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L-R: Defensive Player of the Year Brian Voelkel, 6th Man of Year Antonio Bivins, Player of Year Jameel Warney, Rookie of Year Rodney Elliott, Coach of Year John Becker
Courtesy: America East Communications

Warney Tabbed Player of Year to Highlight MBB Award Winners

Release: 03/07/2014
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ALBANY, N.Y. - For just the sixth time in America East history, a sophomore is the league’s Kevin Roberson Player of the Year as Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney earned the honor to highlight the men’s basketball annual award winners announced Friday afternoon. Warney, along with the other four major award winners and all-conference honorees, received their awards at the league’s end of the year awards reception on the eve of the start of the 2014 men’s basketball championship at University at Albany.

Joining Warney as a major award winner were a pair of unanimous choices, Vermont’s Brian Voelkel for Defensive Player of the Year and UMBC’s Rodney Elliott as Rookie of the Year. UMass Lowell’s Antonio Bivins took home the first-ever America East Sixth Man of the Year trophy and Vermont head coach John Becker earned Coach of the year honors for the first time.

Just the sixth sophomore to earn America East Player of the Year honors, Warney has led the nation in field goal percentage for much of the season, shooting 62.9 percent from the field. The sophomore big man is the second-straight Seawolf to win the award and ranks seventh in the conference scoring 14.7 points per game and third pulling down 7.9 rebounds a game. His 32-point, 21-rebound performance at Detroit was one of his eight double-doubles this year. Warney is also a first-team All-Conference selection.

A unanimous choice as Defensive Player of the Year, Voelkel led the Catamounts to one of the best defensive seasons in league history as they led the league in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense and held America East foes to under 52 points per game during regular-season play. Also an All-Defensive choice for the third time, he is sixth among conference leaders in steals and leads the league with 186 defensive rebounds. A first-team All-League choice for the second-straight year, Voelkel currently ranks fifth all-time on the league’s all-time rebound list.

UMBC’s first-ever Rookie of the Year honoree, Elliott was a five-time Rookie of the Week during the season. The freshman guard leads all freshmen in scoring averaging 15.4 points per game, is fourth overall and was second in conference games. Also a third-team All-Conference selection, he is the lone player in the league with 400 points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists this season and one of just two to rank in the league’s top five in both scoring and assists (4th - 3.5 apg).

After missing the entire non-league portion of the schedule due to injury, Bivins made an immediate impact for UMass Lowell upon his return to earn Sixth Man of the Year honors. He ranked sixth in the league in scoring during league games, averaging 14.0 points per game, and was eighth in rebounding (5.6 rpg). Also a  third-team All-Conference selection, the River Hawks went 9-7 in games he played in after going 1-11 without him.

Becker is Coach of the Year for the first time in his three years as Vermont’s head coach. Under his guidance, the Catamounts won their sixth America East regular-season title since 2002. Winners of 20 games for the 11th time in the last 13 years, UVM dominated the league schedule, becoming the first America East team to suffer just one league loss in seven seasons and setting a new standard for scoring margin, beating America East foes by an average of 20.9 points per game.

Accompanying Warney and Voelkel on the All-Conference first team are Hartford’s Mark Nwakamma and Vermont’s Sandro Carissimo and Clancy Rugg. Nwakamma, a junior forward, is a repeat first-team selection and ranks third in scoring (15.1 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (5.9 rpg). Carissimo, a senior guard, ranks 10th in the league in scoring (12.8 ppg) and third in three-point percentage (.440), while Rugg, a senior forward, ranks eighth in scoring (13.1 ppg), fifth in rebounding (6.1 rpg) and fourth in field goal percentage (.557). It’s the first time in league history one school has had three first-team All-Conference honorees.

The second-team features three sophomores - Albany’s Peter Hooley, Binghamton’s Jordan Reed and Stony Brook’s Carson Puriefoy, along with Albany’s Sam Rowley, a junior, and UMass Lowell’s Akeem Williams, a senior. Hooley ranks sixth in scoring (14.8 ppg) while Reed is second (15.7 ppg) and leads the league in rebounding (9.0 rpg). Puriefoy is 11th in scoring (12.7 ppg) while Rowley ranks in the top 15 in both scoring and rebounding and Williams leads the league in scoring (15.8 ppg).

Joining Elliott and Bivins as third-team selections are Maine’s Xavier Pollard and Stony Brook’s Dave Coley and Anthony Jackson. Pollard, a junior guard, ranks in the top five in both scoring and assists while Coley, also an All-Defensive selection, and Jackson were important pieces for the Seawolves, who won 20 games for the fourth time in the last five year.

Elliott headlines the All-Rookie team and is joined by Binghamton’s Yosef Yacob, New Hampshire’s Jacoby Armstrong, Stony Brook’s Ahmad Walker and Vermont’s Kurt Steidl, the league leader in three-point field goal percentage.

Voelkel and Coley are accompanied on the All-Defensive team by Albany’s John Puk, the league leader in blocked shots, Hartford’s Corban Wroe and Vermont’s Ethan O’Day.

Three All-Conference standouts also earned All-Academic honors. Carissimo received the honor for the third-straight year while Rowley was a repeat selection and Hooley, a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, earned recognition for the first time. Vermont’s Luke Apfeld earned the honor for the third-straight year while New Hampshire’s Scott Morris was a repeat choice. Hartford’s Corban Wroe, also an All-Defensive honoree, rounded out the team. Those selections were chosen by a committee made up of America East sports information directors, academic advisors and faculty athletic representatives.

The 2014 America East Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championship presented by SEFCU gets underway Saturday with quarterfinal action at University at Albany’s SEFCU Arena.


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