March 3, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - American University was the surprise team in the 2014 Patriot League men's basketball race, and the Eagles were honored for their success on Monday with two major award winners and four student-athletes on the All-Patriot League Teams.
Senior center Tony Wroblicky became the first Eagle to be named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, while Mike Brennan earned the Patriot League Coach of the Year honor in his first season for leading a team picked ninth in the preseason to a second-place finish. Wroblicky was a first-team All-Patriot League selection, while junior guard Darius Gardner and sophomore guard Jesse Reed made the second team and junior guard John Schoof was on the third team to give the Eagles a League-high four selections.
Bucknell senior guard Cameron Ayers was named Patriot League Player of the Year for leading a team that carries a six-game winning streak into the League Tournament. Lehigh freshman forward/center Tim Kempton claimed the Patriot League Rookie of the Year award.
The top five teams in the Patriot League standings each had a representative on the first-team All-League squad, with Ayers and Wroblicky on the list along with Holy Cross senior forward/center Dave Dudzinski, Boston University sophomore guard Maurice Watson Jr. and Army sophomore guard/forward Kyle Wilson. The second-team All-Patriot League squad included seniors Murphy Burnatowski (Colgate), D.J. Irving (Boston University) and Mackey McKnight (Lehigh) in addition to Gardner and Reed, while the inaugural third-team All-League Team has Loyola senior guard Dylon Cormier, Bucknell sophomore guard Chris Hass, Lafayette junior guard Seth Hinrichs and Holy Cross junior forward Malcolm Miller along with Schoof.
Kempton headlined an All-Rookie squad that included teammate Austin Price as well as Boston University's Cedric Hankerson, Lafayette's Nick Lindner, Army's Tanner Omlid and Holy Cross' Anthony Thompson. Only freshmen in their first academic year are eligible for the Patriot League All-Rookie Team, and there are six student-athletes due to a tie in the voting.
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.
Ayers filled a leadership void for a Bucknell team that lost three key players from last year's League champion, including NBA Draft pick and two-time Patriot League Player of the Year Mike Muscala. The senior guard put up 15.5 points per game for the season and 16.2 in League games, ranking second in the Patriot League in both categories. Ayers leads the Patriot League with an 87.3% mark from the foul line for the season, and hit 40.5% of his shots from long range to stay in the top 10 in League history in career three-point percentage. Ayers won a pair of Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week awards, and was at his best late in the season with six 20-point games in the last 11 contests for the Bison. Ayers also played a key role on defense for the Bison as he helped limit some of the top scorers in the Patriot League to below their season averages. Ayers earns Bucknell's sixth Patriot League Player of the Year selection, more than any other school, and third in the last four seasons after Muscala's awards in 2011 and 2013. He also becomes the 19th player in Patriot League history, and sixth from Bucknell, to earn three All-Patriot League selections in his career. Ayers was named to the first team for the second year in a row after a second-team honor in 2012.
Wroblicky manned the middle for an American team that led the Patriot League in scoring defense both overall (60.1 ppg) and in League games (59.2 ppg). The Eagles also led the Patriot League in field-goal percentage defense both overall and in League play, with Wroblicky finishing second in the Patriot League with 56 blocks. He led all players in League games with 8.6 rebounds per contest, and was second for the season with 7.3 boards per game. Wroblicky also played a key role in an efficient American offense by finishing third in the Patriot League with a 59.4% mark from the field and scoring 12.2 points per game for the season and 13.2 per contest in League games. Wroblicky is the first Defensive Player of the Year from American, and follows Muscala as the second straight post player to win the award after perimeter players won the first eight from 2005-12.
Brennan took over an American team coming off its worst season in Patriot League play and picked ninth in the standings, and turned the Eagles into one of the best teams in the League with an effective offense and strong defense. In League games, American led all teams in scoring defense (59.2 ppg), scoring margin (+6.7), field-goal percentage (50.5%), field-goal percentage defense (41.5%), three-point field-goal percentage (40.5%) and assists (15.9). American became one of only five teams to open with a 10-0 mark in the Patriot League, and tied a school record with 13 League victories. The Eagles beat every team in the Patriot League at least once during the year, and earn their highest seed in the League Tournament since 2011. Brennan earns the second Patriot League Coach of the Year honor for the Eagles after his predecessor, Jeff Jones, won the award in 2009.
Kempton earned five Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week awards, including four during League play, while finishing ninth in the Patriot League with 13.2 points per game and third with 7.0 rebounds per contest for the season and leading all freshmen in both categories. He also finished in the top 10 in the League by making 52.2% of his shots from the field. Kempton's numbers were similar in League action with 12.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest and an identical shooting percentage. He finished the regular season with six double-doubles. Kempton is Lehigh's fourth Patriot League Rookie of the Year and first since C.J. McCollum won both the Rookie and Player of the Year awards in 2010.
The five first-team All-Patriot League honorees led their teams to winning records in League play with outstanding performances. Watson Jr. directed the Terriers to a regular-season title and No. 1 seed for the postseason in their first season in the Patriot League by averaging 13.4 points and 6.6 assists for the season. His assist average stands in the top 10 nationally and his total of 206 assists entering the postseason stands third in Patriot League history and just 19 away from the single-season record. Dudzinski finished third in the Patriot League with 15.3 points per game and had a League-high 7.5 rebounds per contest, and had nearly identical numbers in League action with 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Wilson built on his Rookie of the Year campaign from last season by leading the Patriot League in scoring both overall and in League games with a mark of 18.2 points per game in both areas.
The second-team All-Patriot League squad included three players on the top two teams in the Patriot League, with Irving averaging 12.1 points per game for the Terriers and Reed tallying 14.3 points per game with Gardner notching 11.3 points and 4.3 assists per contest for the Eagles. Burnatowski leads Colgate and stands fourth in the Patriot League with 14.5 points per game, while McKnight averages 13.3 points per game and ranks in the top 15 nationally with 6.1 assists per contest. McKnight has set a school record and stands second in Patriot League history with 575 career assists.
Cormier and Hinrichs made the third team despite missing significant time due to injury. Neither player qualified for the Patriot League leaderboard because of playing in fewer than 75% of his team's games, but Cormier (21.2 ppg) was the top scorer in the Patriot League until his regular season came to an end with an injury on Feb. 1 and Hinrichs (16.3 ppg) put up a strong year despite missing 10 games midway through the season. Hass (10.9 ppg), Miller (10.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Schoof (11.8 ppg) were among the most improved players in the Patriot League this season.
Kempton led a solid group of freshmen in 2013-14. Lindner (10.9 ppg) joined Kempton in the top 25 in the Patriot League in scoring and is sixth with 4.0 assists per game, while Thompson (9.3 ppg) ranks 30th in the League in scoring. Omlid filled the stat sheet with 6.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game, while Price managed 8.5 points per game and Hankerson put up 6.1 points per contest.
In addition to Ayers, four players earned All-Patriot League status for a second time as Dudzinski, Burnatowski, McKnight and Hinrichs all made the second team in 2013. Wilson earned his first All-League honor after the Rookie of the Year selection last season.
The 2014 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament features an expanded field and an extra round with 10 teams this season. It will be the first Division I tourney to tip off on Monday when No. 10 Navy heads to No. 7 Colgate and No. 9 Lafayette goes to No. 8 Loyola Maryland for first-round games. The bracket does not re-seed for Wednesday's quarterfinals, which will feature the No. 9/8 winner at No. 1 Boston University and No. 5 Army at No. 4 Bucknell in the top half of the bracket and the No. 10/7 winner at No. 2 American and No. 6 Lehigh at No. 3 Holy Cross in the bottom half. The semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament will be played on Saturday at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., with the higher seed of the 9/8/1 vs. 5/4 and 10/7/2 vs. 6/3 games hosting each contest. The Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship will be played at the higher seed on Wednesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. The first round and quarterfinals of the League Tournament will be shown on Patriot League Network, with the semifinals and championship on CBS Sports Network.
2013-14 Men's Basketball All-Patriot League Team and Major Awards
Player of the Year: Cameron Ayers, Bucknell (Sr., G)
Defensive Player of the Year: Tony Wroblicky, American (Sr., C)
Rookie of the Year: Tim Kempton, Lehigh (Fr., F/C)
Coach of the Year: Mike Brennan, American
First-Team All-Patriot League*
Cameron Ayers, Bucknell (Sr., G)*
Dave Dudzinski, Holy Cross (Sr., F/C)*
Maurice Watson Jr., Boston University (So., G)
Kyle Wilson, Army (So., G/F)*
Tony Wroblicky, American (Sr., C)
*Unanimous first-team choice
Second-Team All-Patriot League
Murphy Burnatowski, Colgate (Sr., F)
Darius Gardner, American (Jr., G)
D.J. Irving, Boston University (Sr., G)
Mackey McKnight, Lehigh (Sr., G)
Jesse Reed, American (So., G)
Third-Team All-Patriot League
Dylon Cormier, Loyola (Sr., G)
Chris Hass, Bucknell (So., G)
Seth Hinrichs, Lafayette (Jr., G)
Malcolm Miller, Holy Cross (Jr., F)
John Schoof, American (Jr., G)
Cedric Hankerson, Boston University (Fr., G)
Tim Kempton, Lehigh (Fr., F/C)
Nick Lindner, Lafayette (Fr., G)
Tanner Omlid, Army (Fr., F)
Austin Price, Lehigh (Fr., G)
Anthony Thompson, Holy Cross (Fr., G)
*Six players due to tie in voting