It was the year of parity and unpredictably in the NEC, and that notion certainly extends out to our all-conference awards. There are several worthy candidates, so it was a challenging exercise for John and I to sort out our All-NEC first, second, and third teams. For our individual awards, including Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, etc., go here. So without further ado, let’s begin!
All-NEC Third Team
Velton Jones, Robert Morris
C.J. Garner, LIU Brooklyn
Dyami Starks, Bryant
Matthew Hunter, Central Connecticut
Jonathan Williams, Wagner
It was a difficult year injury wise for the heart and soul of Robert Morris, but when he was on the floor, Velton Jones showed how valuable he could be. It wouldn’t surprise us if the coaches end up voting Jones higher – they tend to turn this all-conference vote into a career achievement award most of the time – but we felt the third team was just right given Jones’ 2012-13 numbers. C.J. Garner stepped up as the reliable right hand man to Olasewere by averaging 17.1 points per game in NEC play. LIU would not have 12 conference victories if the dynamic combo guard didn’t have the best season of his collegiate career. The long-range shooting of Dyami Starks – he led the conference in three-pointers made – added a much-needed dimension to the Bulldogs’ offense. He’ll surely be a mainstay on these all-conference teams for the remainder of his career. Although he was a volume scorer much of the time, Matthew Hunter did fill up the stat sheet, as Howie Dickenman always liked to say. The best transfer of the NEC, which is saying a lot given this year’s impressive crop of transfers, led the conference in steals, while also grabbing 7.7 rebounds per game. Finally, Jonathan Williams had part of his senior season interrupted with a bad hip, but when healthy, the versatile wing was the best player on the second best team in the league.
All-NEC Second Team
Jason Brickman, LIU Brooklyn
Frankie Dobbs, Bryant
Lucky Jones, Robert Morris
Ike Azotam, Quinnipiac
Kinu Rochford, Fairleigh Dickinson
Several of our second team selections could very well slip into first team contention. Jason Brickman followed up a strong sophomore campaign by simply leading the nation in assists per game with 8.5. He also posted career highs in field goal percentage (45.6%) and three-point percentage (45.8%). Frankie Dobbs was perhaps the most critical piece of Tim O’Shea’s offense, and the fifth year senior didn’t disappoint with game averages of 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game, to go along with a sparkling A/TO rate of 2.1. Given all the injuries on Andy Toole’s club, Lucky Jones stood out as the most consistent performer during Robert Morris’ regular season title run, and that absolutely means something to us. Also meaningful: Jones found himself nationally ranked in KenPom’s offensive efficiency, steal rate, defensive rebounding rate, and free throw rate. Azotam’s numbers were down a bit from his standout second season, therefore the drop in production was enough to slide him down to the second team. Still, a scoring line of 13.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, and only 1.5 turnovers per contest is nothing to sneeze at. As difficult as it may seem to add a player here from a team that lost 14 straight games, we have absolutely no reservations with inserting Kinu Rochford onto our second team. The Brooklyn native posted the highest efficiency rating in the NEC and led the conference in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (59.2%). It’s not Rochford’s fault that he had little help.
All-NEC First Team
Shane Gibson, Sacred Heart
Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut
Alex Francis, Bryant
Jalen Cannon, St. Francis Brooklyn
Jamal Olasewere, LIU Brooklyn
In our opinion, there were only two locks for the first team, Jalen Cannon and Jamal Olasewere. The former’s play tailed off slightly during NEC play, although Cannon still finished with the third best efficiency rating in the NEC. Olasewere was immensely valuable to his team and an absolute menace to guard, as the senior was third in the country in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. The next Player of the Year in the NEC (mark it down) also was nationally ranked in several other KenPom statistics, too. After those two, the rest of the team gets a little murky. Despite a slow start in the non-conference season, Shane Gibson recovered to post impressive numbers (21.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 41.6% 3PT%, 87.1% FT%) overall. Gibson finishes his career as one of the most efficient shooting guards this conference will ever see. Kyle Vinales suffered from bouts of inconsistency at times – averaging 38.2 minutes per game could do that to you occasionally – yet the talented playmaker managed to score in double figures for 27 of the Blue Devils’ 29 games. We felt inclined to include one Bryant Bulldog on our first team, and thereby chose rising junior Alex Francis. This was far from a pity pick, however, as Francis dominated around the rim with career highs across the board – 17.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg, and 57.1% shooting.
Other Players We Seriously Considered:
Kenneth Ortiz, Wagner
Phil Gaetano, Sacred Heart
Corey Maynard, Bryant
Earl Brown, St. Francis (PA)
Rashad Whack, Mount St. Mary’s
15 thoughts on “Our All-NEC Conference Teams: A Difficult Exercise Indeed”
Karvel Anderson was easily the best transfer in the NEC. He had some monster games, including hitting 3 huge 3-pointers late in the second half to beat Bryant.
Russell Johnson had a great second half in the NEC and did a little bit of everything including scoring, rebounding, steals and assists. Johnson should gather some attention for second team. Seriously Johnson, Anderson, V. Jones and L. Jones should all get serious consideration. Bryant faded down the stretch. Gibson and Vinales deserve First-Team nods, but their respective teams finished in ninth and 7th place. Cannon faded down the stretch as well, after a big first half of the season and SFNY took 8th place. Doesn’t winning count for anything anymore?
Kenneth Ortiz only an honorable mention? Seems underrated.
Kenny is a really tough one to place. We certainly considered him much higher. His defense is excellent. His offense is tricky. In a conference where so many players are so good at scoring the ball Ortiz really comes up short there. He took a lot of shots because teams forced Wagner into that game plan for most of the season and he just wasn’t that efficient doing it. That’s why he dropped down.
First team: Olasawere, Francis, Gibson, Vinales and V. Jones
Second team: Ortiz, Dobbs, Brickman, Cannon and R. Johnson
Third team: L. Jones, Izotam, J. Williams, Starks, R. Whack.
Can’t put rochford down….2-14 in NEc and quit on his team at RMU.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’re a Robert Morris fan, Bob. First of all, I like Karvel Anderson a lot. He’s one of the best perimeter shooters in the league, but he was too inconsistent to warrent all-conference team consideration. And to call him “easily” the best transfer is remarkably narrow minded. I guess you’re completely ignoring players like Rashad Whack, Matthew Hunter, Dyami Starks, and Sam Prescott?
Remember, these all-conference selections aren’t based on team performance. It’s player performance, pure and simple. You can’t look at the numbers and efficiency ratings are tell me with a straight face that Velton Jones and Russell Johnson had better seasons then players like Jason Brickman, Frankie Dobbs, Ike Azotam, and Kinu Rochford. For Velton, these awards shouldn’t be a lifetime achievement award and that’s what you’re doing when you say Velton is a first teamer. (I do think the coaches may put Velton on the first team for that reason, which still doesn’t make it right.)
And one note on Lucky Jones – he probably was the sixth or seventh best player on our list, therefore he just missed a first team nod from us.
R. Peters, Told you Velton Jones was first team….best player on best team. Also I knew
Rochford wasn’t making an all-star team. I had Russell Johnson and Rashad Whack instead Garner and Hunter made it. You nailed all of them but Rochford for Ortiz.
I am on your site every day. You guys do a great job. In the history of this league winning teams get their players on the all-conf teams. Back in 1989-90 RMU won it all and point guard Andre Boyd only averaged about 12ppg game, but was all NEC. power fwd Anthony diuckens led NEC in rebounds and averaged about 10ppg and he made first team as well. there were some studs in the league that year guys like Mike Iuzzolino, Alex Blackwell and Desi Wilson among others, but winning counts for a lot.
I figured Velton would make thr first or second team, because of prior accomplishments, but it doesn’t make it right. I think Lucky Jones was screwed, he should have been on the second team, maybe in favor of a Dyami Starks or Jonathan Willams. But now I’m nitpicking.
We may disagree on all-conference selections, but I sincerely thank you Bob for the kind words. John and I certainly try our best to cover a great mid-major league. This season has been a lot of fun.
Based upon his importance to the team and the fact that RMU finished in first place, I stand by what I said about Karvel Anderson. Starks would be a close second for best transfer. Winning is a big part of it and if you look at All-NEC teams over the past several years you will see that.Rochford put up big numbers but 2-14 and quitting on his team at RMU, he doesn’t make any all star team. Russell Johnson had very good numbers the last 9 or 10 games and was a big part in RMU winning the regular season.I had Azotam, Brickman and Dobbs on my teams. I would even go as far to say that Dobbs deserves Most Improved player. When you win the league by 2 games or more and you deserve to have some all stars over guys that take tons of shots and don’t win anything.
I will say this, I will take another NEC Tournament Championship over any individual awards.
I think every fan and player would. Shane Gibson told me after Saturday’s loss that he’d trade all of his individual awards just for an opportunity to play in the NEC Championship.
How you have Kinu Rochford anywhere near an all-conference player is beyond me. He a) played for the worst team in the league by far and b) quit on his team at the end of the season. I don’t care what efficiency ratings tell you, can’t put a guy on an all-conference team when his team is that bad, especially when there are many others that are just as deserving, if not more.
Velton Jones, despite what your “ratings” say, is a first team all-league player. You can bring out all the new measures to try to justify all the other selections, but he makes plays that win games. Bottom line. And that’s what basketball is about, winning games.
And why is Jalen Cannon a lock for 1st team? His last eight games, he had point totals of: 13, 8, 0, 10, 8, 13, 10, 15. And only once grabbed double-figure boards. Once again, the bloggers and the “efficiency ratings” rear their ugly heads. He’s a 2nd team pick, and maybe even 3rd. I’d take Azotam and Williams over him, each was more important to their teams.
How can Velton Jones be a 1st team all-league player when he didn’t even play in 1/3 of the conference season? If you watch the NEC (which I’d note that the “bloggers”, including us, do an awful lot of), you’d see that Jalen Cannon is by far one of the best players in the league. His athleticism, work around the basket, rebounding and even defense make him for sure one of the most valuable players in the league. Points are INCREDIBLY overrated. You can impact a game in a myriad of ways and just getting points isn’t necessarily a good thing if there are better ways for your team to score.
That said, I wish Cannon did score more. I wish he had guards that could get him the ball on the low block and that he had a better post up game instead of having to face up all the time. I wish he’d be more assertive offensively. Then there’d be no question.
As for Rochford. I understand why you feel that way. I don’t think it’s his fault that FDU fell apart and while the situation at RMU was ugly, he was playing the next game and all seemed forgiven. If Greg Vetrone was willing to move I think we can as well.
FIRST TEAM JASON BRICKMAN LIU, KYLE VINALES CENTRAL CONNECTICUT, JONATHAN WILLIAMS WAGNER, JALEN CANNON ST. FRANCIS, JAMAL; OLASEWERE LIU
SECOND TEAM ALEX FRANCIS BRYANT, FRANKIE DOBBS BRYANT,LUCKY JONES ROBERT MORRIS, IKE AZOTAM QUINNIPIAC, DYAMI STARKS BRYANT.
THIRD TEAM KENNETH ORTIZ WAGNER, C. J. GARNER LIU,SHANE GIBSON SACRED HEART, MATTHEW HUNTER CENTRAL CONNECTICUT RASHAD WHACK MOUNT ST. MARY’S.
,PLAYER OF THE YEAR JAMAL OLASEWERE LIU BROOKLYN
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR MARIO MOODY / KENNETH ORTIZ WAGNER
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER MARCUS BURTON WAGNER
POINTS ARE HIGHLY OVERATED CASE IN QUESTION SACRED HEART, CENTRAL CONNECTICUT BOTH HAVE GREAT SHOOTERS BUT WHERE ARE THEY IN THE RANKINGS
THE ONLY PLAYER I BELIEVE DESERVES FIRST TEAM SELECTION FROM LOWER LEVEL TEAM IS JALEN CANNON ST. FRANCIS. FIRST TEAM SELECTIONS SHOULD BE PICKED
FROM WINNING PROGRAMS.
John you are right winning teams should have more all stars so why do you only have one RMU player in your top 15? Also Vinales 1st and Gibson 3rd when they both averaged 21ppg doesn’t make any sense. Burton hardly played to get most improved. Dobbs from Bryant would get my vote for most improved. The way Wagner played defense the second half of the season, especially in the LIU game no Wagner player should have gotten defensive player of the year. Russell Johnson from the best defensive team in the league, RMU, should have been defensive player of the year.
I sense Wagner bias?