What a week of college basketball! New York City had a ton of excellent games during the past week. One northern New Jersey team though rose up and stole the spotlight by taking down two major conference teams. Still, celebrate the week that was in New York area college basketball with our weekly awards.
Team of the Week: Fairleigh Dickinson
Nobody could’ve seen the week that FDU and head coach Greg Herenda had coming. After losing to Norfolk St. on Monday the Knights were 1-6 overall, including a loss to Division II Metro State. Then all of a sudden FDU went on a tear. The Knights defeated both Rutgers (73-72 on Tuesday) and Seton Hall (58-54). What might be even more impressive is that they did it in two different ways. The game against RU was all about offense. FDU scored 1.14 points per possession by getting to the free throw line and consistently knocking down shots, including Matt MacDonald’s three to win it. At one point in the game Ken Pomeroy’s computers gave FDU a 2% chance of winning, but the Knights pulled it out. Against SHU the story was quite different. The Pirates handed the ball over on almost a quarter of their possessions and FDU all of a sudden didn’t give up many free throw attempts. Seton Hall scored 0.87 points per possession, which is definitely FDU’s best defensive performance of the season. The fight for the “Best Team in New Jersey” continues on Saturday when the Knights go to Princeton to take on the Tigers.
Honorable Mentions: Iona, St. Francis (Brooklyn), Princeton
Player of the Week: Sidney Sanders Jr., Fairleigh Dickinson
The rise of FDU coincided with two great games from Sidney Sanders, the Knights’ 5’11” senior point guard. Sanders has an unbelievable 46.8% assist rate (2nd nationally) and uses 34% of FDU’s possessions when he’s on the court (8th nationally). He’s been super efficient too, which has helped keep the FDU offense humming. Sanders has been stellar in almost every game this season, but he hit a different level against Rutgers and Seton Hall. Sanders scored 22 points with 10 assists and just one turnover against RU, but his game against Seton Hall – 23 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 turnovers – was some how just as impressive.
Honorable Mentions: T.J. Bray, Princeton; Jalen Cannon, St. Francis (Brooklyn); Tre Bowman, Iona; Deon Jones, Monmouth
Rookie of the Week: Jon Severe, Fordham
At this point we probably sound like a broken record. Severe though is just that good. Fordham’s super freshman scored 30 points to lead the Rams to a victory in the Battle of the Bronx. His prolific scoring powers are partially a factor of volume, but he’s also displayed excellent shooting range. It was his maturity on the defensive end that shined against the Jaspers, as Severe picked up two fouls early but played through it as the Rams tightened their rotation. Severe gets another chance to shine when Fordham hosts Furman on Wednesday and then it’s onto the bright lights of Madison Square Garden against St. John’s on Saturday.
Honorable Mentions: Wayne Martin, St. Francis (Brooklyn); Damon Lynn, NJIT; Jimmie Taylor, Rider; Matt MacDonald, FDU