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2016 CAA Postseason Awards – One Man’s Vote

March 3, 2016 Columns No Comments

The final CAA Tournament under the only commissioner it has ever known, Tom Yeager, is ahead of us starting on Friday night. If the season to date is any indication, what is also the last tournament in Baltimore – it moves to Charleston for the next three years – should be a great four days.

Before that, we will learn who takes home the conference’s postseason awards. As is always the case at this time of the year, I feel it is worth sharing how I voted for the CAA postseason awards. I have been a voter for the last 11 years, and always feel like this also gives a sense of how I saw the season play out and how things look heading into the conference tournament.

With that, here is a look at how I voted this year.

Player of the Year: Juan’ya Green, Hofstra

This isn’t much of a surprise considering he was the preseason pick for this award, and he didn’t disappoint. He was third in scoring and led the conference in assists by plenty. While he wasn’t far and away the best player, this wasn’t an overly difficult choice for me. If there was any doubt heading into the final week, he put it to rest when his team needed him most, as he scored 15 points in the final six minutes to lead a rally for a win over UNCW – the team Hofstra edged out for the top seed.

Rookie of the Year: Jarell Brantley, College of Charleston

The Cougars have arguably the top two freshmen in the conference in what is shaping up to be a good class early on, and Brantley gets the nod over teammate Marquise Pointer. He led all freshmen in the conference in scoring and rebounding, and only UNCW’s C.J. Bryce (another strong candidate) won the conference Rookie of the Week more times (4) than he did (3). Brantley enters the conference tournament having reached double figures in scoring in 11 straight games.

Defensive Player of the Year: Rokas Gustys, Hofstra

How good has Gustys been at cleaning the glass this year, especially in CAA play? He averaged 15.1 rebounds per game in conference play and has secured the third-most rebounds in a season in CAA history. If Hofstra wins at least one game this weekend and he keeps this up, he’ll reach second. He has grabbed 20 or more rebounds five times, has reached double digits in that category in 24 of their 30 games, and in January posted back-to-back 20-20 games. He’s also fourth in the conference in blocked shots. That ensured that this would not be a difficult choice.

Coach of the Year: Kevin Keatts, UNCW

You could make a case for a couple of other coaches for this award, although not as many as last year. Towson’s Pat Skerry would be a worthy selection, and to a smaller degree give Earl Grant credit for College of Charleston remaining more than competitive with their starting backcourt of Joe Chealey and Canyon Barry both suffering season-ending injuries before the end of January, with the former missing the entire season. But Keatts gets my nod here for guiding a team that lost a lot of key pieces from last year and then had to dismiss a player who projected to be a key contributor before the season to a tie for the regular season title. The Seahawks have won 22 games, the most since the 2005-06 season, and that’s the last time they went to the NCAA Tournament. Year two is often a tough one when a coach takes over a rebuilding program, but Keatts has already had two good ones and is proving that his success before he became a college coach is no accident.

First Team
Ron Curry, James Madison
Chris Flemmings, UNCW
Juan’ya Green, Hofstra
Omar Prewitt, William & Mary
David Walker, Northeastern

Although they were a pretty well-balanced team this year, James Madison was still led by Curry, who is fifth all-time in scoring in the program and enters the tournament with a CAA-leading 22 straight double-digit scoring games. Flemmings was the best player on a balanced UNCW team, leading them in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, ranking third in the conference in the last category. Green should win Player of the Year after a great season. Prewitt led the conference in scoring and became the go-to guy for William & Mary, and the former Rookie of the Year has grown into one of the conference’s best players. Walker was the conference’s top three-point shooter and was right behind Prewitt for the scoring title, and a consistent bright spot for the Huskies at both ends of the floor.

Second Team
William Adala-Moto, Towson
Quincy Ford, Northeastern
Rokas Gustys, Hofstra
Ameen Tanksley, Hofstra
Terry Tarpey, William & Mary

Adala-Moto emerged as the best player of a Towson team that was better than many expected, leading them in scoring and rebounding. Ford looked at times like the player many thought he would be, including at the end of last season when he had a great run through the CAA Tournament, though he missed some time due to injury. Gustys can get lost on a team with bigger names like Juan’ya Green and Tanksley, but he has had a terrific season that includes leading the conference in rebounding and field goal percentage by wide margins. Tarpey has done it all for William & Mary as the heart and soul of this team.

Third Team
Shakir Brown, James Madison
Byron Hawkins, Towson
Kory Holden, Delaware
Denzel Ingram, UNCW
Marvin King-Davis, Delaware

Brown came in and made an instant impact for James Madison, not only as Ron Curry’s main complement but also being their best player at times. You couldn’t go wrong selecting Hawkins or teammate Mike Morsell, both of whom were similar in numbers and impact as part of what will probably be the conference’s best backcourt the next two years. Holden and King-Davis were two bright spots in an otherwise difficult year for Delaware, while Ingram was another key component to UNCW’s run to another share of a regular season title.

All-Rookie Team
Terrell Allen, Drexel
Jarell Brantley, College of Charleston
C.J. Bryce, UNCW
Marquise Pointer, College of Charleston
Tyler Seibring, Elon

Allen had a fine freshman season and should start the next three years at Drexel. Brantley was the conference’s top freshman, leading them in scoring and rebounding. Bryce came in and made an impact right away as one of a number of key newcomers for UNCW. Pointer picked up the point guard spot and is ensuring that it will be in good hands for the next three years. Seibring was part of a group of freshmen at Elon that the staff was high on, and he was the best of them this season.

All-Defensive Team
Yohanny Dalembert, James Madison
Quincy Ford, Northeastern
Rokas Gustys, Hofstra
Timajh Parker-Rivera, Towson
Terry Tarpey, William & Mary

This is always a tough one to put together, but that never stops anyone from trying. Dalembert is the big inside presence for James Madison and has been the last couple of years, this time around anchoring the conference’s top defensive team. Ford has guarded multiple positions and was among the conference leaders in rebounding and steals. Gustys had a terrific year on the glass and as the inside presence for a Hofstra team whose guards dominate the attention the team gets. Parker-Rivera has been a steady defender for one of the conference’s top defensive teams and also the one that led in rebounding margin. Tarpey has done it all, and while not repeating his great statistical accomplishments of a year ago remained a do-everything player at that end of the floor for the Tribe.

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