A number of New York City teams made positive moves forward during conference play this week. It’s great because it makes selecting these awards even more difficult. Also, with so many teams showing signs of life hopefully we’re in for some excellent basketball in the NYC area during the next two months. Anyone who attended Quinnipiac’s overtime victory over Manhattan, certainly knows how exciting basketball in the city can be.
Team of the Week: Iona — Going 2-0 in conference during a week is always to be commended. The Gaels did it with two convincing victories over Quinnipiac and Saint Peter’s. The offense is clicking better than ever. As pointed out in tempo-free MAAC today the Gaels haven’t been below a point per possession in MAAC play. Tim Cluess’s team now has an adjusted offensive efficiency of 117.1 (17th nationally) according to Ken Pomeroy. The defense is a little worse, but this team all of a sudden looks very much like the ones that have been to the last two NCAA tournaments. Friday the Gaels host Manhattan in a game between MAAC heavyweights that can only be described as absolutely humongous for the league’s complexion.
Honorable Mentions: St. John’s, Columbia, Stony Brook
Player of the Week: Jakarr Sampson, St. John’s — We’re giving out this word with degree of difficult attached this week. Sampson obviously did his work in St. John’s first two victories over Big East opponents (Seton Hall and at Butler). His 16-point, 4-rebound performance against the Pirates was just the warmup for the 20-point, 7-rebound performance against the Bulldogs. Sampson, who I highlighted as an important piece for St. John’s moving forward, shot 17-25 (68%) on two-point attempts during those two games. The game against Butler was Sampson most efficient (in terms of offensive rating) of the entire season. The Red Storm took a big step forward this past week and Sampson was a big reason why.
Honorable Mentions: Jason Brickman, LIU Brooklyn; Corey Osetkowski, Columbia; Jalen Cannon, St. Francis Brooklyn; Ike Azotam, Quinnipiac; Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall
Rookie of the Week: Ahmad Walker, Stony Brook — What got into the freshmen this week? A number of youngsters had excellent weeks. Walker though takes the cake thanks to his 22-point, 11-rebound performance in an 18-point victory over Maine on Sunday. While Walker shot just 3-10 from the floor in the game earlier in the week against Vermont, he did score six points and grab nine rebounds. He’s also shown the penchant for passing, adding 2.3 assists per game in a diverse game. His 22 points and 11 rebounds against the Black Bears were both season highs.
Honorable Mentions: Glenn Feidanga, LIU Brooklyn; Spencer Weisz, Princeton; Damon Lynn, NJIT