Top NYC Players: 20-16

This is part two of this week’s series about the Top 25 players in the New York metro area. You can read part 1, which has an explanation and players 21-25, here.

20. Isaiah Wilkerson, NJIT — The Great West’s Player of the Year doesn’t get a lot of recognition, but he’s a unique player that did more than just score for the Highlanders, who finished 15-17 this season. Wilkerson averaged 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game for NJIT this season. The rebounding is remarkable considering Wilkerson is a 6’3″ guard. I adjusted Wilkerson’s numbers for the strength of NJIT’s schedule and he still ranked amongst the elites in almost every category. Like many of the better known players on this list he was an efficient, high usage player. NJIT almost advanced to the Tournament, but fell to North Dakota 75-60 in the final. Wilkerson scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss.

19. Bryan Dougher, Stony Brook — A four-year starter under Steve Pikiell, Dougher and the Seawolves couldn’t quite get over the hump and into the NCAA tournament. The senior from Scotch Plains, NJ saw his usage drop slightly this season, but he numbers in general improved and he became a key offensive component for SBU. Dougher averaged 13.2 points per game and shot 36% from beyond the arc. Dougher scored 20 points on just nine shots from the field (and 7-8 free throw shooting) in a 66-57 win over Boston University midway through the America East campaign. Unfortunately he struggled a bit in his last America East game, shooting 2-12 from the field and scoring eight points in SBU’s loss to Vermont in the finals.

18. Douglas Davis, Princeton — Like Dougher, Davis is one of those players that seems like he’s been around forever. Turns out that’s because he sort of has. Davis played at least 30 minutes per game in each of his four season for the Tigers. During his senior campaign he upped his scoring average to 13.8 points per game and shot 42% from three and 83% from the foul line. By the time his career was over Davis had scored the second most points in Princeton history. It’s his outstanding senior season that put him over the top.

17. Jamal Olasewere, LIU Brooklyn — Olasewere had a breakthrough junior season. He improved in almost every category and in the process turned the Blackbirds into a more dynamic offensive team. In just 26 minutes per game Olaswere scored 16.9 points and grabbed 7.5 rebounds. He shot 57% from the field overall and 34% from three. Occassionally he had a few too many turnovers, often related to offensive fouls on difficult drives to the basket, but there’s an argument to be made that was also LIU’s most dynamic offensive player. That never proved more true than when he scored 32 points on a perfect 11-11 from the field in the Battle of Brooklyn against St. Francis (NY). It was one of 10 games in which the 6’7″ junior scored 20 points or more.

16. Reggie Willhite, Yale — There’s another Bulldog coming up later in this countdown, but Willhite deserves a lot of recognition. The 6’4″ swingman was a defensive menace, playmaker and an incredibly complete basketball player for Yale this season. He averaged 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game in 31.9 minutes. Willhite particularly killed Columbia, scoring 24 and 20 points in two victories over the Lions. He also scored 20 points in a four-point win over Princeton and 23 in a two-point win over Sacred Heart. On a team with no true point guard it was Willhite that sometimes had to make the plays that got other teammates open shots. It’s his defense though that puts him over the top. Willhite ranked 29th in the nation in steal rate at 4.2% and was named the Ivy League’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Check back tomorrow as I count down 15-11 and the Big East gets into the act.

New York Mid-Major 2011-12 Teams

What a year it was for college hoops in New York City. Both Iona and LIU Brooklyn qualified for the NCAA tournament and Stony Brook also won the regular season title. A number of players were named to their All-Conference teams and garnered postseason awards. In fact, those awards are still coming in. Here I’d like to name my New York Mid-Major teams for the 2011-12 season.

Continue reading “New York Mid-Major 2011-12 Teams”

Season At A Glance — Stony Brook

This is the sixth of what will eventually be capsules for each of the NYC teams when I’m sure their season has concluded.

Team: Stony Brook

Record: 22-10 (14-2 in America East)

Season High: Going 14-2 in America East play with the two losses on the road

Season Low: The offense disappearing in the first half of two big games (at Boston College, championship vs. Vermont)

Really Good At: Defense — Stony Brook’s defense was just stifling during America East play. The Seawolves led the conference in defensive rebounding and defensive free throw rate.

Struggled With: Turnovers – No single Seawolf had an assist rate higher than their turnover rate this season. It speaks volumes that Tommy Brenton led the team in assist rate. Stony Brook turned the ball over on 20.4% of its offensive possession in America East play, sixth in the conference.

Key Losses:

  • Bryan Dougher (First Team All-America East, Stony Brook’s all-time Division I leading scorer, 13.2 PPG)
  • Al Rapier (8.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 51.0% FG%)
  • Dallis Joyner (Third Team All-America East, 8.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 60.0% FG%)
  • Danny Carter (key guy off the bench)

Key Returnees:

  • Dave Coley, So., G (10.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG)
  • Tommy Brenton, Jr., F (America East Defensive Player of the Year, 8.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.6 SPG)
  • Anthony Jackson, So., G (5.6 PPG)

They Said It:

“As a person, he’s been the best I’ve coached in 20 years.” — Steve Pikiell on Dougher

Outlook: Reloading. This senior class is one that deserved to play in the NCAA tournament. Stony Brook got so close on multiple occasions, but they just couldn’t get over the hump. With Dougher, Rapier and Joyner graduating much of the Stony Brook offense is going to have to be reconfigured. There will still be talent on Long Island. Coley is a talent that Pikiell can build an offense around. Of course they’ll have to make sure the defense stays up to recent levels. Interior defense is going to be of a concern. Still, the program is definitely trending in the right direction and Stony Brook will be a consistent America East contender.

Stars come out as Stony Brook takes lead in America East

A defensive struggle might not seem ideal for national television, but Stony Brook and Boston University showed how to turn a slow-paced (61-possession), defensive battle into must watch television on Friday night. With a crowd worked into a frenzy thanks to a red out and the Seawolves wearing their road jerseys at home, Stony Brook made the final run and got a sliver of revenge for last season’s America East title game with a 66-57 win.

Continue reading “Stars come out as Stony Brook takes lead in America East”

Stony Brook an AE contender and random variance

Wednesday provided three illustrations of different ways to win and lose basketball games. Stony Brook delivered a crushing blow to UMBC, 89-49. Fordham was on the other side in an 80-62 loss to Saint Joseph’s and Hofstra lost a heartbreaker to Northeastern 64-62 to fall to 0-5 in CAA play.

Continue reading “Stony Brook an AE contender and random variance”

Breakdown of Stony Brook’s loss to Sacred Heart

Stony Brook lost at Sacred Heart on Tuesday night, 73-64. The Seawolves got down in the first half and never recovered. The game provides a learning opportunity. The Pioneers are the first team near the level of an America East Conference team that Stony Brook has played against. What then went wrong tonight?

Continue reading “Breakdown of Stony Brook’s loss to Sacred Heart”