Feb. 29, 2016
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- Lehigh junior forward/center Tim Kempton moved into elite company by capturing the Patriot League Men's Basketball Player of the Year award for the second straight season on Monday, becoming just the third student-athlete in League history to earn the honor twice before his senior year.
Kempton's company is quite exclusive as Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1996 and 1997) and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum (2010 and 2012), who both became standouts in the NBA, are the only other players to earn the award twice by their junior season. The only other two-time winners include another player that went on to an NBA career in Bucknell's Mike Muscala (2011 and 2013) as well as Lafayette's Brian Ehlers (1999 and 2000), with Foyle, Ehlers and now Kempton as the only repeat honorees. Kempton joined Foyle and McCollum as two-time Player of the Year honorees that also won the Rookie of the Year award, while Kempton and Foyle are the only two to receive an individual award in each of their first three seasons.
The individual awards went to honorees from different schools. Navy senior center Will Kelly was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and American freshman guard/forward Delante Jones took home the Rookie of the Year honor, while Bucknell's Nathan Davis was named Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading the Bison to the regular-season title in his first season in the position.
Six players made the first-team All-Patriot League squad, with sophomore Kahron Ross joining Kempton on the list from Lehigh. Three seniors were on the list in Bucknell guard Chris Hass, Colgate guard Austin Tillotson and Army West Point forward Tanner Plomb, while Boston University guard Eric Fanning joined Kempton as juniors on the first team. Hass earned his third All-Patriot League honor and second straight first-team selection, with Kempton also repeating on the first team and both Ross and Plomb making the All-League squad for the second year in a row.
The second-team All-Patriot League list included three seniors in Kelly, Army West Point center Kevin Ferguson and American guard Jesse Reed as well as a pair of sophomores in Bucknell center Nana Foulland and Loyola University Maryland guard Andre Walker. The third-team All-Patriot League squad features Army West Point senior guard/forward Kyle Wilson, Navy senior guard Tilman Dunbar, Lehigh junior guard Austin Price and Bucknell sophomore guard Stephen Brown. Reed and Wilson each made the All-League Team for the third year in a row.
For the first time, the season-ending honors featured an All-Defensive Team that included Kelly, Ferguson, Brown and two other seniors, Boston University forward Nathan Dieudonne and Bucknell guard Ryan Frazier. Jones was joined on the All-Rookie Team by Holy Cross forward Karl Charles, Boston University guard Kyle Foreman, Lehigh guard Kyle Leufroy and Colgate forward/center Malcolm Regisford. The All-Rookie squad is restricted to freshmen in their first academic year.
Patriot League men's basketball head coaches voted on the All-League Team and major awards, and could not vote for their own student-athletes or themselves.
Kempton stands second in the Patriot League in scoring (17.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg) for the season, and was even better in League action where he led all players with 17.8 points per game and was second with 9.7 rebounds per contest. He also ranks third in the Patriot League this season in field-goal percentage (54.4) and, like his team, picked up his play as the season closed. Kempton recorded a double-double in six of the final seven games and just missed the mark by one rebound in two other contests down the stretch to lead Lehigh on its nine-game win streak to close the regular season. Nine of Kempton's 11 double-doubles for the season came during Patriot League action. The junior earned the fourth Patriot League Player of the Year award in the last seven seasons for Lehigh, and the fifth all-time for the school.
Kelly has dominated the paint for a Navy defense that leads the Patriot League by allowing just 64.5 points per game. The senior has been an anchor for the Mids by leading the Patriot League and placing in the top 20 nationally with 2.6 blocks per contest, and has also helped his team lead the League in rebound margin (+4.5) by pacing the squad with 5.8 boards per game. Kelly ranks seventh in a single season in Patriot League history with his 81 blocked shots, and is sixth in League annals with 193 career blocks. Kelly also chipped in on the offensive side, averaging 10.5 points per game for the season and 11.9 in League action while leading all players both overall (62.0) and in Patriot League games (62.3) in field-goal percentage. Kelly becomes Navy's first Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honoree.
Jones came on down the stretch by scoring in double figures in 12 of his final 13 games, and his performance had a great impact for his team as American won nine of its final 12 Patriot League games to finish at .500 in League action after an 0-6 start. Jones placed eighth in scoring (14.2 ppg) during Patriot League action and in the top 20 for the season at 12.0 ppg, leading all freshman in both categories. He scored 18 points or more eight times during the season, with seven of those coming in Patriot League games and the Eagles going 5-2 in those contests. Jones becomes American's third Patriot League Rookie of the Year recipient, and first in a decade since Derrick Mercer won the honor in 2006.
Davis led Bucknell to familiar territory in his first season as head coach as the Bison claimed the outright Patriot League regular-season title for the fifth time in the last six seasons and second in a row. After playing a tough non-League slate, Bucknell jumped out to the lead in the Patriot League race with a 5-0 start and never looked back. They took the record to 9-1 before hitting a brief speed bump, but then finished strong with four straight wins for a 14-4 mark in League action to place one game in front of Lehigh. Bucknell leads the Patriot League in scoring both for the season (79.2 ppg) and in League action (78.8 ppg), and did the job on both ends in League play by also placing first in field-goal percentage defense (41.3%). Davis led Bucknell to its 10th regular-season title overall, five more than any other Patriot League school, and its seventh outright crown. He wins the school's eighth Patriot League Coach of the Year honor, and is the fourth different Bucknell head man to earn the award. Davis also becomes the fourth first-year head coach to win the award, and second in three years to do so after American's Mike Brennan won in his first season in 2014.
Five of the top six scorers in the Patriot League made the first-team All-League squad, with Plomb (20.0 ppg) leading the way, Kempton (17.5 ppg) second, Hass (17.3 ppg) third, Tillotson (15.2 ppg) fifth and Fanning (15.2 ppg) sixth. Ross was below the group on the scoring chart with 11.4 points per game, but led the Patriot League with 6.0 assists per game. Hass leads the Patriot League in free throw percentage (84.4%) and Tillotson is first in steals per game (2.0).
The three big men on the second-team All-League squad have all put up strong seasons, with Ferguson (13.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg) leading the Patriot League in rebounding and both Foulland (11.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Kelly (10.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg) putting up big years as well. Kelly leads the Patriot League in blocks per game (2.6) followed by Ferguson in second (1.6) and Foulland in third (1.4), while the trio stands among the top four in field-goal percentage for the year with Kelly first (62.0%), Ferguson second (61.2%) and Foulland third (53.6%). Reed is averaging 12.8 points per game to earn his third-straight All-League nod, while Walker (14.2 ppg) ranks seventh in the Patriot League in scoring and third in steals per game (1.5).
Wilson stands fourth in the Patriot League with 16.2 points per game as he makes the All-League list for the third year in a row. Price ranks ninth in the League with 13.5 points per game, while Dunbar and Brown have keyed their team's success from the point guard spot as the former averages 11.3 points and 3.7 assists per game and the latter has put up 9.4 points and 5.2 assists per game while making 51.7 percent of his shots from the field.
Kelly's ability to control the paint earned him the spot on the All-Defensive Team, while Brown is fifth in the Patriot League with 1.3 steals per game and Ferguson has the outstanding marks in both rebounding and blocking shots. Dieudonne ranks third in the Patriot League with 7.9 rebounds per game, while Frazier helped lead Bucknell's strong perimeter defense along with Brown.
In addition to Jones, Charles (10.8 ppg) and Leufroy (10.3 ppg) are double-figure scorers on the All-Rookie Team. Foreman (9.5 ppg, 3.9 apg) helped Boston University to a successful season with his play at the point guard spot, while Regisford (5.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg) was a strong presence in the paint for Colgate before missing action down the stretch.
The 2016 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament begins with the first round on Tuesday as #10 seed Lafayette plays at #7 Navy and #9 Holy Cross visits #8 Loyola. The quarterfinals will be held on Thursday with #1 overall seed Bucknell hosting the 9/8 winner and #5 Colgate playing at #4 Army West Point on one half of the bracket and the #2 seed Lehigh at home against the 10/7 winner with #6 American at #3 Boston University on the other side. The first round and quarterfinal matchups will be available on Patriot League Network. The quarterfinal winners in each half of the bracket advance to the semifinals on Sunday, March 6 with tip times of 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. and the games shown on CBS Sports Network, while the higher seed hosts the Patriot League Championship on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. on CBSSN. The Patriot League champion receives the League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
2015-16 Men's Basketball All-Patriot League Team and Major Awards
Player of the Year: Tim Kempton, Lehigh (Jr., F/C)
Defensive Player of the Year: Will Kelly, Navy (Sr., C)
Rookie of the Year: Delante Jones, American (Fr., G/F)
Coach of the Year: Nathan Davis, Bucknell
First-Team All-Patriot League#
Eric Fanning, Boston University (Jr., G)
Chris Hass, Bucknell (Sr., G)*
Tim Kempton, Lehigh (Jr., F/C)*
Tanner Plomb, Army West Point (Sr., F)
Kahron Ross, Lehigh (So., G)
Austin Tillotson, Colgate (Sr., G)
*Unanimous first-team choice
Second-Team All-Patriot League#
Kevin Ferguson, Army West Point (Sr., C)
Nana Foulland, Bucknell (So., C)
Will Kelly, Navy (Sr., C)
Jesse Reed, American (Sr., G)
Andre Walker, Loyola (So., G)
Third-Team All-Patriot League
Stephen Brown, Bucknell (So., G)
Tilman Dunbar, Navy (Sr., G)
Austin Price, Lehigh (Jr., G)
Kyle Wilson, Army West Point (Sr., G/F)
# - Six players on the first team and five players on the second team due to ties in the voting.
Stephen Brown, Bucknell (So., G)
Nathan Dieudonne, Boston University (Sr., F)
Kevin Ferguson, Army West Point (Sr., C)
Ryan Frazier, Bucknell (Sr., G)
Will Kelly, Navy (Sr., C)
Karl Charles, Holy Cross (Fr., F)
Kyle Foreman, Boston University (Fr., G)
Delante Jones, American (Fr., G/F)
Kyle Leufroy, Lehigh (Fr., G)
Malcolm Regisford, Colgate (Fr., F/C)