Bucknell's Mike Muscala becomes the third sophomore to win the Patriot League Player of the Year Award.
Feb. 28, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - After running through the Patriot League with a 13-1 record and earning the top seed in the upcoming League Tournament, regular-season champion Bucknell was awarded by the League's coaches with three major awards and three student-athletes on the All-Patriot League Team, it was announced during the Men's Basketball Tournament media teleconference on Monday. The major awards and All-Patriot League Team are voted on by the eight Patriot League head coaches, who are not permitted to choose their own student-athletes or themselves.
Forward/center Mike Muscala was named the Patriot League Player of the Year, becoming just the third sophomore to win the award. Junior Bryan Cohen became the first back-to-back winner in the seven-year history of the Defensive Player of the Year award, while Dave Paulsen earned his first Patriot League Coach of the Year honor in his third season with the Bison.
There was one major award winner that did not come from Bucknell, as J.J. Avila became the first Navy student-athlete to ever win the Patriot League Rookie of the Year award.
Muscala edged out Lehigh sophomore guard C.J. McCollum, last year's Patriot League Player of the Year, and American senior forward Vlad Moldoveanu for the top honor, but all three student-athletes earned unanimous first-team All-Patriot League praise from opposing coaches. They were joined on the first team by Bucknell senior guard Darryl Shazier and Lafayette senior forward Jared Mintz.
Second-team All-Patriot League recognition went to American junior forward Stephen Lumpkins, Bucknell sophomore guard Bryson Johnson, Holy Cross senior forward Andrew Keister and junior guard Devin Brown, and Navy junior guard Jordan Sugars.
Keister became the 15th student-athlete to earn a third All-Patriot League honor, while McCollum, Moldoveanu, Mintz and Muscala were selected for the second year in a row.
Avila headlines the All-Rookie Team, which includes seven players from six different teams due to a tie in the voting. Army's Josh Herbeck, Bucknell's Cameron Ayers, Colgate's Pat Moore, Holy Cross' Dave Dudzinski, Lehigh's Mackey McKnight and Navy's Isaiah Roberts also made the team. Only freshman in their first academic year are eligible for All-Rookie honors.
Muscala had an outstanding season overall with 14.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, and did his best work during Patriot League play with averages of 16.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and a League-high 2.6 blocks in the 14 games. Muscala opened the Patriot League schedule in impressive fashion, earning the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week award after scoring 33 points with 10 rebounds and five blocks in a 75-60 win at American on Jan. 12 and finishing with 23 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks while hitting the game-winning shot in the final seconds of a 74-72 win over Holy Cross four days later. He scored 20 points or more in four Patriot League games and nine for the season, and had 10 rebounds or more five times in League action and six overall. Muscala also recorded five blocks or more four times in the 2010-11 season.
Muscala is the fourth Player of the Year from Bucknell, and first since Charles Lee in the 2005-06 season. He joins Holy Cross' Tim Szatko (2000-01) and Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1995-96) as the only student-athletes to win the award in their sophomore season.
Cohen earns his second straight Defensive Player of the Year award to become the first two-time recipient of the honor. Considered by many to be the best man-to-man defender in the Patriot League, Cohen's play was instrumental for a Bucknell team that led all Patriot League squads in scoring defense, field-goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense during League action. Cohen was especially effective against the League's top two scorers, helping to hold Lehigh's C.J. McCollum (11-of-33) and American's Vlad Moldoveanu (5-of-20) to below-average shooting in their games against the Bison. Cohen also averaged 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds for the season, and stands 13th in the Patriot League with 2.5 assists per game. Bucknell has won four of the seven Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year awards, with Cohen's teammate Stephen Tyree (2007-08) and Abe Badmus (2004-05), who won the inaugural honor, also taking home the hardware.
Paulsen receives his first Patriot League Coach of the Year for directing the Bison to one of the best seasons in the history of the League. Bucknell became the eighth team to finish with 13 wins or more in Patriot League play, and its total of 22 wins overall matches the highest for any team entering the Patriot League Tournament since the Bison had 23 in 2005-06. The 13 League wins are second to only that team's perfect 14-0 record for the best mark in League history. The Bison have been on fire since the beginning of December, entering the Patriot League Tournament with wins in 20 of their last 22 games and 16 of the past 17 contests. The Bison won their first six League games, and then rebounded from a loss at Army on Jan. 29 to defeat each team in the League in the second turn around the schedule to enter the Patriot League Tournament with a seven-game win streak. Bucknell stands first or second in the Patriot League in most statistical categories, and outscored League opponents by 10.2 points per game. Paulsen gives Bucknell a fifth Patriot League Coach of the Year award, joining past winners Charlie Woollum (1992-93) and Pat Flannery (1994-95, 1996-97, 2005-06). He was a unanimous selection for the award by his peers.
Avila gives Navy its first Patriot League Rookie of the Year award after standing out as the League's top freshman throughout the year. He has won eight Rookie of the Week awards, one shy of the League record heading into the final awarding of the honor on Monday afternoon. Avila has done a little bit of everything this season, ranking 16th in the Patriot League with 11.6 points per game, 14th with 5.2 rebounds per contest, second with 1.7 steals per game and 12th with 0.6 blocks He leads all Patriot League freshmen in every category. Avila ranks just outside the leaderboard with over two assists per game. While he stands just below the required makes for the League leaderboard in free-throw shooting, his 82.9 percentage (58-of-70) is among the best in the Patriot League. He scored a career-high 31 points against Towson on Nov. 24, and had seven points or more in Navy's final 18 games. He topped double digits for six straight games from Dec. 22 to Jan. 15 and finished in double figures 17 times for the season and at 20 points or more on five occasions.
McCollum, Moldoveanu and Mintz all return to the first team for the second year in a row, while Muscala makes the first team this season after earning a second-team nod as a freshman. Shazier makes his first All-Patriot League Team in his senior season.
McCollum and Moldoveanu led the Patriot League in scoring for the second year in a row, with the Lehigh sophomore edging out the American senior, 21.8 to 19.9, for the season and 23.2 to 19.2 in Patriot League action. McCollum had one of the finest statistical seasons in the nation with his 21.8 points ranking in the top 10 nationally and 2.5 steals among the top 20 in the country. He also placed third in the Patriot League with 7.8 rebounds per contest and led the way with an 84.6 free-throw percentage (181-of-214). McCollum's 42-point performance at Kent State on Nov. 26 was the highest for a Patriot League player this season, and he topped 30 points five times during the year while scoring in double digits in all but two of Lehigh's 29 games. He set a record with six Patriot League Player of the Week awards. Moldoveanu had the highest scoring game in Patriot League action, as he outdueled McCollum when he tallied 39 against Lehigh in an 82-75 victory on Jan. 8. That was one of four 30-point outings for the senior, who had 20 points or more 15 times and finished strong with 58 points in the Eagles' two games last week. Moldoveanu finished the year with 6.3 rebounds per game, while making 83.9 percent (146-of-174) of his shots at the foul line.
Mintz had another strong year for the Leopards with 15.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, and again shot the ball extremely well both from the field (51.4 percent) and at the line (82.3). After becoming the first player to lead the Patriot League in both categories last season, he is in line to become the first to finish in the career top 10 in both field-goal and free-throw shooting percentage. Shazier directed a highly-efficient Bucknell team that is among the national leaders in assist/turnover ratio. The senior point guard had a lot to do with that success, as he has stayed in the top five in assist/turnover ratio (3.9) all season and is also among the national leaders with 5.6 assists per contest. Shazier's 482 career assists are just two outside of the top five in Patriot League history. He also averaged 8.4 points and 3.0 rebounds for the Bison, and has almost as many steals (42) as turnovers (43).
Keister earns his second straight second-team All-Patriot League honor after a first-team spot in 2008-09 to become the 15th player in League history to receive All-League status in at least three seasons. He closed the season with a flourish, recording seven straight double-doubles down the stretch as Holy Cross rallied to finish 7-7 in the Patriot League. Keister averaged 12.7 points and led the Patriot League with 9.0 rebounds for the season, and increased those numbers to 14.1 and 9.9 in Patriot League action. He will leave Holy Cross in the top five in Patriot League history in rebounding.
The remaining second-team All-Patriot League selections receive the honor for the first time, with three doing so in their junior season. Brown led the Crusaders and placed sixth in the Patriot League with 15.6 points per game, and scored 20 or more in six of the last nine games to finish third with 17.6 points per contest in League action. Lumpkins averaged 13.1 points and 7.9 rebounds for the season and 14.1 points and 7.8 rebounds in Patriot League games to team with Moldoveanu for a strong front line for the Eagles. Sugars finished third in the Patriot League with 16.2 points per game for the season and just above the mark at 16.4 in League action. He scored in double figures in all but one Patriot League game and 26 of the final 27 contests he played this season. Johnson adds a third sophomore to the All-Patriot League team after averaging 11.5 points per game overall and 12.6 in Patriot League play for the Bison. He emerged as one of the top three-point shooters in the country and led the Patriot League with 2.9 three-pointers made and a 47.0 percentage from beyond the arc this season.
The seven-member All-Rookie Team marks the largest in Patriot League history. Ayers became a major contributor on both ends of the court for the Bison and averaged over seven points both overall and in Patriot League games. McKnight took over as Lehigh's point guard and finished with 3.9 assists per game and among the national leaders with a 2.4 assist/turnover ratio, as well as 7.9 points per contest. Roberts (5.5), Herbeck (5.4), Moore (5.3) and Dudzinski (4.3) all chipped in to the scoring on their teams throughout the season.
The postseason begins with the quarterfinal round of the 2011 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on Wednesday. The four games on tap are No. 8 Army at No. 1 Bucknell, No. 5 Navy at No. 4 Lehigh, No. 7 Colgate at No. 2 American and No. 6 Lafayette at No. 3 Holy Cross. All of the games will tip off at 7 p.m., with the Colgate/American contest on the CBS College Sports Network. All Tournament games are played at the site of the higher seed, with the semifinals on Sunday at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on CBS College Sports Network and the League Championship on March 11 at 4:45 p.m. on ESPN2.
2010-11 Men's Basketball All-Patriot League and Major Awards
Player of the Year: Mike Muscala, Bucknell (So., F/C, 6-11, 225, Roseville, Minn./Roseville)
Rookie of the Year: J.J. Avila, Navy (Fr., F, 6-7, 225, McAllen, Texas/McAllen)
Defensive Player of the Year: Bryan Cohen, Bucknell (Jr., G, 6'5, 200, Huntingdon Valley, Pa./Abington Friends)
Coach of the Year: Dave Paulsen, Bucknell
First-Team All-Patriot League
Lehigh sophomore guard C.J. McCollum
Lafayette senior forward Jared Mintz
American senior forward Vlad Moldoveanu
Bucknell sophomore forward/center Mike Muscala
Bucknell senior guard Darryl Shazier
Second-Team All-Patriot League
Holy Cross junior guard Devin Brown
Bucknell sophomore guard Bryson Johnson
Holy Cross senior forward Andrew Keister
American junior forward Stephen Lumpkins
Navy junior guard Jordan Sugars
Bucknell freshman guard Cameron Ayers
Navy freshman forward J.J. Avila
Holy Cross freshman forward Dave Dudzinski
Army freshman guard Josh Herbeck
Lehigh freshman guard Mackey McKnight
Colgate freshman guard Pat Moore
Navy freshman guard Isaiah Roberts
*Seven players due to a tie in the voting