Wilson Highlights Award Winners as Player of the Year
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — University at Albany guard Jamar Wilson became the first player in school history to win the Kevin Roberson Award, given annually to America East’s Player of the Year in men's basketball. Vermont’s Mike Trimboli was named Rookie of the Year, while Binghamton’s Sebastian Hermenier was selected Defensive Player of the Year. Hartford’s Larry Harrison also became the first coach in school history to earn the league's Coach of the Year honors. All voting was conducted by the conference’s head coaches. The awards were announced at the annual America East banquet at the Binghamton Regency on Friday morning.
Watch the awards presentation video!
Complete All-Conference Team Breakdown (PDF)
Wilson, who is second in America East in scoring with 18.2 ppg, is the first Albany player to combine for more than 1,400 points and 300 assists in a career. He is No. 4 in scoring (1,470) and No. 8 in assists (313) on the school’s all-time lists. Wilson becomes just the fifth player in conference history to win both Rookie of the Year (2002-03) and Kevin Roberson Player of the Year accolades, joining the elite company of Northeastern's Reggie Lewis, Boston University's Tunji Awojobi and Vermont's Taylor Coppenrath and T.J. Sorrentine. Wilson has helped lead the Great Danes to their first regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming 2006 America East Men's Basketballl Championship on March 3-5 at Binghamton University's Events Center.
Trimboli leads the entire league in assists (5.67 apg) and paces the conference’s rookies in scoring (14.1 ppg) and free throw percentage (88.2 percent). The 6-1 guard registered three double-doubles this season with season-highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds, while leading the Catamounts in scoring in 10 of Vermont’s 27 games. Trimboli becomes the fifth Catamount in school history to win the award given to the league's top freshman, joining the likes of Eddie Benton (1992-93), Tony Orciari (1997-98), T.J. Sorrentine (2000-01) and Taylor Coppenrath (2001-02).
Hermenier is the anchor of one of the league's stingiest defenses. The 6-6 forward ranks among the league leaders in scoring (10.8 ppg), rebounding (6.2 rpg), offensive rebounds (2.19 orpg), defensive rebounds (4.0 drpg) and free throw percentage (85.4 percent). Hermenier has taken a team-best 22 charges this season, while guiding Binghamton to its highest conference tournament seeding (No. 2) in school history and the most wins (15) in the Division I era of the program.
Harrison, now in his sixth season with the Hawks, led Hartford back into the top half of the conference stadings after finishing 10th a season ago. The Hawks finished the 2005-06 campaign with a 9-7 league record and earned the No. 4 seed for the America East Men's Basketball Championship. Hartford ranks second in the conference scoring offense, field goal percentage, rebounding margin and steals this season. Harrison becomes the first coach in school history to be named America East Coach of the Year.
The all-conference first team consists of Wilson, Andre Heard of Binghamton, Boston University’s Kevin Gardner, Hartford’s Kenny Adeleke and New Hampshire’s Blagoj Janev. Heard, a second-team choice last season, ranks third in the conference in scoring (16.6 ppg) and first in steals (1.89 spg) and has been the offensive leader on the conference's No. 2 squad. Gardner, a senior forward, leads the Terriers in rebounding with 7.5 rpg and scoring (13.5) and has guided Boston U. to its fifth-straight top three seed for the conference championship. Adeleke, a senior transfer from Hofstra University, had one of the most productive seasons in conference history as he led the league in scoring (20.5 ppg) and rebounding (13.1 rpg). The 6-9 forward has tied Drexel's Malik Rose for the most double-doubles in a single season (23) in America East history. Janev, a junior forward, has helped the Wildcats to a No. 5 seed, the highest ranking since 2002. Under first-year head coach Bill Herrion, Janev leads New Hampshire with 14.4 ppg and 4.5 rpg.
Trimboli, the only rookie to make an all-conference team, and Hermenier are joined on the second team by Hartford’s Aaron Cook, Maine’s Ernest Turner and UMBC’s John Zito. Cook, a third-team selection last season, led the Hawks in free throw percentage (76.6 percent), steals (1.59 spg) and three-point field goal percentage (39.6 percent). Turner, was the top scoring Black Bear in 14-of-27 games this season and averages a team-high 15.2 ppg. Zito leads the Retrievers in scoring (14.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg) and has been the top performer for the Retrievers all season long.
The third team is made up by Albany’s Brent Wilson and Kirsten Zoellner, Binghamton’s Mike Gordon, Stony Brook’s Mitchell Beauford and Vermont’s Martin Klimes. Brent Wilson is the Great Danes' second-leading scorer (10.4 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (4.6 rpg) and fourth in assists with 3.89 apg. Zoellner is the top defensive Great Dane with 5.2 rpg and 1.32 blocks per game. Gordon is second in the conference in assists (4.41 apg) and steals (1.70 spg), while Beauford is the top scoring Seawolf with 14.2 ppg. Klimes recorded two double-doubles this season and dropped in a career-high 24 points against Nevada.
The inaugural all-defensive team is made up of Hermenier, Gordon, Klimes, Heard and Maine’s Olli Ahvenniemi. Ahvenniemi leads the Black Bears in rebounding with 6.2 rpg and holds the top spot in the conference in blocked shots with 2.59 blocks per game.
The all-rookie team is led by Trimboli and consists of Boston U.’s Corey Hassan, Hartford’s Paris Carter, Maine’s Philippe Tchekane Bofia and UMBC’s Jay Greene. Hassan is averaging 11.5 ppg on the year and is third in the conference with 63 three-pointers. Hassan ranks seventh among all-time freshmen scorers at Boston U. Carter is averaging 10.8 ppg and 4.8 rpg in conference games this season and is third on the team in scoring. Tchekane Bofia ranks second in rebounding for the Black Bears with 5.4 rpg and first in field goal percentage (46.4 percent). Greene leads UMBC in assists with 3.69 apg and three-point percentage (37 percent).
Each of the all-conference and all-rookie choices will be in action this weekend at the America East Men’s Basketball Championship. The championship begins with first-round action on Friday, March 3. Quarterfinal games will be played Saturday, March 4 with the semifinals slated for Sunday, March 5. Each of the first three rounds will be held at the 5,222-seat Events Center on the Binghamton campus. The championship game returns to the home court of the higher remaining seed on Saturday, March 11. The game, which will air live on ESPN2, begins at 12 noon.