Wednesday, March 28, 2018

2017-18 MBWA Haggerty Award and All-Met ballot

The honors will not be handed out until April 25 at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, but voting for the MBWA Haggerty Awards got underway Monday to recognize the best in the New York metropolitan area.

A proud voter six years running, I have made somewhat of a tradition out of revealing my ballot either via Twitter or through a post on this site, and I am pleased to be able to continue that exercise through the latter in preparation for next month's festivities. Let the debate begin:

Haggerty Award: Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (21.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.7 APG, 2.5 SPG) (Photo by the New York Daily News)
Already an all-city talent before taking the floor for the first time last season, Ponds served up an even greater encore as a sophomore, transcending the New York and Big East stages to help resurrect the Red Storm with a late surge to offset their 0-11 beginning to conference play. Ponds' superhuman stretch of games against Xavier, Duke, Villanova, and Marquette -- the latter three resulting in wins and the Marquette game bearing witness to a Carnesecca Arena record-setting 44-point outburst -- is what clinched the first of what could be back-to-back awards if the Brooklyn wunderkind returns to the corner of Union and Utopia as expected, with all due respect to last year's recipient, Angel Delgado. If Ponds is indeed the choice, he will be the third Red Storm honoree in the last five years, and first since Sir'Dominic Pointer's unanimous coronation in 2015.

Also considered: Angel Delgado, Seton Hall; Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra

Rest of All-Met first team, in alphabetical order:
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall
Joel Hernandez, LIU Brooklyn
Tyler Nelson, Fairfield
Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall
Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra

All-Met second team, in alphabetical order:
Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall
JoJo Cooper, Wagner
Rokas Gustys, Hofstra
Myles Powell, Seton Hall
Corey Sanders, Rutgers

All-Met third team, in alphabetical order:
Raiquan Clark, LIU Brooklyn
Blake Francis, Wagner
Stevie Jordan, Rider
Rickey McGill, Iona
Justin Simon, St. John's
Dimencio Vaughn, Rider

Rookie of the Year: Geo Baker, Rutgers (Photo by On The Banks)
Baker showed a glimpse of the future during Rutgers' improbable run to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament earlier this month, and the New Hampshirite proved his worth with a captivating blend of huge three-pointers and aggressive drives inside for a Scarlet Knight team poised to take the next step toward prominence under head coach Steve Pikiell. Whether or not Corey Sanders returns to Piscataway for his final season has no bearing on the fact that Baker is an integral, and much-valued, piece of the puzzle for Rutgers moving forward in a pivotal 2018-19 campaign.

Also considered: Jordan Allen, Rider; Deion Hammond, Monmouth

Coach of the Year: Kevin Baggett, Rider (Photo by Vincent Simone/NYC Buckets)
Picked seventh in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season, Baggett took a Rider team that many felt was a year away from competing and turned it into a 22-win outfit that not only went 15-3 in the MAAC, but shared the conference's regular season championship and represented the league in the National Invitation Tournament behind five double-figure scorers, all of whom return next year. The arrival of Ahmad Gilbert, who sat out last season when transferring from Minnesota, will only make the Broncs a more formidable challenger to Iona's attempt at an unprecedented fourth consecutive MAAC crown.

Also considered: Kevin Willard, Seton Hall; Bashir Mason, Wagner

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