CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Bucknell's Mike Muscala has posted one of the best individual seasons of any Patriot League player, and on Monday the senior center was rewarded by making history with a haul of season-ending awards.
Muscala became the first player in League history to win both the Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards. It is his second Player of the Year honor, joining only three others who have won the award twice. In addition, Muscala received first-team All-Patriot League recognition to become just the second four-time All-League selection along with Colgate's Pat Campolieta (1998-02).
It was also a monumental year for Army, with two representatives from the Black Knights receiving major awards after the team's first winning record in Patriot League play. Kyle Wilson was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, the first from Army since 1993, while Zach Spiker claimed the Coach of the Year award for leading the Black Knights to a turnaround season.
Muscala was joined on the first-team All-Patriot League squad by junior teammate Cameron Ayers and seniors Ella Ellis (Army), Holden Greiner (Lehigh) and Tony Johnson (Lafayette). The second-team All-Patriot League squad featured players from five teams with Colgate junior Murphy Burnatowski, Holy Cross junior Dave Dudzinski, Lafayette sophomore Seth Hinrichs, American senior Stephen Lumpkins and Lehigh junior Mackey McKnight.
Wilson headlined an All-Rookie Team that included fellow plebe Kyle Toth, Navy's Tilman Dunbar, Holy Cross' Cullen Hamilton and Lafayette's Bryce Scott.
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.
Muscala has made headlines in the Patriot League throughout his career, but in his senior season he became established as one of the best big men in college basketball. He is one of 30 finalists for the Naismith Player of the Year award, and is also one of 25 up for the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year honor. Muscala leads the Patriot League in points (19.1), rebounds (11.0) and blocks (2.5). He is tied for the national lead with 19 double-doubles, including nine in his first 10 Patriot League contests. Muscala stands fifth in the nation in rebounding, and in the top 25 in both scoring and blocked shots. He tied a Patriot League single-season record with six Anaconda Player of the Week honors in 2012-13. Muscala is fifth in Patriot League history with 1,971 career points, just two shy of the Bucknell record. He is second in League history in both rebounds (1,045) and blocked shots (265). All of the individual accolades helped Bucknell finish 12-2 in the Patriot League and become the first in League history to win three consecutive outright regular-season titles.
Muscala, who previously won the Patriot League Player of the Year award as a sophomore in 2011, joins Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1996, 1997), Lafayette's Brian Ehlers (1999, 2000) and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum (2010, 2012) as the only two-time winners of the honor. He is the second to earn a pair of individual honors in the same season, as McCollum was named Player and Rookie of the Year as a freshman in 2010. Muscala earns Bucknell's fifth Patriot League Player of the Year honor, matching Holy Cross for the most of any school. He won the award with a unanimous first-place selection from opposing coaches.
He continues the success for the Bison in the Defensive Player of the Year category, claiming the sixth award from Bucknell in the nine-year history of the honor. Bryan Cohen had won each of the previous three seasons, while Stephen Tyree was honored in 2008 and Abe Badmus won the inaugural award in 2005. Muscala becomes the first "big man" to win the award, which had gone to guards and wing defenders in each of the previous eight seasons.
Muscala also made history with his work off the court, as he joined Foyle (1996) as the only honorees of both the Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors in the same season. Muscala is a Capital One Academic All-American and one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award.
Wilson was part of a resurgent season for the Black Knights, finishing the regular season ninth in the Patriot League with 13.0 points per game. He stands fifth in the League at 42.2% from beyond the arc, and also made 46.7% of his shots from the field and 79.5% at the free throw line. Wilson leads all Patriot League freshmen with five Anaconda Rookie of the Week awards as he paces a strong group of plebes at West Point, with four freshmen starting regularly in League action. Wilson is Army's third Patriot League Rookie of the Year award winner, and first in two decades since Alex Morris claimed the award in 1993. He was a unanimous pick as the Rookie of the Year by opposing coaches.
In his fourth season, Spiker has led Army to its most successful Patriot League campaign and its best season overall in nearly 30 years. Army finished 8-6 in Patriot League action, recording its first-ever record of .500 or better in League play. The Black Knights also set school standards with five consecutive League wins and four straight Patriot League road wins before falling to Lehigh on Saturday. The Black Knights finish as a top-four seed in the Patriot League Tournament for the second time in school history, and will host in the quarterfinal round for the first time since 2009 when they welcome American on Wednesday. Army is assured of its first non-losing season since 1984-85. The success all came with a young lineup that had four plebes in the starting rotation throughout Patriot League play. Spiker claims Army's second Patriot League Coach of the Year award, and first since Pat Harris in 2002.
The first-team All-Patriot League squad featured the top players throughout the season, particularly Muscala, Ellis and Johnson who all earned unanimous first-team distinction from opposing coaches. Ellis led Army's resurgence and placed second in the Patriot League with 18.0 points per game, heating up down the stretch with three 30-point games in his last four contests. He averaged 18.6 points per game in League action, just behind Muscala for the top spot. Also heating up late was Johnson, who hit consecutive game-winning shots in the final five seconds against Bucknell (Feb. 16) and Holy Cross (Feb. 20) and was sensational down the stretch as Lafayette closed the season with five straight wins to post its best Patriot League record since 2000 at 10-4. The 6-foot guard led the Patriot League in field goal percentage (55.7%) as well as steals (2.0) and assist/turnover ratio (2.1) while also averaging 12.8 points and 4.8 assists per contest. Ayers put up 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for the Bison while placing in the top 10 in the Patriot League in field-goal percentage (48.3%) and three-point field-goal percentage (41.7%). Greiner was great all season, and especially stepped up with McCollum's absence by averaging 13.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists while placing among the top five players in the League in field-goal percentage (50.6%) and three-point field-goal percentage (42.9%).
The second-team All-League squad has a strong selection of players, including four of the top six scorers in the Patriot League. Burnatowski is third in the League with 17.2 points per game, Dudzinski follows with 15.0, Hinrichs puts up 14.5 and Lumpkins has 14.3 while nearly averaging a double-double with 9.5 rebounds per game. McKnights averages 12.0 points per game and stands second in the Patriot League in both assists (4.9) and steals (1.4).
Wilson led a great crop of rookies in 2012-13. Dunbar led the Patriot League in assists with 5.0 while averaging 9.6 points per game. Toth averages 8.4 points per game, Scott scores 7.9 per contest and Hamilton put up 6.4 per game.
Muscala earned his fourth consecutive All-League selection, and third straight first-team nod. Ellis was named to the first-team All-Patriot League squad for the second year in a row, while Ayers and Johnson each earned first-team honors after receiving second-team status last year. Lumpkins made the second team for the second time, also earning a spot in 2011.
The 2013 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament begins with the quarterfinal round on Wednesday. No. 8 Navy goes to No. 1 Bucknell and No. 5 American visits No. 4 Army on one side of the bracket, while No. 7 Holy Cross is at No. 2 Lafayette and No. 6 Colgate goes to No. 3 Lehigh on the other half. All four games tip off at 7 p.m., and each can be seen on Patriot League All-Access. The tourney continues when the winners on each side of the bracket meet at the higher seed for the semifinals on Saturday at 2 and 4:30 p.m., and wraps up with the Patriot League Championship on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. Both semifinals and the title contest can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
2012-13 Men's Basketball All-Patriot League Team and Major Awards Player of the Year: Mike Muscala, Bucknell* (Sr., C) Defensive Player of the Year: Mike Muscala, Bucknell (Sr., C) Rookie of the Year: Kyle Wilson, Army* (Fr., G/F) Coach of the Year: Zach Spiker, Army
* - unanimous choice
First-Team All-Patriot League
Cameron Ayers, Bucknell (Jr., G)
Ella Ellis, Army* (Sr., F)
Holden Greiner, Lehigh (Sr., F)
Tony Johnson, Lafayette* (Sr., G)
Mike Muscala, Bucknell* (Sr., C)
* - unanimous first-team choice
Second-Team All-Patriot League
Murphy Burnatowski, Colgate (Jr., F)
Dave Dudzinski, Holy Cross (Jr., F)
Seth Hinrichs, Lafayette (So. G)
Stephen Lumpkins, American (Sr., F)
Mackey McKnight, Lehigh (Jr., G)