Friday, March 2, 2018

Paulicap named MAAC Defensive Player of the Year; Dukes, Crumpton share POY

Pauly Paulicap ended his first regular season at Manhattan with MAAC's Defensive Player of the Year award, becoming second Jasper honored in that category and first since 2014. (Photo by Bob Dea/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

Before he even donned the green and white of Manhattan College for the first time, Pauly Paulicap had earned rave reviews from his teammates and coaching staff, all of whom were enthusiastic about what the sophomore brought to the table; particularly on the defensive end, upon his arrival from Harcum College in Pennsylvania. It was this excitement and this potential that led head coach Steve Masiello to take the unprecedented step of naming Paulicap a team captain, a privilege no first-year player in the program had previously earned in any of Masiello's first six years in Riverdale.

Over six rebounds and nearly three blocks per game later, the prophecy and speculation has come to fruition, as Paulicap was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Year Friday morning, becoming the second Jasper to win the honor, and first since Rhamel Brown took home the recognition for a third consecutive year in 2014.

"I'm honored, but I'm just trying to do my job and protect the culture," Paulicap said after accepting the award one day before Manhattan opens its MAAC Tournament journey in the quarterfinals Saturday night against Iona. "Rhamel Brown, he was the best defensive player in this league. I'm just trying to follow in his footsteps."

"After coming down to practice with you and seeing how you play, I was truly blown away," Brown said in a video message tweeted by the official Manhattan basketball account. "I had no doubt in my mind that you were going to walk away with this award at the end of the year. As long as you're there, I have not a doubt in my mind that Manhattan's going to walk away with a championship. As long as you work hard and keep improving, great things will come your way."

"I love his potential, I love his mentality, and I love his work ethic," Masiello said of Paulicap following Manhattan's game at Iona one week ago Friday. "But what he does in the next 26 months will determine his future and his lifestyle, and that's something we've already had conversations about, to get the very best out of him to make him the most dominant big; or one of them, in the country."

Elsewhere in the MAAC, a pair of seniors split the Player of the Year award, marking the first time in conference history that two players shared the honor. Niagara's Kahlil Dukes and Jermaine Crumpton of Canisius each received four votes, with Crumpton's teammate, Isaiah Reese, procuring the final three. The Golden Griffins also nabbed top freshman billing, as Takal Molson was recognized as the conference's Rookie of the Year. Rider brought the final two distinctions back to Lawrenceville, as Frederick Scott was named Sixth Man of the Year and head coach Kevin Baggett received Coach of the Year honors for the second time in four seasons.
Complete List of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Award Winners

Players of the Year
Men: Jermaine Crumpton, Canisius; and Kahlil Dukes, Niagara
Women: Victoria Rampado, Niagara

Rookie of the Year
Men: Takal Molson, Canisius
Women: Toyosi Abiola, Iona

Defensive Players of the Year
Men: Pauly Paulicap, Manhattan
Women: Maura Fitzpatrick, Marist

Sixth Players of the Year
Men: Frederick Scott, Rider
Women: Gabby Cajou, Manhattan

Coaches of the Year
Men: Kevin Baggett, Rider
Women: Tricia Fabbri, Quinnipiac

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