Friday, April 12, 2013

2013 Metro Area Award Winners

Monday night at the Westchester Marriott will feature the annual MBWA Haggerty Awards dinner, an event in which anyone and everyone in the New York basketball media attends, and one in which we are extremely honored to make our first appearance at just three days from today.  With that in mind, we would be remiss if we did not offer our own metropolitan area awards, a list that several readers have asked about over the past month, and one that was intended to be released after the national championship.  Well, Rick Pitino and Louisville cut down the nets in Atlanta earlier this week, so without any further ado, we give you our own honorees in the Big Apple for the 2012-13 campaign:
Haggerty Award (Player of the Year) - Lamont "Momo" Jones (G - Iona) (Photo courtesy of Iona College)
2012-13 Stats: 22.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 44% FG, 89% FT, 32% 3pt
Jones becomes the second straight Iona guard to be honored with this award in this space, as his former teammate Scott Machado received this title a year ago.  Machado's departure allowed Jones to move back to the point guard position for the Gaels this season, and the Harlem product did not disappoint, ranking in the top five in the nation in scoring throughout the season, ultimately finishing third behind Erick Green of Virginia Tech and Creighton's Doug McDermott.  Already the recipient of MAAC Player of the Year and MAAC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors this season, Jones has been invited to the Portsmouth Invitational in an effort to improve his NBA Draft stock, and has too many highlight reel performances to mention in a season capped off by a 35-point effort off the bench against Loyola and a 33-point performance in the MAAC quarterfinals against Canisius in which he battled a 102-degree fever, but managed to score nearly half of those 33 in the final seven minutes, including eight in the final 3:09 to start the Gaels' eventual run to a second straight NCAA Tournament.

Rookie of the Year - Jameel Warney (F - Stony Brook) (Photo courtesy of Newsday)
2012-13 Stats: 12.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 62% FG, 56% FT
We're prepared for any and all criticism we might (and expect to) receive as a result of selecting Warney for this honor over JaKarr Sampson of St. John's, but Stony Brook's big freshman was a more efficient contributor on both ends of the ball, and more than held his own against stiffer competition whereas Sampson sometimes looked hesitant in the moment of truth against stronger teams for the Red Storm.  Described by head coach Steve Pikiell as someone who had "seen it all" during the Seawolves' nonconference schedule, Warney's progression continued during the America East season; and along with Tommy Brenton, the New Jersey native became an integral part in securing a regular season conference championship for Stony Brook en route to the program's first postseason win at the Division I level.  Warney's 62 percent shooting from the field does more than just peg him as a smart and efficient shot taker, it also positions him as someone whose on-court awareness is greater than those who have been competing at the same level longer, despite only a few months in the collegiate ranks.

Most Improved Player - Stevie Mejia (G - Hofstra) (Photo courtesy of Newsday)
2012-13 Stats: 11.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.1 APG, 2.0 SPG, 37% FG, 69% FT, 34% 3pt
The embodiment of a man who played hard no matter the situation, Mejia defined Hofstra basketball during his two years in Hempstead, staking a claim as one of the best players former Pride coach Mo Cassara was able to lure to Long Island.  A former Rhode Island transfer, Mejia nearly doubled his offensive productivity from last season, and his clutch shots kept Hofstra in games throughout the season despite their overall record.  Along with recently departed Taran Buie, Mejia made up for his 5-9 stature with an aggressive and determined style of play, which he coupled with a nonstop hustle to guide Hofstra through arguably the lowest point in program history after four of its players were arrested at the end of November, essentially firing a torpedo into the Pride's hopes for the year and ultimately costing Cassara his job at season's end.  One of the best defensive players in the area as well, Mejia's spot in the lineup will prove to be a very tall order for new Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich to replace.

Sixth Man of the Year - Shane Richards (F - Manhattan) (Photo courtesy of Manhattan College)
2012-13 Stats: 7.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 41% FG, 79% FT, 40% 3pt
Richards may only be a freshman, but the native New Yorker who played pickup games at the 92nd Street Y with friend of the website Theo Rabinowitz has already turned into one of the most lethal shooters in the MAAC, and had his first breakout game in his own backyard, erupting for 18 points on six three-pointers against South Carolina in December at the Barclays Center.  One of two MAAC Rookie of the Year honorees, Richards demonstrated a knack for getting open in the corner and knocking down a perimeter shot more often than not, a tactic that proved crucial for Steve Masiello to find the right lineups and strategies to propel the Jaspers on their late-season run, which ended with a narrow defeat to Iona in the MAAC Championship.  With George Beamon returning to a backcourt that also retains incumbent point guard Michael Alvarado, and Maryland transfer Ashton Pankey arriving up front to join Rhamel Brown, RIchards will have every opportunity to build off an already successful freshman season with a sensational sophomore campaign in Riverdale.

Defensive Players of the Year - Tommy Brenton (F - Stony Brook) and Rhamel Brown (F - Manhattan) (Brenton photo courtesy of ESPN, Brown photo courtesy of the New York Daily News)
Brenton's 2012-13 Stats: 8.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 44% FG, 65% FT
Brown's 2012-13 Stats: 11.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.0 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 55% FG, 41% FT
Both Brenton and Brown were so good at what they did this past season, particularly when it came to statistics that the box scores neglect, to the point where the only fair thing to do here would be to share this honor between the two of them.  The America East Player of the Year in addition to earning the same honors on the defensive side in his conference, Brenton defined the concept of a scrappy player who cultivated a winning culture simply by showing up to practice, asking for no quarter, and not giving one back.  A threat whether the ball was in his hands or not, Brenton was a big part of every scouting report compiled against the Seawolves, and recorded the first triple-double in the nation earlier in the year.  His fellow honoree had just as much of an impact on his team, as Brown became Manhattan's most valuable player when it became clear that George Beamon's ankle injury was serious enough to withhold the senior guard from the Jasper lineup through the heart of MAAC play, and ultimately, the rest of the season.  Brown stepped up higher and more frequently than anyone not named Steve Masiello could have envisioned, as his awareness under the rim and GPS-like radar in tracking loose balls solidified him as one of the most formidable interior presences in the area.

Coach of the Year - Steve Pikiell, Stony Brook (Photo courtesy of WUSB Sports Radio at Stony Brook University)
Pikiell just doesn't do it the right way on the court, as he did yet again this past season when he guided the Seawolves to a 25-8 campaign that became the most successful in program history, he does it the right way in life as well.  Praised by this site on multiple occasions for being the most respectful and compassionate coach yours truly has ever dealt with in his six years in the college basketball media, Pikiell gets the most out of his players, stands by them at every corner, and most importantly, believes in them long after the game has gone final.  Anyone can be named his conference's top coach three times in the last four seasons, but Pikiell has taken a Stony Brook program perceived to be at the depths of Division I when he arrived on the east end of Long Island in 2005 and turned it into a program that fellow local hoops purveyor Big Apple Buckets deemed to be the best in the region this year.  What makes this accomplishment even more meaningful is the fact that Pikiell is intent on building what he has into something bigger, refusing to budge when his name has been thrown around in coaching vacancies at mid-majors in the area, turning down several jobs within the past several years.  With the core of his team returning next season, it would not be the least bit surprising to see the former Jim Calhoun player and assistant win this honor once more next year, be it in the America East, on this site, or both.

2012-13 Daly Dose Of Hoops All-Metropolitan Teams
First Team
Lamont "Momo" Jones (G - Iona)
Jason Brickman (G - LIU Brooklyn)
D'Angelo Harrison (G - St. John's)
Tommy Brenton (F - Stony Brook)
Rhamel Brown (F - Manhattan)
Jamal Olasewere (F - LIU Brooklyn)

Second Team
Sean Armand (G - Iona)
C.J. Garner (G - LIU Brooklyn)
David Laury (F - Iona)
JaKarr Sampson (F - St. John's)
Jameel Warney (F - Stony Brook)

Third Team
Jalen Cannon (F - St. Francis College)
Fuquan Edwin (G - Seton Hall)
Branden Frazier (G - Fordham)
Adam Kemp (C - Marist)
Myles Mack (G - Rutgers)

Honorable Mentions
Eli Carter (G - Rutgers)
Chris Gaston (F - Fordham)
Stevie Mejia (G - Hofstra)
Kenny Ortiz (G - Wagner)
Jonathon Williams (F - Wagner)

All-Rookie Team*
E.J. Reed (F - LIU Brooklyn)
Shane Richards (F - Manhattan)
JaKarr Sampson (F - St. John's)
Mandell Thomas (G - Fordham)
Jameel Warney (F - Stony Brook)

All-Defensive Team
Tommy Brenton (F - Stony Brook)
Rhamel Brown (F - Manhattan)
Adam Kemp (C - Marist)
Stevie Mejia (G - Hofstra)
Chris Obekpa (F - St. John's)
Kenny Ortiz (G - Wagner)


  1. To answer anyone's questions about the asterisk on the All-Rookie team, it's because the team is reserved for true freshmen. Ideally, I'd have put David Laury on there, even given him Rookie of the Year, but his being a sophomore makes him ineligible for that honor.