Holland, Three Catamounts Receive Men's Basketball Annual Awards
University of Vermont, the regular-season champion and top seed for the conference tournament, received the other three major awards. Sophomore guard Brendan Bald (Millersville, Md./Severna Park) earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, while freshman Brian Voelkel (Pleasantville, N.Y./Iona Prep) was named the league’s Rookie of the Year. Their coach, Mike Lonergan, garnered Coach of the Year accolades for the second time in his six seasons leading the Catamounts. The winners were chosen in a vote by the league’s head coaches.
Holland, a senior guard, is the Terriers’ fourth Player of the Year recipient and first since Tunji Awojobi earned the honor in 1997. The league’s leading scorer averaging 19.2 points per game, Holland is poised to become just the fourth player ever to repeat as scoring champion, joining greats Taylor Coppenrath, Vin Baker and Reggie Lewis in the esteemed group. Earlier this season, Holland became the conference’s 13th member of the 2,000-point club and currently stands eighth all-time with 2,133 career points. He also eclipsed the 700-rebound mark this season and ranks 12th pulling down 5.7 boards per game this season. Holland, a four-time America East Player of the Week in 2010-11, is just one of seven players in league history to score 2,000 points and grab 700 boards.
Lonergan, who in his sixth season at Vermont, earned his second Coach of the Year award after also being recognized in 2007. Picked fifth in the preseason poll after losing four starters from last year’s America East championship squad, Lonergan led Vermont to 22 wins and its third regular-season title during his tenure. Since coming to Burlington, Lonergan’s teams have compiled a 125-66 record, won three America East regular-season titles, played in three league championship games and captured last year’s league crown.
Voelkel, a freshman forward, has made an immediate impact upon his arrival at Vermont this year. Averaging only 7.1 points per game, he has more than made up for it in other areas. Voelkel, who leads America East in rebounding (9.7 rpg) and has a league-best 16 double-digit board games, is on pace to become the first rookie ever to lead the league in caroms. He also ranks second among conference leaders in assists (4.7 apg) and steals (1.7 spg).
Bald, a sophomore guard, has been the catalyst for Vermont’s defense, which ranks among the best units in the league. The Catamounts are third in America East and 32nd nationally allowing just 61.9 points per game. A lockdown perimeter defender, Bald has pestered opponents into low shooting percentages all season. Vermont ranks 18th nationally holding foes to 39.4 percent shooting, including 31.4 percent from three-point territory. Also, a third-team all-conference and all-defensive selection, Bald contributes offensively as well, averaging 11.8 points per contest.
Holland, who made the first team for the third straight year, is joined on that squad by four other top performers. University at Albany’s Tim Ambrose (Brentwood, N.Y./Our Savior New American), a senior guard, ranked second among America East scoring leaders (16.4 ppg) while Holland’s teammate Darryl Partin (Seattle, Wash./Charis Prep/La Salle), a junior guard, has nine 20-point performances and averages 14.9 points per game. University of Maine’s Troy Barnies (Auburn, Maine/Auburn) broke out during his season, ranking in the top-10 in both scoring (14.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg). Vermont’s Evan Fjeld rounds out the squad after leading the league in field goal percentage (.543) and blocks (1.9 bpg) while averaging 14.9 points and 6.3 boards.
University of Hartford’s Joe Zeglinski (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan), Maine’s Gerald McLemore (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch) and Stony Brook University’s Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood) are repeat all-league selections and highlight the second team. University of New Hampshire’s Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt./Burlington) and UMBC’s Chris De La Rosa (Washington Heights, N.Y./All Hallows/Siena) round out the squad.
Bald was accompanied on the third team by Albany’s Logan Aronhalt (Zanesville, Ohio/Zanesville) and Mike Black (Chicago, Ill./Oak Park Fenwick), Binghamton University’s Mahamoud Jabbi (Serrekunda, Gambia/Alfred E. Smith/SUNY Oswego) and Hartford’s Morgan Sabia (San Anselmo, Calif./Sir Francis Drake).
Along with Bald and Jabbi on the all-defensive team are Boston University’s Patrick Hazel (Jamaica, N.Y./Blair Academy (N.J.)/Marquette), Hartford’s Milton Burton (Birmingham, Ala./Fairfield Prep/Panola College) and New Hampshire’s Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va./Air Force Prep).
The 2011 America East Men’s & Women’s Championship presented by Newman’s Own got underway last night and will continue with four quarterfinal contests tomorrow, followed by a pair of semifinal games Sunday night. The title game will be played on Saturday, March 12 at the site of the highest remaining seed at 12 noon on ESPN 2.