Feb. 27, 2012
2011-12 Men's Basketball All-Patriot League and Major Awards
Center Valley, Pa. - Only the legendary Adonal Foyle had won three individual men's basketball awards from the Patriot League before this season, but that list grew by two on Monday as Lehigh junior guard C.J. McCollum won his second Patriot League Player of the Year award and Bucknell senior guard Bryan Cohen claimed the Defensive Player of the Year honor for the third consecutive season.
The major awards and All-Patriot League team were announced during the Men's Basketball Tournament media teleconference. The eight Patriot League head coaches voted for the honors, and were not permitted to choose their own student-athletes or themselves.
McCollum became just the third two-time Patriot League Player of the Year, as he previously won the award along with the Rookie of the Year honor as a freshman in 2009-10. Foyle won the honor at Colgate in both 1995-96 and 1996-97, while Lafayette's Brian Ehlers was named Patriot League Player of the Year in 1998-99 and 1999-00. McCollum matched Foyle by winning two Player of the Year honors and a Rookie of the Year award.
Cohen became the first person in Patriot League history to earn the same individual award three times as he claimed his third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year honor. A Bucknell student-athlete has won the award in five of its eight seasons.
Cohen was not the only repeat winner, as his head coach, Dave Paulsen, won his second consecutive Patriot League Coach of the Year honor. Paulsen becomes just the third repeat winner of the award. Holy Cross freshman guard Justin Burrell rounded out the major award winners with the Patriot League Rookie of the Year honor.
McCollum led a star-studded first-team All-Patriot League squad, as he was joined as a unanimous first-team pick by Bucknell junior forward/center Mike Muscala, Army junior forward Ella Ellis and American senior forward Charles Hinkle. Lafayette senior forward Ryan Willen rounded out the squad. McCollum and Muscala join a list of now 17 players that have earned three All-Patriot League honors in a career. McCollum is just the eighth player in League history to earn three first-team honors. Both players are candidates for the Lou Henson Award as the Mid-Major Player of the Year. Willen received his second All-Patriot League honor, and the Neuroscience major was also selected as the Patriot League Men's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Monday by the men's basketball sports information directors.
The second-team All-Patriot League squad includes three players from regular-season champion Bucknell, as Cohen, sophomore guard Cameron Ayers and junior forward Joe Willman all made the team. Holy Cross senior guard Devin Brown, Lehigh junior forward Gabe Knutson and Lafayette junior guard Tony Johnson filled out the second-team All-Patriot League squad, with Brown earning All-League status for the second consecutive season.
Burrell was joined on the Patriot League All-Rookie team by Lafayette guard Seth Hinrichs and forward Dan Trist, Army guard Maxwell Lenox and Navy forward Worth Smith. Only freshmen in their first academic year are eligible for the Patriot League All-Rookie squad.
McCollum leads the Patriot League and is in the top 10 nationally with 21.7 points per game, and is also among the Division I leaders with 2.5 steals per contest. He did his best work in Patriot League action, leading all players with 23.8 points per game and placing second with 7.1 rebounds per contest. McCollum topped 20 points in 12 of 14 Patriot League games, and has scored in double figures in every game against Division I opponents. In addition to leading the Patriot League in scoring and steals in both overall and League only statistics, McCollum also placed in the top five in rebounding and assists for the season and in Patriot League play. McCollum won six Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week awards, matching the single-season record he set last year. He earns Lehigh's third Player of the Year honor, with Austen Rowland winning the award in 2003-04.
Cohen has been regarded as the best on-ball defender in the Patriot League since setting foot at Bucknell in the fall of 2008, and that was no different in his senior season as he was honored with the third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award. He was largely responsible for McCollum's only two Patriot League games with less than 20 points, helping hold the Lehigh standout to 14 and 15 points in two matchups this season. Cohen also stepped up on the defensive end to help Bucknell sweep American by limiting Hinkle, the Patriot League's No. 2 scorer, to 15 total points on 5-of-20 shooting in the two games. Cohen was instrumental to a Bucknell team that led the Patriot League in most defensive categories, including allowing only 57.6 points per game during League action. Cohen contributed 6.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game for the season, and cracked the 1,000-point mark in his career while earning All-Patriot League honors for the first time. Bucknell has won five of the eight Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year awards, with Stephen Tyree (2007-08) and Abe Badmus (2004-05), who won the inaugural honor, also taking home the hardware.
Paulsen becomes just the third coach in Patriot League history to win consecutive Coach of the Year honors, joining Lafayette's Fran O'Hanlon (1997-98, 1998-99) and Lehigh's Billy Taylor (2002-03, 2003-04). He is one of seven to claim the award multiple times. After leading the Bison to the Patriot League Championship in his third season at the helm, Paulsen directed his team to another outstanding year in 2011-12. Bucknell finished 22-8 in the regular season for the second straight year, and also captured its second consecutive outright regular-season Patriot League title by going 12-2 in League action. The mark included a 10-0 start in League play, as at the time the Bison had won 20 consecutive games against Patriot League opponents. They tied a record by winning 17 straight regular-season League contests in a two-year span, and enter the Patriot League Tournament with 14 wins in the last 16 games overall. After losing two straight games, the Bison came through with a 55-50 win at American on Thursday to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. Paulsen gives Bucknell a sixth Patriot League Coach of the Year award, joining past winners Charlie Woollum (1992-93) and Pat Flannery (1994-95, 1996-97, 2005-06). No other school has won more than four Patriot League Coach of the Year awards.
Burrell was a key cog in leading Holy Cross to six consecutive wins entering the Patriot League Tournament, as the red-hot Crusaders finished with a 9-5 record in Patriot League action. During that stretch, the 5-foot-9 freshman guard averaged 11.7 points and 3.7 assists per contest while recording a 2.4/1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He scored 16 points in a 70-63 win at Lafayette on Feb. 15 and followed it three days later with 15 in a 54-52 victory over Bucknell as the Crusaders claimed the No. 4 seed and a home game in the League Tournament. For the season Burrell is second in the Patriot League with 3.8 assists per game and averages 7.4 points per contest. Burrell was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week three times, including twice during Holy Cross' win streak. He is the sixth Rookie of the Year recipient from Holy Cross, and the first since teammate R.J. Evans claimed the honor in 2008-09. No other school has more than three Rookie of the Year winners.
Muscala just missed out on his second consecutive Patriot League Player of the Year award as the junior put up another outstanding season. He has 16.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for the year, and was even better in Patriot League action with 18.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest. Muscala led all players in rebounding in both overall and Patriot League action, and was second only to McCollum in scoring during League play. He also led the way in free-throw percentage (89.5) and blocks per game (1.8) during Patriot League action. Muscala leads the Patriot League with 14 double-doubles, 10 more than any other player. His most significant may have come on Thursday when a 26-point, 14-rebound performance helped lead Bucknell past American to claim the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament. Muscala earns first-team All-Patriot League honors for the second year in a row after a second-team selection as a freshman in 2009-10.
Hinkle stands second in the Patriot League with 18.8 points per game, ranking among the national leaders all season after averaging less than five points per contest last year. He also pulls in 5.4 rebounds per game and leads the Patriot League with 79 three-pointers while connecting on 43.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Ellis finished in double figures in all but one of Army's 29 games, and places third in the Patriot League with 17.7 points per game. Willen is sixth in the Patriot League with 14.6 points per contest while also pulling down 5.3 rebounds per game. He was a second-team All-Patriot League selection in 2009-10.
Brown is the only repeat selection on the second-team All-Patriot League squad after scoring 14.5 points per game for the year. The Bucknell trio each had key roles in the team's success, with Ayers (10.9 ppg) and Willman (10.4 ppg) averaging in double figures to go with Cohen's outstanding play on both ends of the court. Willman leads the Patriot League by hitting 52.7 percent of his shots from the field for the year, while Ayers is second in the League in three-point field-goal percentage (46.2). Knutson ranks in the top 10 in the Patriot League in both scoring (12.1 ppg) and rebounding (5.5 rpg) while making 50 percent of his shots from the field. Johnson has played in only 12 games for the season, but the action all came in Patriot League play where he averaged 8.0 points and led all players with 4.3 assists per contest.
Hinrichs and Trist each experienced success in their first season for the Leopards. Hinrichs leads all Patriot League freshmen with 8.6 points per game for the year, and tops the League chart by making 46.9 percent of his three-point attempts. Trist averaged 6.8 points per game during Patriot League play. Lenox averages 6.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the season, while Smith averaged 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds during Patriot League action.
The postseason begins with the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on Wednesday. The four games on tap are No. 8 Navy at No. 1 Bucknell, No. 5 Lafayette at No. 4 Holy Cross, No. 7 Colgate at No. 2 Lehigh and No. 6 Army at No. 3 American. All four of the games can be seen on Patriot League All-Access, with three contests starting at 7 p.m. before the Army/American matchup tips off at 7:30 p.m.
All Patriot League Tournament games are played at the site of the higher seed, with the semifinals on Saturday at 2 and 4:30 p.m. and the League Championship on March 7 at 7 p.m. Both semifinals and the Patriot League Championship will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
2011-12 Men's Basketball All-Patriot League Team and Major Awards
Patriot League Player of the Year: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
Patriot League Rookie of the Year: Justin Burrell, Holy Cross
Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year: Bryan Cohen, Bucknell
Patriot League Coach of the Year: Dave Paulsen, Bucknell
First-Team All-Patriot League
Ella Ellis, Army
Charles Hinkle, American
C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
Mike Muscala, Bucknell
Ryan Willen, Lafayette
Second-Team All-Patriot League #
Cameron Ayers, Bucknell
Devin Brown, Holy Cross
Bryan Cohen, Bucknell
Tony Johnson, Lafayette
Gabe Knutson, Lehigh
Joe Willman, Bucknell
# - One additional player due to tie in voting
Justin Burrell, Holy Cross
Seth Hinrichs, Lafayette
Maxwell Lenox, Army
Worth Smith, Navy
Dan Trist, Lafayette