Monday, February 27, 2012

One Opinion on Men's Individual Award Picks

You can find the league all-star and all-rookie teams for both men and women at the conference's on-line site,

Those were announced earlier today, and your Hoopscribe has very little argument with any of the coaches' choices.

League individual honors, however, won't be revealed until the envelopes are opened at the conference's post-season awards' ceremony in Springfield, Mass., on Thursday night.

Here's one opinion on who should win the men's top awards:


THE CONTENDERS:  Really, only two: Siena's Evan Hymes, the highest-scoring freshman in the program's history; and Niagara's Juan'ya Green, who not only lead his team in scoring but finished third in the conference.

THE PICK: Fairly close, but Green should get it. Hymes' teammate, Kyle Downey, said Siena might not have won a game this season were it not for Hymes. And, if the award went to the most valuable freshman, the decision here might have been reverse. But, the award is meant to go to the best freshman player, and Green scored more points than Hymes (17.5 ppg. to 13.9), had more rebounds (3.2 to 1.6), more assists (135 to 100) and more steals (57 to 33).


THE CONTENDERS: Tim Cluess of Iona, Steve Masiello of Manhattan, Jimmy Patsos of Loyola, Those are the coaches of the teams that earned the top three seeds for the post-season tournament. Tommy Dempsey, whose Rider team started 1-10 and, then, went 12-8 down the stretch (including victories over Loyola and Fairfield on the league's final weekend); and Siena's Mitch Buonaguro, who team basically used just six players the whole season but beat Iona, Fairfield and Manhattan during the regular season and far exceeded expectations, should also gain some consideration.

THE PICK: Manhattan's Masiello in a close call over Loyola's Patsos. Masiello's team finished the regular season with a 20-11 record, a 14-victory improvement over last season which was the greatest positive upswing of all Division I programs this season. Masiello brought enthusiasm and an up-tempo playing style to restore some luster that had been lost within the Jasper program in recent years.


THE CONTENDERS: Siena's junior forward O.D. Anosike, Iona's senior guard Scott Machado and Manhattan's junior swingman George Beamon. We could see Beamon's emergence coming and, in the preseason, predicted he would lead the league in scoring. And, he did. Anosike, though, leads the nation in rebounding (12.9) and Machado leads the nation in assists (10.1).

THE PICK: In just about any other season, the second MAAC player to ever lead the country in rebounding (Fairfield's Darren Phillip in 1996-97 was the other) would be an overwhelming choice. But, this year is different. Machado was a very good player at this level in the past, but became more of a facilitator and a leader this season. In the process he pushed himself into the upper echelon of point guards nationally at any level of play and a potential NBA first-round draft choice. Machado should be a relatively clear choice as this year's Player of the Year.

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