Preview week continues on as it is time to dust off the crystal ball from the closet and channel its inner power and make some preseason predictions on who could possibly find their way on to some All-NEC teams and who will take home the major awards at the end of the season.
Only five players from the fifteen players named to the 2013-14 All-NEC teams are returning back for this season meaning there is going to be a lot of opportunities for some new names to get some notoriety for their play. There will also be a new players of the year in all categories with three seniors and a freshman winning the awards last season.
So here are the Blackbirds Hoops Journal’s prediction for the 2014-15 NEC awards beginning with the All-NEC Rookie Team.
All-NEC Rookie Team Predictions
Martin Hermannson – Guard – LIU Brooklyn
Marcquise Reed – Guard – Robert Morris
Marques Townes – Guard – Fairleigh Dickinson
Mawdo Sallah – Forward – Mount St. Mary’s
Nura Zanna – Forward – LIU Brooklyn
It’s never easy to predict who is going to be named to an All-NEC Rookie Team because there is just too many factors going into it. You can predict who is going to get consistent playing time and who is going to make the most of their opportunities. These five for me project to have the most impact for their teams going into the season.
All-NEC Third Team Predictions
Marcus Burton – Sr., Guard – Wagner
De’von Barnett – So., Forward – Sacred Heart
Malik Harmon – So., Guard – Saint Francis (PA)
Joe O’Shea – Sr., Forward – Bryant
Charles Oliver – Sr., Guard – Robert Morris
Barnett and Harmon both were on the 2014 NEC All-Rookie team so I believe both will take the next step as sophomores. Burton will likely led Wagner in scoring and assists. O’Shea will be the number two guy at Bryant behind Dyami Starks. Oliver is my surprise pick. I think he gets the starting nod at shooting guard at RMU and thus finished second in scoring behind Lucky Jones.
All-NEC Second Team Predictions
Gerrell Martin – Sr., Guard – LIU Brooklyn
Phil Gaetano – Sr., Guard – Sacred Heart
Brent Jones – Sr., Guard – St. Francis Brooklyn
Ronnie Drinnon – Jr., Forward – Saint Francis (PA)
Faronte Drakeford – Sr., Forward – Central Connecticut
Gaetano will lead the NEC in assists in his senior year. Martin will lead LIU in scoring and lead the NEC in three-point shooting. Drinnon will finish second in scoring and rebounding for Saint Francis (PA). Jones might have been picked on the first team if there wasn’t already a log jam. Drakeford will increase his 13.4 ppg scoring average from last season.
All-NEC First Team Predictions
Lucky Jones – Sr., Forward – Robert Morris
Dyami Starks – Sr., Guard – Bryant
Jalen Cannon – Sr., Forward – St. Francis Brooklyn
Kyle Vinales – Sr., Guard – Central Connecticut
Earl Brown – Sr., Forward – Saint Francis (PA)
If these five aren’t on the All-NEC First Team at year’s end then one of these five either got an unfortunate injury or underachieved. These five are a near unanimous pick by almost every NEC expert to be on this first team. All five could likely be the top five scorers in the NEC.
NEC Rookie of the Year
Nura Zanna – R-Fr., Forward – LIU Brooklyn
Zanna was a popular pick for this award last season before a wrist injury knocked him out for the entire season. He is got to sit and watch a year and now that he is healthy, I believe he will be the best freshman in what will be a pretty good NEC rookie class.
NEC Most Improved Player of the Year
Dwaun Anderson – Jr., Guard – Wagner
I made this exact same pick last season and Anderson had another underwhelming season. Anderson has the talent and the ability but has yet to become the player everyone thought would take the NEC by storm when he showed up two seasons ago. If it doesn’t breakout this season then it is likely will never be that top line player most people thought he will be. It can’t be all about highlight dunks, his team needs him to produce and I believe he finally will this season.
NEC Defensive Player of the Year
Amdy Fall – Jr., Forward – St. Francis Brooklyn
Fall finished third in the NEC in blocks last season with 1.7 blocks per game. He only play 16.8 minutes per game. He had a 10 block game against Robert Morris last season in one of two games he started. His minutes will likely increase with the departure of Wayne Martin which means more blocks and rebounds for Terrier forward. If he gets starter minutes, he will get this award.
NEC Coach of the Year
Glenn Braica – St. Francis Brooklyn
Braica won this award three seasons ago when he guided the Terriers to a fourth-place finish when they were picked 11th in the preseason coaches poll. Braica has a much better team then he had then but if he gets them to a top two finish, I believe he will once again win this award.
NEC Player of the Year
Jalen Cannon – Sr., Forward, St. Francis Brooklyn
I think this will end up being a two player race between Cannon and RMU’s Lucky Jones and I believe Cannon’s numbers will be good enough to just edge out Cannon for the award. I think Cannon will lead the NEC in rebounding and score over 16 points per game. I predict he will be the first Terrier since 1999 to win the award.
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