This past week’s Wednesday and Thursday games marked the midway point of the Northeast Conference men’s basketball season. With a good sample size of eight league games plus adding in the non-conference games, it is a good time to see who are some of the front runners for the league’s conference awards according to myself with one month of the regular season remaining.
So with that, let’s get to it. First off, here are my mid-season front runners for NEC All-Rookie Team:
Guard – Quincy McKnight – Sacred Heart
Guard – Isaiah Blackmon – Saint Francis U.
Guard – Austin Nehls – Central Connecticut State
Forward – Marcel Pettway – Bryant
Forward – Mike Holloway – Fairleigh Dickinson
Players still in the running: Isaiah Still – Robert Morris, Nisre Zouzoua, – Bryant, Josh Nebo – Saint Francis U.
The one player currently on this list that could possibly get bumped off is Quincy McKnight. He missed the last two games serving a team suspension for violating team rules and his return is unknown. The more time he misses, the greater he hurt his chances for not just All-NEC Rookie Team but NEC Rookie of the Year as well. We’ll wait and see how that unfolds. Other than that, I think these are the five leading the pack.
My top 15 mid-season NEC players and where they might fall in the All-NEC peaking order:
Chris Hooper – St. Francis Brooklyn (Third)
Junior Robinson – Mount St. Mary’s (Third)
Ronnie Drinnon – Saint Francis U. (Third)
Elijah Minnie – Robert Morris (Third)
Earl Potts Jr. – Fairleigh Dickinson (Third)
Greg Brown – Saint Francis U. (Second/Third)
Ben Millaud-Meunier – Saint Francis U. (Second/Third)
Martin Hermannsson – LIU Brooklyn (Second)
Corey Henson – Wagner (Second/First)
Hunter Ware – Bryant (Second)
Darian Anderson (Second/First)
Cane Broome – Sacred Heart (First)
Rodney Pryor – Robert Morris (First)
Jerome Frink – LIU Brooklyn (First)
BK Ashe – Mount St. Mary’s (First)
I decided to just do a mid-season top 15 list instead of just doing the three mid-season All-NEC teams. That can wait until March although I did put what team I feel each guy will land once the season is over. The players with more than one are on the bubble for the higher team. This list is far from being locked in stone so I definitely expect some more movement in the next four weeks.
Mid-season Most Improved Player:
Earl Potts Jr. – Fairleigh Dickinson
Players still in the running: Corey Henson – Wagner, Martin Hermannsson – LIU Brooklyn
I believe Earl Potts Jr. is slightly ahead of both Henson and Hermannsson although that grip to this award is starting to slip some based on his last four games while the other two are making hard charges. It will interesting to see if he can hold on.
Mid-season Defensive Player of the Year:
Amdy Fall – St. Francis Brooklyn
Players still in the running: Jerome Frink – LIU Brooklyn, Elijah Minnie – Robert Morris
Although Fall isn’t putting on the lofty block numbers he put up a season ago, he is still at the top of the NEC blocks list with 44 and ninth in the league in rebounding. Frink defensive numbers are not to be ignored even though his team overall is defensively-challenged. Frink currently is first in rebounding average, second in total rebounds, tied for tenth in steals and fourth in blocks. Minnie is tenth in rebounding, and tied with Fall for blocks per games and trail Fall by just two in total blocks. This one could go down to the wire.
Mid-season NEC Rookie of the Year:
Marcel Pettway – Bryant
Player still in the running: Quincy McKnight – Sacred Heart, Isaiah Blackmon – Saint Francis U.
We mentioned earlier regarding McKnight which leads me to believe barring something unfortunate, Pettway should get the nod. He has already been named NEC Rookie of the Week five times this season, two more than McKnight.
Mid-season NEC Coach of the Year:
Greg Herenda – Fairleigh Dickinson
Coaches in the running: Bashir Mason – Wagner, Rob Krimmel – Saint Francis U.
Herenda has his FDU team tied for first-place with Wagner and Mount St. Mary’s at 7-4. FDU was picked ninth in the NEC men’s basketball preseason poll back in October. Herenda has the youngest team in the NEC in contention for a number one seed for the upcoming NEC tournament. That is remarkable. Can they keep it going in the second half will be the question.
Mid-season NEC Co-Players of the Year:
Cane Broome – Sacred Heart and Rodney Pryor – Robert Morris
That’s right, co-players of the year. Listen, both guys have played outstanding so far and really these are the only two players in contention for this award come March unless something unforeseen happens. I could totally see a split NEC player of the year come March if these guys continue to play at the level they are currently playing at. Both are the engines of their teams, take them out and you don’t want to know what will happen. That is who important these two guys are. With numbers like these for both guys, you just can’t pick one at the moment.
February will be fun seeing how both of these guys fare.
Mid-season Shot of the Year:
Fairleigh Dickinson’s Darian Anderson fadeaway game-winner against LIU Brooklyn just this past Saturday.
Bryant’s Shane McLaughlin game-winner against St. Francis Brooklyn
Mid-season Block of the Year:
FDU’s Marques Townes gets the huge block on SFU’s Ronnie Drinnon to preserve the win.
Mid-season Dunk of the Year:
Robert Morris’ Rodney Pryor over LIU Brooklyn’s Nura Zanna
I was sitting courtside on that one!
These two next plays happened in non-conference but deserve acknowledgement because both were awesome!!!
Non-conference Dunk of the Year:
Wagner’s Dwaun Anderson versus Rider
Non-conference Play of the Year:
LIU Brooklyn’s opening game win vs Loyola (MD). Frink’s block and Hermannsson’s pass lead to Hernandez’s game-winning bank shot from three.
That’s it for now, let’s see if these mid-season winners hold up and reach the finish line for the 2016 BHJ’s NEC Postseason Awards in March.