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America East 2002-03 Season Recap

May 2, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

America East Conference 2002-03 Season Recap

by Adam Reich

The America East men’s basketball head coaches must have done their
homework this past off-season because their preseason predictions were
almost 100 percent correct. With five returning starters from an NCAA
Tournament team, the coaches smartly tabbed Boston University as the team to
beat. And according to plan, the Terriers cruised through the conference
schedule, getting tripped up only three times on their way to the conference
tournament’s top seed. Vermont also fell right where they were expected to
be at season’s end. The Catamounts’ second-place finish may have originally
been looked at as a disappointment, but after 2001-02 America East player of
the year T.J. Sorrentine was forced to miss the entire season due to injury,
their season was considered a huge success. Hartford, who finished third in
the conference standings as predicted, defended their home court but found
it difficult to win on the road.

Maine, Northeastern, Stony Brook, Albany and New Hampshire were seeded in
that order in the conference tournament as predicted. Maine, Northeastern
and Stony Brook each had their flashes of brilliance, while Albany and New
Hampshire started and finished in the basement. The coaches did miss one
school in the preseason. Binghamton, who was selected to finish sixth,
actually finished fourth in the regular season. However, the Bears were not
eligible to participate in the America East Tournament this year.

America East Tournament

The quarterfinals of the America East Tournament almost went as expected,
with the higher seeds prevailing in three of four contests. The only upset
was fifth-seeded Northeastern’s thrilling last-second victory over
fourth-seeded Maine.

In a grueling, foul-plagued battle, the Terriers overcame a fourteen-point
first half deficit to defeat cross-town rival Northeastern in the first
semifinal game. While it was terrific defense and a huge second half by
Taylor Coppenrath that helped the Catamounts avenge two regular season
losses to the Hawks and win the second semifinal contest.

In the America East tournament championship game, David Hehn knocked down a
fadeaway jumper with 5.6 seconds left to propel Vermont over host Boston
University to earn the Catamounts their first ever trip to the NCAA
Tournament. Vermont’s win at Case Gymnasium was only the second time in
conference history that the road team won the championship game.

Northeastern’s Jose Juan Barea joined Boston University’s Rashad Bell and
Jason Grochowalski, and Vermont’s Taylor Coppenrath and Matt Sheftic on the
All-Tournament team. Sheftic was also named the tournament’s Most
Outstanding Player. Sheftic averaged 17.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game
and shot 64 percent (21-33) for the tournament.

NCAA Tournament

No. 16 seed Vermont lost to No. 1 seed Arizona, 81-50

NIT Tournament

Boston University lost to St. John’s, 62-57

All-Conference Team
G Jerrell Parker, Hartford
G Anthony Green, Binghamton
G Rickey White, Maine
F Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont
F Rashad Bell, Boston University

Player of the Year

Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont, sophomore – 20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 46.2 FG%

Coppenrath was the go-to-guy for the conference champion Catamounts. He led
the league in scoring and was among the top ten in several statistical
categories including rebounding and field goal percentage.

Freshman of the Year

Jose Juan Barea, Northeastern, guard

Defensive Player of the Year

Nick Billings, Binghamton, center

Coach of the Year

Tom Brennan, Vermont

Boston University (20-11, 13-3)

Starters Leaving/ Returning (2/3)

Key Players Graduating:
Billy Collins, forward – 9.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg
Paul Seymour, guard – 7.8 ppg, 38.8 3PT%

Key Players Returning:
Rashad Bell, forward – 12.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Ryan Butt, forward – 8.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Matt Turner, guard – 8.7 ppg, 81.8 FT%

Leading Scorer: Rashad Bell, 12.0 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Billy Collins, 6.9 rpg
Leading Assist Man: Chaz Carr, 2.7 apg

Vermont (21-12, 11-5)

Starters Leaving/ Returning (1/4)

Key Players Graduating:
Grant Anderson, forward – 7.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.4 apg

Key Players Returning:
Taylor Coppenrath, forward – 20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Matt Sheftic, forward – 10.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg
David Hehn, guard – 7.0 ppg, 2.8 apg

Key Injury: T.J. Sorrentine, the 2002 America East Player of the Year, will
return to the Vermont lineup after missing the entire 2002-03 season due to
injury. The junior guard averaged 18.8 ppg and 4.0 apg in 2001-02.

Leading Scorer: Taylor Coppenrath, 20.1 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Grant Anderson, 7.1 rpg
Leading Assist Man: Grant Anderson, 3.4 apg

Hartford (15-12, 10-6)

Starters Leaving/ Returning (3/2)

Key Players Graduating:
Pierre Johnson, forward – 11.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Wayne McClinton, guard – 5.6 ppg, 40.0 3PT%
Junior Amos, forward – 6.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg

Key Players Returning:
Jerrell Parker, guard – 13.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg
Aaron Cook, guard – 9.9 ppg, 81.2 FT%
Ryan Stys, guard – 8.7 ppg, 3.0 apg

Leading Scorer: Jerrell Parker, 13.6 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Jerrell Parker, 7.0 rpg
Leading Assist Man: Ryan Stys, 3.0 apg

Binghamton (14-13, 9-7)

Starters Leaving/ Returning (3/2)

Key Players Graduating:
Anthony Green, forward – 16.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.2 apg
Jeffrey St. Fort, forward – 9.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Charles Baker, guard – 5.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Key Players Returning:
Nick Billings, center – 9.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 4.3 bpg
Brandon Carter, forward – 9.9 ppg, 81.2 FT%

Leading Scorer: Anthony Green, 16.7 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Nick Billings, 6.7 rpg
Leading Assist Man: Anthony Green, 4.2 apg

Maine (14-16, 8-8)

Starters Leaving/ Returning (4/1)

Key Players Graduating:
Rickey White, forward – 13.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Clayton Brown, forward – 12.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg
Justin Rowe, center – 10.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 4.2 bpg

Key Players Returning:
Kevin Reed, guard – 12.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Eric Dobson, guard – 9.9 ppg, 4.9 apg

Leading Scorer: Rickey White, 13.2 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Justin Rowe, 9.4 rpg
Leading Assist Man: Eric Dobson, 4.9 apg

Northeastern (16-15, 8-8)

Starters Leaving/ Returning (1/4)

Key Players Graduating:
Jamaar Walker, guard – 5.9 ppg, 3.7 apg

Key Players Returning:
Jose Juan Barea, guard – 17.0 ppg, 3.9 apg
Javorie Wilson, forward – 14.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Sylbrin Robinson, forward – 11.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg

Key Injuries: Forward Sylbrin Robinson played half the season with a
dislocated left elbow, while reserve guard Aaron Davis re-injured his
shoulder in the semifinals of the America East Tournament. Robinson should
be fully healed by next season, but Davis’ status remains in question.

Leading Scorer: Jose Juan Barea, 17.0 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Sylbrin Robinson, 9.1 rpg
Leading Assist Man: Jose Juan Barea, 3.9 apg

Stony Brook (14-16, 8-8)

Starters Leaving/ Returning (0/5)

Key Players Returning:
D.J. Munir, guard – 17.4 ppg, 88.9 FT%
Cory Spencer, center – 12.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Jairus McCollum, forward – 9.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg

Leading Scorer: D.J. Munir, 17.4 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Cory Spencer, 5.8 rpg
Leading Assist Man: Bobby Santiago, 3.6 apg

Albany (7-21, 3-13)

Starters Leaving/ Returning (3/2)

Key Players Graduating:
Antione Johnson, guard – 13.6 ppg, 37.1 3PT%
Rhasheed Peterson, forward – 11.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Earv Opong, guard – 5.4 ppg, 3.9 apg

Key Players Returning:
Jamar Wilson, guard – 18.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Levi Levine, guard – 13.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg

Leading Scorer: Jamar Wilson, 18.9 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Levi Levine, 6.0 rpg
Leading Assist Man: Earv Opong, 3.9 apg

New Hampshire (5-23, 3-13)

Starters Leaving/ Returning (0/5)

Key Players Graduating:
Jeff Senulis, forward – 8.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg

Key Players Returning:
Shejdie Childs, guard – 9.4 ppg, 49.5 FG%
Marcus Bullock, guard – 9.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Ben Sturgill, forward – 8.0 ppg, 55.9 FG%

Key Injury: Sophomore Ben Sturgill suffered a shoulder injury in the
conference tournament. He is expected to recover in time for next season.

Leading Scorer: Shejdie Childs, 9.4 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Jeff Senulis, 6.1 rpg
Leading Assist Man: Shejdie Childs, 2.3 apg


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