Saturday, June 26, 2010

Many from MAAC in Upstate N.Y. Hall

The Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame might only be in its second year of existence, but it has already gone a long way to honor top hoopsters from the upstate New York region.

And, a good deal of those being inducted in a class of 50 Sunday night (June 27) have Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference connections.

The hall is directed by local businessman Rene LeRoux, who also just completed a book about the history of basketball at Siena. This year's event, which still has a limited number of tickets available at the door ($75 per person), is being held at the Crowne Plaza in Albany with a reception from 4 to 6:30 p.m. and dinner and ceremonies to follow.

All individuals selected to the Hall must have played high school basketball in New York's Capital Region.

Here's a list of this year's inductees who have touched the MAAC:

- Kashif Hameed; A 6-8 forward who was the MAAC's Player of the Year in 1998 at Iona, where he scored 1,276 career points and blocked 209 shots.

- Lucious Jordan: A 6-2 guard who played a season at Loyola and made the MAAC's all-Rookie team there before he transferred to the University at Albany.

- John Leonard: A 6-4 guard, he was a two-time team MVP at Manhattan College who was a senior in the MAAC's inaugural season (1981-82), and was a 10th--round draft pick of the NBA New York Knicks. Leonard later coached at Manhattan.

- Corey Osinski: A 6-7 forward and second-team all-MAAC player in 1999 and 2000 and the leading rebounder at Siena in both of those seasons. Also the MAAC's scholar-athlete of the year in 2000.

- Jeff Robinson: A versatile 6-6 swingman who still stands seventh in career scoring at Siena (1,657 points), 17th in rebounding and 14th in assists. He was a key member of Siena's first NCAA tournament team (1988-89, a year before Siena joined the MAAC), and that team knocked off 13th-ranked Stanford in a first-round game, still the biggest victory (in this blogger's opinion) in the history of the Siena program.

- Michelle Collins: A 5-6 point guard who graduated in 1992 and remains Siena's career leader in assists (4.98). Her career average of 5.69 assists per game is tied for the top spot in MAAC history. She is currently an assistant coach at Siena.

- Katelyn Dooley: A 5-9 guard who graduated from Siena in 2007 after scoring 1,111 career points there.

- Heather Fiore: A 5-2 guard who graduated from Canisius in 1997 as its career scoring leader (1,949 points), which is now No. 2 at that program and No. 6 in MAAC history. She is still No. 2 in career assists for the Golden Griffins (586).

- Mary Fuchs: A 5-8 guard who scored 1,106 points and had 680 rebounds for Siena before her 1991 graduation.

- Val Higgins-O'Dell: A 6-1 center who finished with 1,137 points and 683 rebounds prior to her 1991 graduation from Siena.

- Jolene Johnston: A 5-9 forward who was a first-team all-MAAC player as a Siena senior (2004), as well as the conference's Defensive Player of the Year that season. She played in more winning games than any player in Siena history and is currently an assistant coach with the Saints.

- Heidi Harkins: A 5-9 guard who graduated from Siena (1984) with 1,106 career points and 241 career steals.

There are also several players who were members of current MAAC teams before their respective schools joined the conference, or before the conference was formed. They include:

- Fred Daniels, a Siena point guard (1981 grad).
- Billy Harrell, a 1952 Siena grad and arguably the best athlete in school history.
- Rod Owens, a 6-7 power forward at Siena (1980 grad).
- Fred Shear, a 6-3 guard who graduated (1973) as Siena's leading scorer.
- Nancy Egerton, a 1981 Niagara grad where she remains fourth in career points (1,585).
- Cathy Rousseau-Boland, a 1982 Siena grad who had 1,001 points, 725 rebounds and 230 steals at Siena.

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