Warney, Pikiell, Cremo Dominate Top America East Awards

It was another great day in the awards for Stony Brook, after a season that saw them take their fourth regular season in 15 seasons in Division I.

Stony Brook senior Jameel Warney won his third straight America East Player of the Year award on Monday. The 6’8” forward ranked second in the conference in scoring (18.5 ppg) and led the league in rebounding (10.2 rpg). Warney joins two other players in conference history to win Rookie of the Year and follow it up by winning three straight Player of the Year awards in his four seasons. The other two are Vermont’s Taylor Coppenrath and Northeastern’s Reggie Lewis.

Warney also claimed the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honor for the second time in his career. He joins his former teammate Tommy Brenton and Vermont’s Marqus Blakely to be the only players to claim the Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year award in the same season.

“Those two names are legends and their play just shows how great this conference is,” Warney said after receiving the honor to AmericaEast.tv. “I’m happy to be part of that group now and I’m happy to be three time player of the year.”

Steve Pikiell picked up the America East Coach of the Year award as he led the Seawolves to a 14-2 record in league play, tying their best in school history.

The 48 year-old head coach earned his fourth America East Coach of the Year honor in six seasons. The four he has earned tie him with Bill Herrion, who received four while at Drexel, for the most Coach of the Year awards in conference history.

Their 23 wins are two shy of the school record, set in 2012-13 when the Seawolves last won the regular season championship and went on to beat UMass in the first round of the NIT.

Meanwhile the Seawolves did not sweep the awards thanks to Albany’s Joe Cremo, who carried the conference’s Rookie of the Year award and the Sixth Man of the Year award. He becomes the first Great Danes player since Jon Iati in 2004 to claim the league’s top rookie award.

First Team
Ray Sanders Albany Sr
Evan Singletary Albany Sr
Tanner Leissner New Hampshire Soph
Carson Puriefoy Stony Brook Sr
Jameel Warney Stony Brook Sr

Two of Cremo’s teammates on the Great Danes made the first team All-America East on Monday, as Ray Sanders and Evan Singletary were honored. Sophomore Tanner Leissner became the first Wildcat to earn a spot on the first team since Blagoj Janev in 2006. Warney, who took Player of the Year honors was an easy shoe-in for the honor, but his senior classmate Carson Puriefoy joins him to round out the first team. Puriefoy, who was not picked on the All-America East team in the preseason ranks sixth in the conference in scoring (14.5 ppg) and seventh in assists (3.1 apg).

Second Team
Pancake Thomas Hartford Jr
Jairus Lyles UMBC Soph
Jahad Thomas UMass Lowell Soph
Jaleen Smith New Hampshire Jr
Ray McGrew Stony Brook Sr

The second team features two of the top transfers in the league in Hartford’s Pancake Thomas, who leads the conference in scoring (19.5 ppg) and UMBC’s Jairus Lyles who would be the league’s top scorer (23.0 ppg) if not for playing only after the fall semester. Jahad Thomas became the second RiverHawk to reach the conference’s second team in school history, the highest any UMass Lowell player has reached in their transition into Division I. The other was Akeem Williams in their first season in the conference in 2013.

Third Team
Peter Hooley Albany Sr
Willie Rodriguez Binghamton Soph
Trae Bell-Haynes Vermont Soph
Ethan O’Day Vermont Sr
Kurt Steidl Vermont Jr

There are two first team All-America East preseason selections who join the third team this season and both are seniors. Ethan O’Day finished as a member of the first team last season, while Hooley finished last year on the second team mostly because of his extended leave of absence. Willie Rodriguez becomes the first Bearcat since Jordan Reed in 2014 to be named to an All-Conference team. Three Catamounts make the top three teams, but this marks the first time since the 1998-99 season that a Catamount did not make the first or second team.

All-Rookie Team
Joe Cremo Albany
Issac Vann Maine
Joe Sherburne UMBC
Isaac White UMass Lowell
Ernie Duncan Vermont

Issac Vann became the second Black Bear in as many seasons under head coach Bob Walsh to earn a spot on the All-Rookie team, Kevin Little did so last season.

Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.