2015 BHJ’s NEC Postseason Awards

With another exciting Northeast Conference men’s basketball regular season now in the books, it is time to get ready to hand out some imaginary hardware.

Coming into this season, there were a handful of players who we knew would have outstanding seasons and lead their teams to great success. Yet, there was a lot of unknown with the large amount of turnover the NEC had after last season with many of their stars graduating and a lot of new faces entering the conference.

But the season once again showed it is good to have star players on your team and this season in particular showed that there is a lot of good talent that is going to be around for the next few years.

So let’s get started! Here are my picks for All-NEC teams, NEC Rookie of the Year, NEC Most Improved Player of the Year, NEC Defensive Player of the Year, NEC Coach of the Year and NEC Player of the Year.

BHJ’s All-NEC Third Team

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Graphic courtesy of Basketball State (bbstate.com)

BHJ’s All-NEC Second Team

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Graphic courtesy of Basketball State (bbstate.com)

BHJ’s All-NEC First Team

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Graphic courtesy of Basketball State (bbstate.com)

Before I get to my All-NEC First Team, putting together the All-NEC Third team was by far the toughest task. I started out having seven players for five spots. After doing some comparables, I had to reluctantly eliminate Bryant’s Joe O’Shea and FDU’s Mustafaa Jones from the list. I was also reluctant to put two freshman on the All-NEC second team. RMU’s Marcquise Reed is deserving of not just second team but probably even first team but with five worthy upperclassmen on the first team, second team it is for Reed. Originally, I had Cane Broome on my All-NEC third team but his numbers were so good and his impact to Sacred Heart was so great, I had to move him up to second team. Now, to my All-NEC First Team:

Jalen Cannon (F) St. Francis Brooklyn – The best forward this season in all of the NEC by far. A double-double machine, Cannon collected 18 double-doubles this season. Even more impressive, he fouled out just once the entire season and didn’t get four fouls in any game this season with the exception of the game he fouled out in. That is truly remarkable especially in the NEC. He finished the regular season averaging a double-double 16.5 ppg and 10.2 rpg. You can go on and on about this guy. One of the best players in NEC history.

Brent Jones (G) St. Francis Brooklyn – I have to issue a personal apology to Brent Jones. Watching him play in his freshman and sophomore years, I thought his game was a determinant to his team. He was a turnover machine who couldn’t shoot and I thought the Terriers wouldn’t win with him. Well, I was wrong. He turned it around his junior year in a big way and was the best point guard in the NEC in his senior year. His game improved dramatically in his final two seasons and is one of the reasons why the Terriers were the best team in the NEC this season.

Earl Brown (F) Saint Francis U. – Brown has been a steadily improving force for the Red Flash throughout his career. Each year, he got better and better and this season will post career-highs in nearly all major categories. Without Brown to help lead the way for this veteran SFU team, this would probably be a team that struggle to even get into the NEC tournament. He posted eleven double-doubles this season. Well deserving of this spot.

Marcus Burton (G) Wagner – It is safe to say, if Wagner didn’t have Marcus Burton on their team this season, they wouldn’t be playing this week in the NEC tournament. There is no doubt in my mind. Burton is currently second in the NEC in scoring at 17.5 ppg. He had thirteen games this season in which he scored twenty or more points in a game and three times he went for over thirty points.

Dyami Starks (G) Bryant – It is no secret that Dyami Starks is a volume shooter and is part of the reason why he leads the NEC in scoring this season at 18.5 ppg. Yet, Starks has had an outstanding senior year to go with an outstanding three-year career at Bryant. He is Bryant’s go-to scorer and although he can be very streaky shooting the ball, there is no doubt he is one of the most feared shooters in the NEC. Ten times this season he scored over twenty points in a game. He also rarely comes out of the game, six times this season he played the full forty minutes. You have to give Starks his due.

BHJ’s All-NEC Rookie Team

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Graphic courtesy of Basketball State (bbstate.com)

BHJ’s NEC Rookie of the Year

Marcquise Reed (G) Robert Morris – It is incredible how RMU’s head coach Andy Toole does it. He loses one of the best pure shooters in the NEC last season in Karvel Anderson and he goes out and finds another great shooter to replace him. Reed is as impressive a freshman I have seen come into the NEC since Kyle Vinales stormed into conference for Central Connecticut three seasons ago. Reed’s shooting numbers are insane for any class but for a freshman it is almost hard to comprehend. He is shooting 50% from the field, for a guard! He is shooting 42.4% from three this season, for a freshman! He is second in the NEC in steals, he is first in the NEC in points scored over 40 minutes at 21.7 points per 40 minutes. Nine times scored at least 20 points in a game. He has had just a remarkable freshman campaign and will likely be a preseason All-NEC team selection next season.

BHJ’s NEC Most Improved Player

Matt Mobley (G) Central Connecticut – No player is more worthy of this award than CCSU’s Matt Mobley. Mobley averaged a respectable 6.7 ppg in his freshman year last season. This season, he had to take over the scoring load with no Kyle Vinales (0 games) or Malcolm McMillian (2 games) available and he nearly tripled his scoring output to 17.1 ppg. He started his season by scoring 30 points vs Fairfield and went from there. Eleven times this season he went for at least 20 points in a game and four times he scored at least 30 points in a game. He shot 40% from the floor and nearly 36% from three while playing the second most minutes of any player in the NEC. Quite a remarkable season for the sophomore.

BHJ’s Defensive Player of the Year

Amdy Fall (F) St. Francis Brooklyn – Another reason for the amazing season the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers are having is due to play of junior forward Amdy Fall. Fall came into the NEC last season with a bit of reputation for being a strong interior defender and rebounder. He put that on display last season and this season, he took his defensive game to a new level. He is first in the NEC in blocks at 3.0 blocks per game. He almost doubles the next player on the list in blocks in the conference. It is not only that he blocks shots and play good interior defense, he gets timely blocks at crucial times and gets them in bunches. Eleven times this season he got at least four blocks in a game and twice got as high as six blocks in a game. No other player in the NEC has more than four games of at least four blocks this season. He is also a good rebounder and twice collected ten rebounds in a game. Hands down the best defensive player in the NEC this season.

BHJ’s NEC Coach of the Year

Glenn Braica – St. Francis Brooklyn – This was easily the hardest award to determine. There was several worthy candidates this season but in the end, St. Francis Brooklyn’s Glenn Braica deserves the honor. Braica coached a team that even though they were picked to win the NEC by the NEC coaches in the preseason, he did win unexpectedly dominating fashion in getting his team to a 15-3 mark in conference. He guided them to 21 wins in the regular season and that was after starting the season 0-5. It is never easy to finish on top when you have to the expectation to be the best but Braica did an outstanding job all season long of managing expectations and taking the pressure off his team even as the attention and notoriety kept building as they kept winning and winning.

BHJ’s NEC Player of the Year

Jalen Cannon (F) St. Francis Brooklyn – If there was really any doubt of who else it could really be. As I alluded to earlier, Cannon dominated through the NEC this season averaging a double-double for the season in points and rebounds. He led the NEC in double-doubles this season. He became the NEC’s all-time career rebounding leader and also became St. Francis Brooklyn’s all-time career scoring leader as well. He does all his damage without fouling much. He turned himself from just a dominating rebounder to an insider-outside scoring threat to go with his tremendous rebounding. He has had an amazing career at St. Francis Brooklyn for a player that was very likely recruited coming out of high school and will look to end it with getting his team into the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever in program history.


  1. Thanks Nelly Great job Good luck to the Blackbirds Wednesday evening

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