ALBANY, N.Y. -- University of Vermont’s Marqus Blakely (Metchuen, N.J./Metchuen) has repeated as America East Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, becoming just the fifth player in conference history to take home the award in consecutive seasons. Blakely headlined the annual award winners, which were announced at the league’s yearly awards brunch on the campus of University at Albany on Friday, which will host the 2009 Men’s Basketball Championship Friday through Sunday at SEFCU Arena. The winners were chosen in a vote by the league’s head coaches.
Blakely also garnered Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second straight season, while Boston University’s Jake O’Brien (Weymouth, Mass./Boston College High) became the third straight Terrier to earn Rookie of the Year accolades. Binghamton University’s Kevin Broadus was tabbed the 2008-09 Coach of the Year.
Blakely joined elite company as one of just six players to win the Kevin Roberson Player of the Year award multiple times. He also became the first repeat winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award, which has been given out each of the past seven seasons. The junior power forward ranks sixth in the league in scoring with 15.7 points per game and is the league leader in rebounding (9.0 rpg), blocks (2.77 bpg) and steals (1.9 spg). Blakely is the first player since Reggie Lewis, and only the second ever, to enter the tournament ast the league leader in all three of those categories.
Second-year head coach Kevin Broadus led the Bearcats to their most successful season in their Division I era. Binghamton claimed a share of the regular-season title, the first time in the program's 63-year history it has won a regular-season crown. The Bearcats, who have won eight straight and 10-of-11 overall, also posted 20 wins for just the second time ever and first time at the Division I level.
O'Brien, the conference's top freshman scorer at 12.6 points per game, became the third straight Boston University player to earn Rookie of the Year honors. It is just the second time in conference history and first instance since the mid-1980’s one team has taken home the honor three straight years. A 6-foot-8 forward with perimeter skills, O’Brien ranked eighth among America East leaders with 60 made 3-pointers.
Joining Blakely on the all-conference first team is Boston University’s John Holland (Bronx, N.Y./St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) and Corey Lowe (Newton, Mass./Newton North), UMBC’s Darryl Proctor (District Heights, Md./Paul IV/Coppin State) and Vermont’s Mike Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./St. Luke’s). Holland , the 2008 Rookie of the Year, was one of just two players to average 20 points per game in league play (20.2 ppg) and ranked third in the league with 18.0 points per contest overall. Lowe, a second-team all-league choice last season, ranked fourth in the league with 16.6 points per contest and fourth with 4.1 assists per outing. Proctor led the league in scoring during conference play, averaging almost 21 points per game (20.9 ppg). A repeat first-team selection, Proctor was one of just two players to average 20 points per game and ranked third in the conference with 8.6 rebounds per contest. Trimboli, a four-time all-league selection, rounds out the first-team squad. He ranked fifth in the league in scoring (16.3 ppg) and second in assists (4.9 apg).
UMBC’s Jay Greene (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall) and University of New Hampshire’’s Tyrece Gibbs (Brocton, Mass./Thayer Academy), both all-conference choices a year ago, received second-team honors this season. Binghamton’s D.J. Rivera (Philadelphia, Pa./Neumann-Goretti/St. Joseph’s) and Emanuel Mayben (Troy, N.Y./Troy/Hudson Valley CC) were also second-team selections. Stony Brook University’s Muhammad El-Amin (Lansing, Mich./Holt/Lansing CC) completed the squad.
The third team consists of University at Albany’s Tim Ambrose (Bronx, N.Y./Our Savior New American) and Will Harris (Corona, N.Y./Brewster Academy/Virginia), Binghamton’s Reggie Fuller (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower/Angelina College), University of Hartford’s Jaret von Rosenberg (Mission, Texas/Sharyland /Colin County CC) and Vermont’s Colin McIntosh (Milton, Mass./Northfield Mt. Hermon).
O’Brien is joined on the all-rookie squad by University of Maine’s Gerald McLemore (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch), Stony Brook’s Tommy Brenton (Columbia, Md./River Hill/Hargrave) and Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood) and Vermont’s Garvey Young (Washington, D.C./Georgetown Prep).
Blakely is an All-Defensive honoree for the second straight season, while Fuller is a first-time recipient. Albany’s Jerel Hastings (Dallas, Texas/South Oak Cliff/Lon Morris College), Boston University’s Matt Wolff (Walpole, Mass./Walpole and Stony Brook’s Marques Cox round out the selections.
All of the annual award winners will be in action at the 2009 America East Men’s Basketball Championship at University at Albany’s SEFCU Arena, beginning tonight with first-round action at 7 p.m.