Checking in on the… America East

Posted by rtmsf on February 23rd, 2009

Corey Johns is the RTC correspondent for the America East Conference.

Over the past two weeks Boston U and Albany played their way out of contention for the regular season conference championship.  Albany just went in a free fall down the standings, losing five straight while Boston U needed to win out for hope but most recently lost to Stony Brook, taking them out.  It’s down to Vermont and Binghamton.  If Binghamton wins out they are the champion.  They beat Vermont twice this year and have the tie breaker.  But if they slip at all Vermont is in perfect position to take the title.

Team    Overall Record    Conference Record

  • Vermont    21-7    12-3
  • Binghamton    18-8    11-3
  • Boston U    14-12    9-5
  • Stony Brook    15-12    7-7
  • New Hampshire    11-14    6-7
  • UMBC    12-14    6-8
  • Albany    13-13    5-8
  • Maine    9-17    4-9
  • Hartford    6-22    2-12

Projected Awards

First Team All-Conference

  • D.J. Rivera, G, Binghamton- (20.4ppg, 6.5rpg, 1,7spg, .487 FG%)
  • Darryl Proctor, F, UMBC (20.2ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.3spg, .490 FG%)
  • John Holland, F, Boston U (17.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.9spg, .461 FG%)
  • Mike Trimboli, G, Vermont (16.0ppg, 4.8apg, 3.7rpg, .467 FG%)
  • Marqus Blakely, F, Vermont (15.6ppg, 8.9rpg, 2.7bpg, .598FG%)

Player of the Year

  • Darryl Proctor, F, UMBC- (20.2ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg, 26 games in double figures)

Defensive Player of the Year

  • Marqus Blakely, F, Vermont- (8.9rpg, 2.7bpg, 2.0spg)

Freshman of the Year

  • Jake O’Brien, F, Boston U- (12.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.0 threes/game)

Coach of the Year

  • Kevin Broadus (18-8, 11-3)

The Contenders

Vermont - There may not be a team hotter than the Catamounts in the America East.  They have won 12 of their last 13 and anytime a team gets 21 wins it’s impressive.  Marqus Blakely, Mike Trimboli and have just been a fantastic trio for Vermont this year and are all making great cases to be a first team all-conference selection.  Trimboli has been unstoppable the past two weeks, in which Vermont went 5-0, as he lead the team with 16.8 ppg, 5.4 apg and 3.0 spg.  But even that performance has been topped.  Blakely is doing everything he can to win a second straight player of the year award as he averaged a double-double (15.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg) in the five wins. McIntosh has been the unsung hero of the team.  The attention always goes to Trimboli and Blakely but McIntosh has been just as effective as them this year.  He’s averaging 12.6 ppg (third on team), 5.2 rpg (second on team), and has sunk 50.5% of his shots (third on team), making for a great trio of scorers.  Vermont’s biggest advantage is their depth.  They play 14 guys on any given night, and because of that they run a very good full court press that really wears teams down.

Binghamton – Assuming Binghamton doesn’t slip up they are the regular season conference champions.  Binghamton is a great story this year.  They are starting four newcomers (three transfers) and their co-captain Dwayne Jackson (second leading scorer) got kicked of the team for repeatedly breaking rules, and they are still having a great year.  Usually when these things happen teams are not close, infighting occurs, and their records show it.  But for the past two seasons teams have shown that championships can be won with a team full of transfers (UMBC was lead by three last season).  D.J. Rivera is guaranteed a first team all-conference honor as he is currently the conference’s leading scorer (20.4 ppg) with a very impressive 6.5 rpg to go along with it.  Even though Jackson got kicked off the team and left a big offensive hole, the team has made up for it.  Malik Alvin (11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg) and Emanuel Mayben (10.7 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.9 rpg) have teamed up with Rivera and created a dominate trio of transfers leading Binghamton to a possible conference championship.

Boston U – Obviously the Terriers cannot win the regular season title, but they are a definite team to watch in the conference tournament as they can be one of the best teams in the conference on any given night.  John Holland (17.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg) was expected to have a great sophomore season, but he definitely exceeded expectations.  His three point shot has developed so much this season and with that shot and his athletic ability, Holland is almost assured a player of the year award before he graduates.  Corey Lowe (17.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.8 apg) has always been a well respected player in the conference and has a shot to be named to his first 1st team all-America east team.  Boston U may not win a conference championship this year but they are definitely a team to look out for next year.  Their key players (Holland, Lowe, Jake O’Brien and Scott Brittain) will all be back and Carlos Strong and Tyler Morris will both be back next year from their injuries.

The Middle of the Pack

Stony Brook – The Seawolves are the feel good story of the year (even more so than Binghamton).  Stony Brook has been a perennial bottom feeder and was picked last in the preseason polls this year only to currently be in fourth place.  They are very young and have a good shot to be a top team for a while with Bryan Dougher (11.1 ppg), Tommy Brenton (6.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg), and Dallis Joyner (4.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg) all being freshman, but the glue man this year is Muhammad El-Amin.  He’s a JuCo transfer and is leading the team with 15.1 ppg, but more impressively he’s scored in double figures in his last 17 games and has been the most consistent threat on the court for them.

UMBC – The defending champs struggled in the beginning of the season with serious depth problems, but they put on a three game winning streak to move themselves up in the conference.  While that three game streak was snapped, it was to Vermont, and losing to the top team in the conference doesn’t mean you’re not a hot basketball team.  Richard Flemming has returned to the court for UMBC and is providing quality depth, but more bad news hit for UMBC when Justin Fry hurt his knee cap and will be out for the rest of the regular season (though he’s expected back for the tournament).  All we know is it’s going to be a sad night come March 1 when they play Albany as it will be the last games at RAC arena for Darryl Proctor and Jay Greene.  Both have done everything they could to win this year but because of last season neither will leave without a ring. Greene has been on fire the last two weeks scoring 18.0 ppg with 5.7 apg and 3.0 threes/game while breaking his career high points with a 36 point outing against New Hampshire but as always, Darryl Proctor shows why he’s regarded as one of the best players in the conference.  In just two seasons at UMBC he joined the 1,000 point club as a Retriever and is the leading scorer for anybody who finished their career with UMBC.  He’s also likely the player of the year as the second leading scorer and third leading rebounder and only player in the conference to score in double-digits every game this season.

Albany – The Great Danes looked to be a serious contender for a while but they are in the midst of a five game losing streak that dropped them to seventh in the conference.  But they still have a great change to make an impact in the conference tournament. Even though it was four losses Tim Ambrose was on first averaging 19.2 ppg and 5.7 rpg with back to back 29 and 28 point games.  He, Will Harris (13.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Anthony Raffa (10.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg) will all be difference makers for Albany in the tournament, and more importantly will all be back next year with a season together under their belts.

The Bottom Feeders

New Hampshire – Even though they are fifth in the conference, New Hampshire is a bottom feeder.  They don’t have any impressive conference wins and just not enough impact players.  Tyrece Gibbs (13.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and Alvin Abreu (12.7 ppg, 2.2 apg) are certainly great players but their teammates have been purely role players.  Dane Diliegro had a good two weeks averaging 10.7 ppg and 7.0 rpg, but was really inconsistent, scoring in double figures twice and under five twice.

Maine – They definitely have a future star to build around in Gerald McLemore (12.1 ppg) and a great junior in Mark Socoby (13.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg) but that’s pretty much it and the reason they are in eight place.  One can argue Sean McNalley (9.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg) is a great forward but he’s been far too inconsistent to rely on game after game.  Maine certainly does have athletic ability on their team with Junior Bernal and Troy Barnies being quality starters, but again, inconsistency has killed them this year, and has been their problem in the past.

Hartford – The Hawks are trying desperately trying to end the season on a good note but so far it hasn’t been happening.  The lost all four games over the last four weeks with their two best players essentially graduating at the bottom of the conference after getting them to a conference championship game.  Jaret Von Rosenberg (12.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.4 spg) can do everything and is one of the top players in the conference but most likely his team’s record will keep him off a first team all-conference.  Michael Turner (11.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.6 spg) is the same way and sadly won’t get recognition for it.  Next season starts the Sabia era.  Morgan Sabia has stepped it up this year (10.3 ppg) and is a great building block, but this season Hartford was plagued by injuries and rebounding woes that were too much to overcome.

Top Team (of the past two weeks):

Vermont - Going 5-0 is extremely tough to do, but Vermont managed to do it in two weeks.  That’s a lot of basketball but their depth has carried them through and is showing why they are a top team in the conference.  The five wins following a loss to Binghamton now give Vermont 12 wins in 13 games.

Top Player (of the past two weeks)
:

Darryl Proctor, F, UMBC - Proctor was untouchable the last two weeks, as he has been all season.  He scored 20 or more points in all four games, averaging 23.2 ppg and 7.5 rpg in a 3-1 stretch that helped move them from last place to at one point fifth place.

Top Freshman (of the past two weeks):

Gerald McLemore, G, Maine – I’m not going to count his record against him because he was the only productive member on his team in their three games.  He was the only player to score in double figures in all three games, and the only player on the team to score in double figures the first two.  He’s averaging 16.6 ppg and 3.6 rpg over the past two weeks.

Top Up-Coming Games (of the next two weeks)
:

  • Boston U vs. Iona (ESPNU bracketbusters- Saturday, Feb 21- 1:00pm
  • Vermont vs. Buffalo (ESPNU bracketbusters) ESPN2- Saturday, Feb 21- 1:00pm
  • UMBC @ Rider (ESPNU bracketbusters)- Saturday, Feb 21- 4:00pm
  • Hartford @ Marist (ESPNU bracketbusters)- Saturday, Feb 21- 7:30pm
  • UMBC @ Binghamton- Thursday, Feb 26- 7:00pm
  • Vermont @ Maine- Sunday, Mar 1- 1:00pm
  • Albany @ UMBC- Sunday, Mar 1- 2:05pm
  • Hartford @ Boston U- Sunday, Mar 1- 3:00pm
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