sherry. Jerry pointed out that it might be the Burtts, father and son, who hold the mythical title of "First Family of the MAAC."
At worse, Steve Burtt Sr. (at Iona fromn 1980-'84) and Steve Burtt Jr. (2002-06) are in the conversation that includes only two families.
An interesting debate, for sure, and one could easily opine either way. But I'll still rank Jason and Ryan Thompson as the conference's best "family" with the Burtts not very far behind. Close enough for them to be No. 1 and No. 1A.
Personal observation ... the proverbial "eye-ball test" ... leads me to that conclusion, and I've been around long enough to have seen all four individuals play.
The numbers, too, seem to slightly favor the Thompsons, as does post-college achievements.
Anyway, the numbers ...
Steve Burtt Sr. scored 2,534 career points at Iona, but his his freshman year (1980-81) took place before the MAAC was formed. Statistically, then, the elder Burtt only scored 2,153 of his points while playing in the MAAC, still the fifth-best total all time.
Burtt Jr. finished with 2,034 points, 10th best all-time among conference players.
Otherwise, neither Burtt was anywhere near the all-time leaders in other statistics. Both were prototypical shooting guards. When they got the ball each's primary duty was to score.
Each was a decent rebounder for the guard spot. Senior finished with 419 rebounds, junior with 378. Neither one was an overly efficient ball-hander. Senior had 301 assists against 419 career turnovers. Junior was better withh 261 assists vs. 310 turnovers.
The Thompsons weren't quite the equal to the Burtts in points, but have the edge in most other stats.
Jason, the 6-foot-11 center (2003-07), finished with 2,040 points, 9th best all time for conference players, ; Ryan, a the 6-6 swingman (2006-10), finished with 1,879 points (16th best).
Jason Thompson finished with 1,171 career rebounds (2nd in conference history); Ryan finished with 734 (27th).
Jason also had 235 career blocks, the second-highest total in MAAC history. Ryan, who often handled the ball for Rider, had 393 career assists against 305 turnovers, a decent assist-to-turnover ratio.
Jason and Ryan were both two-time first-team all-MAAC picks. Burtt Jr. was a first-team member once. Burtt Sr. was a three-time first-teamer, but the conference picked 12 first-teamers in his sophomore season and 10 when he was a junior.
Jason Thompson, who has two solid NBA seasons to his credit thus far, is arguably the best "big man" to ever play in the MAAC (we won't consider the 6-7 Lionel Simmons as a true big man). Neither of the Burtts is considered, at least by this blogger, the best ever at the guard spot in conference history.
Burtt Sr. also played in the NBA, 101 games over four seasos (averaging 11.2 minutes and 5.8 p0ints per game), but his post-college career doesn't match Jason Thompson's.
Burtt Jr. has been playing professionally oversees. Ryan Thompson probably will, too, although he's been playing in NBA summer leagues in recent weeks.
Bottom line, though, is that the mythical title of the MAAC's "First Family" makes for an interesting summer debate.
The opinion here, though, is that the Thompsons rate a slight edge over the Burtts.