Coverage from:
The Massachusetts Daily Collegian - pre-awards
The Daily Hampshire Gazette - pre-awards
Atlantic 10 Conference - announcement
UMass Athletics
The Boston Herald
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Basketball Postseason Awards
By Justin Pearson, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, 3/5/2002

Postseason awards will be handed out on Tuesday night in Philadelphia at the annual Atlantic 10 men's basketball awards banquet. With the conference tournament slated to tip off Wednesday afternoon at the First Union Spectrum, players, coaches and other guests will gather at the Hyatt Regency to unveil the all-conference teams as well as the Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player of the Year.

While it is doubtful that any of the Minutemen will follow in the footsteps of Monty Mack and earn First-Team All A-10 honors, a number of Minutemen are in the running to return to Amherst carrying a little extra baggage.

Point guard Anthony Anderson is one of the frontrunners for conference Rookie of the Year. The native of Lynn is second on the team in scoring, assists and steals while leading the club in three-point field goals made. In addition to those numbers Anderson has picked up a season-high four A-10 Rookie of the Week awards. If chosen, Anderson will become the first Minuteman to garner the award since Marcus Camby picked up the hardware in 1994.

"I think so," said senior shooting guard Shannon Crooks when asked if he thought Anderson should be Rookie of the Year. "He's controlled the team all year. He did a great job, he didn't really turn the ball over and he came on strong toward the end of the season hitting a lot of shots and being aggressive. It's the little things so I think [he should win the award]."

Anderson's fellow newcomer Raheim Lamb is looking to join his teammate on the All-Rookie Team. Lamb ranks fifth in scoring and rebounding for UMass at just under six points and four boards a game while making 14 starts.

Rounding out the awards recipients could very well be Crooks during his final season in Amherst. He leads the Minutemen in scoring, assists, steals and free throws made as well as providing much needed experience and stability on the UMass perimeter. While his senior year with the Minutemen has been filled with numerous ups and downs, a postseason award would be a fitting tribute to the latest 1,000 point-scorer in UMass history.

"I think Shannon could easily be on one of the teams (first, second or third team all-conference)," said Head Coach Steve Lappas. "And I think Shannon might even be most improved player; I think that's also a possibility."

Atlantic 10 announces awards
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 3/5/2002

The Atlantic 10 will release its all-conference awards at 5:30 p.m., today at a banquet in Philadelphia. The awards are chosen exclusively by the coaches since the league's powers-that-be decided to eliminate media participation following the 1998-99 campaign.

So, to preview tonight's honors, the following is a poll of media taken from writers around the Atlantic 10.

This is how the media voted:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR - David West, Jr. C Xavier, 18.6 ppg. 10.0 rpg., 2.67 blocks per game

Last year while the coaches picked West, the writers opted for Marvin O'Connor, who's abundant scoring and late-game heroics left an impression. But this year being the A-10's best rebounder and shot-blocker, and one of its top scorers as well as playing on the league's best team, was enough to earn West the media vote.

First team: West, Lynn Greer, Temple; J.R. Bremer, St. Bonaventure; Jameer Nelson, St. Joseph's; Rasual Butler, La Salle.

Second team: Marvin O'Connor, St. Joe's; Romain Sato, Xavier; Marques Green, SBU; Chris Monroe, George Washington; Smush Parker, Fordham; Bill Phillips, St. Joe's. (Phillips and Parker earned the same number of votes creating a six-man team).

Third team: Keith Waleskowski, Dayton; Wayne Smith, Duquesne; Shannon Crooks, UMass; Brooks Hall, Dayton; Lionel Chalmers, Xavier.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Anthony Anderson, So. G UMass.

After sitting out a year as an academic non-qualifier, Anderson showed minimal rust even though he wasn't even allowed to practice last year. He emerged as the Minutemen's second-leading scorer at 9.9 points per game. If the coaches agree, Anderson will become the first Minuteman to win the award since Marcus Camby in 1993-94.

All-rookie team: Anderson; Adrian Walton, Fordham; T.J. Thompson, GW; Dustin Hellenga, Rhode Island; Mike Gansey, SBU

COACH OF THE YEAR - John Beilein, Richmond. Heading into a new league, Beilein lost two of his top three scorers from last year to graduation and had his starting center knocked out for the season before conference play started.

But Beilein was able to produce an 11-5 record and earned Richmond a first-round tournament bye.


All-Defensive team: West, Greer, Green, Greer, Raheim Lamb, UMass and Tony Dobbins, Richmond.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Green, St. Bonaventure.

The sophomore floor general's emergence helped the Bonnies turn what was supposed to be a rebuilding year into a third-place finish. He led the A-10 in steals with 3.56 per game, was second in assists at 5.96 assists per game and was 11th in scoring at 15.3 points.

UNPOPULAR MUSKETEERS - Whoever wins Wednesday's noon game between the University of Massachusetts and George Washington will become a popular team to root for Thursday at the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

It's not that either the Minutemen or Colonials are particularly lovable, but everyone at the Spectrum that hasn't commuted from Cincinnati will be rooting against Xavier.

The Musketeer folks shouldn't take it personally either. But if Xavier wins the A-10 Tournament, the league is realistically looking at getting just one team in the NCAA Tournament. That's an unpleasant thought for a league that likes to consider itself the best of the non-power conferences.

Xavier, with an RPI rank of 23, is the only team that appears to be assured of a bid when they're announced Sunday night. Nobody else appears to be on the mythical bubble either as the next highest RPI is St. Joseph's at 69.

The good news is Xavier is hardly unbeatable. Temple and St. Joseph's have legitimate reasons to be hopeful and you can't discount Richmond, whose 11-5 league record is solid.

No team has ever won the conference tournament without a first-round bye, but the heavyweights seem more vulnerable than usual.

The Atlantic 10 hasn't had just one bid since 1989-90, when Temple carried the banner as a No. 11 seed at the Omni in Atlanta. The league peaked in 1996-97 and 1997-98 when it got five bids.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Xavier's David West will find out tonight at the league's award's banquet whether or not he's been picked as the league's Player of the Year for the second-straight year. Who was the last player to win the award in back-to-back years? Answer below.

POY-TO-NBA: Winning the league's player of the year honor has often meant an NBA future.

From 1992-93 to 1999-2000 seven of the league's eight Player of the Year winners - Pepe Sanchez, Cuttino Mobley, Mark Jackson, Marcus Camby, Lou Roe, Eddie Jones, Aaron McKine - have all spent time in the league. Of that group only Roe and Sanchez are out of the league.

Only 1998-99 winner Shawnta Rogers hasn't spent a minute in the NBA.

West, who won the award last year and is the favorite this year is considered a likely first-round draft pick.

TOURNAMENT STREAKS: Temple has made it to the quarterfinals every year since joining the league in 1983, a streak that continues to this year as the Owls have a bye. UMass and George Washington have made the quarterfinals every year since 1989. Fordham is 0-6 in A-10 play since joining league for the 1995-96 season. La Salle is 2-6 over the same time period.

TRIVIA ANSWER: St. Bonaventure's Earl Belcher won the award in 1979-80 and 1980-81.

NOTABLE: Former UMass coach Bruiser Flint was named the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year.

Picked to finish last in CAA in the preseason, Flint led the Dragons to a 14-13 record including 11-7 in conference.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "It was just a really emotional night. To finish up the way we did, I was really proud of the way our team hung in there and played well as a team. We needed our whole team to come together. I thought they really did that. That was one of the best moments that I've ever been through as a coach. To end it that way is something I'll never forget."

Rhode Island coach Jim Baron after the Rams shocked his former team St. Bonaventure, 80-72, in the final game at URI's Keaney Gymnasium. Rhody opens a new convocation center next year.

From The Atlantic 10 Conference, 3/5/2002

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Xavier junior David West has become just the third player in Atlantic 10 history to earn back-to-back outright Player of the Year awards in voting conducted among the conference’s head coaches.

West led his Musketeers to the Atlantic 10 West division title and the overall top seed in this week’s Verizon Atlantic 10 Championship. The 6-9 forward from Garner, NC is averaging a team-high 18.5 points per game and an Atlantic 10-leading 10.0 rebounds per game. He also leads the conference in field goal percentage (.548) and blocked shots (2.67 bpg). West joins St. Bonaventure’s Earl Belcher (1980 and 1981) and James Bailey of Rutgers (1978 and 1979) as the only players to twice earn the league's Player of the Year award outright. Greg Jones of West Virginia earned Player of the Year honors in 1982 and co-player honors in 1983.

In addition to being tabbed Player of the Year, West also earned the Atlantic 10's Defensive Player of the Year award. Only West and Temple’s Pepe Sanchez (1999-00) have won both awards in the same season.

Joining West on the All-Conference first-team are J.R. Bremer of St. Bonaventure, Rasual Butler of La Salle, Temple’s Lynn Greer, and Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph’s.

The All-Conference second-team consists of George Washington’s Chris Monroe, Smush Parker of Fordham, Marvin O’Connor and Bill Phillips of Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier’s Romain Sato. On the third-team are Lionel Chalmers of Xavier, Marques Green of St. Bonaventure, Dayton’s Brooks Hall, David Hawkins of Temple, Mike Skrocki of Richmond, and Duquesne’s Wayne Smith.

Photo - click for larger image
Anthony Anderson. photo
Anthony Anderson of Massachusetts was named the league’s Rookie of the Year. The 5-11 sophomore point guard from Lynn, MA sat out all of last year. Despite the lay-off, Anderson enters the Verizon Atlantic 10 Championship as the Minutemen’s second leading scorer at 9.9 ppg. His 96 assists are second on the squad, as are his 27 steals.

Joining Anderson on the All-Rookie team are Mike Cleaves of La Salle, St. Bonaventure’s Mike Gansey, Brian Polk of Temple, and T.J. Thompson of George Washington.

The All-Defensive team is comprised of West, Green, Greer, Sato, and Tony Dobbins of Richmond.

J.R. Bremer, who has been among the country’s top five leading scorers all season, was named the Atlantic 10's Chris Daniels Award winner, presented to the conference’s most improved player. The 6-2 senior from Cleveland Heights, OH leads the Atlantic 10 with a 24.8 ppg scoring average and in the three-pointers made per game (2.93). His .802 free throw percentage places him fourth in the league and his 1.9 steals per game is good for fifth in the conference. A year ago, Bremer netted 16.6 ppg.

Temple sophomore Brian Polk garnered Sixth Man of the Year laurels. The 6-4 guard from Harbeson, DE has played a more vital role in the Owls’ rotation as the year has progressed. Polk enters the Championship sporting an 8.3 scoring average and 3.9 rebounding average. His 36 steals also make him a threat when opponents have the ball.

For the second time in as many years, Bill Phillips was named the Atlantic 10's Student-Athlete of the Year. On the court, the senior from Collegeville, PA averages 11.3 ppg and 7.3 rpg. He also leads the Atlantic 10 with a .522 three-point field goal percentage. Off the court, Phillips has a 3.93 grade point average as a graduate student seeking his MBA. As an undergraduate, Phillips had a 3.63 gpa as a finance major. This year he earned his third straight Academic All-District award. The three-time member of the Dean’s List was a 2001 third-team Verizon Academic All-America.

Phillips is joined on the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference team by Tony Dobbins, Mike Skrocki, and Scott Ungerer of Richmond and Jon Pawlak of Duquesne.

For guiding Xavier to the Atlantic 10 West division title, Thad Matta was named Coach of the Year. In just his first season at Xavier, Matta led his Musketeers to a 14-2 league ledger and a 22-5 mark overall. The 24th-ranked Musketeers enter the Verizon Atlantic 10 Championship as the overall top seed in the tournament. Prior to heading to Xavier, Matta was the head coach at Butler, guiding the squad to the NCAA Tournament and a 24-8 record.


First-Team School Cl. Pos. Ht. Hometown PPG RPG Asts Stls Bllks
J.R. Bremer St. Bonaventure Sr. G 6-2 Cleveland Heights, OH 24.8 4.6 83 52 2
Rasual Butler La Salle Sr. F 6-7 Philadelphia, PA 21.0 9.0 40 36 38
Lynn Greer Temple Sr. G 6-2 Philadelphia, PA 22.7 3.1 121 47 5
Jameer Nelson Saint Joseph’s So. G 6-0 Chester, PA 14.0 4.8 175 37 1
David West Xavier Jr. F 6-9 Garner, NC 18.6 10.0 43 33 72
Chris Monroe George Washington Jr. G 6-3 Hyattsville, MD 21.2 6.1 65 32 12
Marvin O’Connor Saint Joseph’s Sr. G 6-4 Philadelphia, PA 18.4 4.2 64 17 1
Bill Phillips Saint Joseph’s Sr. F 6-10 Collegeville, PA 11.3 7.3 74 21 13
Smush Parker Fordham So. G 6-4 New York, NY 16.5 4.4 124 62 7
Romain Sato Xavier So. G/F 6-5 Bangui, Central
African Rep.
15.6 6.6 50 26 19
Lionel Chalmers Xavier Jr. G 6-0 Albany, NY 12.3 3.3 110 36 2
Marques Green St. Bonaventure So. G 5-7 Norristown, PA 15.3 3.3 161 96 0
Brooks Hall Dayton Jr. F/G 6-6 Troy, OH 13.1 4.9 69 27 7
David Hawkins Temple So. G 6-4 Washington, DC 15.4 5.6 44 28 4
Mike Skrocki Richmond So., F 6-6 Howell, NJ 12.9 3.7 55 23 5
Wayne Smith Duquesne Sr. F 6-7 Toronto, ONT 16.4 5.7 54 28 11
All-Rookie Team
Anthony Anderson Massachusetts So. G 5-11 Lynn, MA 9.9 3.4 96 27 2
Mike Cleaves La Salle Fr. G 5-10 Paterson, NJ 11.0 3.7 75 33 5
Mike Gansey St. Bonaventure Fr. G 6-4 Olmsted Falls, OH 8.4 4.3 17 39 2
Brian Polk Temple So. G 6-4 Harbeson, DE 8.3 3.9 11 36 3
T.J. Thompson George Washington Fr. G 5-11 Germantown, MD 9.7 2.6 114 36 1
All-Defensive Team
Tony Dobbins Richmond So. G 6-4 Mitchellville, MD 10.9 5.9 34 65 7
Marques Green St. Bonaventure So. G 5-7 Norristown, PA 15.3 3.3 161 96 0
Lynn Greer Temple Sr. G 6-2 Philadelphia, PA 22.7 3.1 121 47 5
Romain Sato Xavier So. G/F 6-5 Bangui, Central
African Rep.
15.6 6.6 50 26 19
David West Xavier Jr. F 6-9 Garner, NC 18.6 10.0 43 33 72

All-Academic Team School Cl. Pos. Ht. Hometown GPA Major
Tony Dobbins Richmond So. G 6-4 Mitchellville, MD 3.21 Rhetoric and Comm. Studies
Jon Pawlak Duquesne So. F 6-9 Natrona Heights, PA 3.29 Business/Investment Mgt.
Bill Phillips Saint Joseph’s Sr. F 6-10 Collegeville, PA 3.93 Financial Services (MBA)
Mike Skrocki Richmond So. F 6-6 Howell, NJ 3.03 Undeclared
Scott Ungerer Richmond Sr. G/F 6-7 Syracuse, NY 3.45 Biology

Player of the Year: David West, Xavier
Rookie of the Year: Anthony Anderson, Massachusetts
Defensive Player of the Year: David West, Xavier
Chris Daniels Most Improved Player of the Year: J.R. Bremer, St. Bonaventure
Sixth Man of the Year: Brian Polk, Temple
Student-Athlete of the Year: Bill Phillips, Saint Joseph’s
Coach of the Year: Thad Matta, Xavier

UMass Guard Anthony Anderson Named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year
Sophomore becomes first Minuteman to win the award since 1994
From UMass Athletics, 3/5/2002

AMHERST, Mass. - Sophomore guard Anthony Anderson (Lynn, Mass.) of the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team has been selected as the 2002 Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year. Anderson, who was also named to the Atlantic 10's All-Rookie team, becomes the first Minuteman to receive the award since Marcus Camby was honored as the Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in 1994.

Anderson has averaged 9.9 points, 3.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game this season, while hitting 64 out of 169 (.379) three-point attempts. He leads the team in three-point goals made (64) and three-point percentage (.379), while standing second in scoring average (9.9), assists (96), minutes played (907) and steals (27). Anderson stepped up his game against Atlantic 10 foes, averaging 11.1 points, 3.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 16 conference games, while connecting on 49 of 117 (.419) three-pointers.

A four-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week selection this season, Anderson's 64 three-pointers made on the year rank ninth on the all-time UMass single season list. For the season, he ranks sixth in the Atlantic 10 in three-point goals made per game (2.37), seventh in both assist-to-turnover ratio (1.60-to-1) and three-point field goal percentage (.379), and 13th in assists (3.6).

UMass, which stands 12-15 overall and 6-10 in conference play, returns to action tomorrow, March 6, when it takes on George Washington in the opening round of the Verizon Atlantic 10 Championship. Tip-off is set for 12:05 p.m. at the First Union Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pa.

UMass' Anderson cops rookie honor
By Mark Murphy, The Boston Herald, 3/6/2002

PHILADELPHIA - Anthony Anderson estimates that save for playing pickup games and informal runs with his eligible UMass teammates, he didn't play organized basketball for just over a year prior to this season.

But his steps and decisions as UMass' point guard this season rarely faltered - the primary reason that the sophomore from Lynn English takes the Minutemen into today's Atlantic 10 tournament opener against George Washington as a true leader in every basketball sense.

It's also the reason that Anderson was feted during last night's Atlantic 10 awards reception as the conference's Rookie of the Year.

Though Jameer Nelson, the St. Joseph's point guard who won the award last season, cuts a higher profile as one of the best NBA prospects in the conference, Anderson followed in much the same vein with his ability to play under control.

His mistake-free game, with a 1.59-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio that was seventh-best in the A-10 this season, was his primary strength this season.

``I was probably a little surprised that he had such a good floor game this year,'' UMass coach Steve Lappas said yesterday. ``The kids really look to him, which can be a tough spot for a (first-year player). The great thing is that he's only going to get better.

``And he's even come on offensively,'' Lappas said. ``He's been asked to take on a lot as a young player. He's still unselfish to a fault, and we still have to remind him to shoot on occasion.

``He's really a good 3-point shooter, and he just has to remember to keep looking for that shot.''

This season, when the Minutemen's supposed strength - the inside game - faltered most of the way - it was the 3-point shooting of Anderson and senior Shannon Crooks that most often pulled UMass out of those all-too-frequent offensive droughts.

``They don't have to encourage me anymore,'' said Anderson. ``At the beginning of the year I was just getting my feet wet. But now I know that I have to shoot.

``I don't feel like I'm a first-year player anymore,'' he said. ``I'm smarter now. In high school it's a game. In college a lot goes into watching tapes and getting to know the other team.''

Crooks, despite an exceptional senior season, was not named by coaches to any of the A-10's three all-conference teams.

That left Anderson to represent the Minutemen alone last night. Center Kitwana Rhymer and forward Micah Brand, last season's Most Improved co-Players of the Year, with Rhymer also taking home the Defensive Player of the Year award, were left off all of the lists last night as well.

But the good news for Lappas is that Anderson is young - precisely what the coach needs as he attempts to install a new system. Due to the Minutemen's shortcomings this season, Lappas was forced to do much more play-calling than his motion offense would normally have called for.

He hopes that Anderson will help push his system in the right direction.

``He has a very good understanding of the game,'' said Lappas. ``He'll be very good in this style, because he moves well without the ball and he's a good shooter.''

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