For almost as far back as they have all been playing basketball ... and that has been a long time ... the Western New York basketball programs of Canisius, Niagara and Saint Bonaventure have had an affiliation, of sorts, although they have never been together in a league structure.
Yet, they had been "The Little Three," until, several years back, the University of Buffalo joined the Division basketball ranks. Now, Canisius and Niagara of the MAAC, St. Bona's of the Atlantic 10 and Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference are known as "The Big Four."
It is a nice moniker for teams from the same proximity and helps promote college basketball in the Western New York area.
The four-team affiliation even has a formal "media day" (something the MAAC discontinued this season), and had its earlier this week at a downtown Buffalo pub location.
One of the featured presentations is the announcement of the preseason "Big 4" all-star teams, and the MAAC was well represented. Votinng for the teams was done by members of the school's respective athletic communications offices and local media.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Your Hoopscribe has been campaigning for years to allow media who regularly cover the MAAC to vote on pre- and post-season all star selections. Instead, all pre- and post-season awards are determined by a vote of coaches. And, past history has shown that not all coaches are objective in their selections.)
On the men's side, Juan'ya Green and Antoine Mason of Niagara, and Harold Washington of Canisius were named to the first team. Billy Brown and Alshwan Hymes of Canisius were selected to the second team. Buffalo's Javon McCrae was named the Big Four's preseason Player of the Year.
On the women's side, Niagara's Kayla Stroman was picked as the preseason Player of the Year, and joined on the first team by teammate Lauren Gatto as well as Jamie Ruttle of Canisius.
Second-team picks for the women's preseason all-star squad include Ashley Durham and Kayla Hoohuli of Canisius and Meghan McGuinness of Niagara.