By Rowan Shiell
England basketball recently announced the players of the year, in their respective categories, but none of our guys (the ones that qualify) made the cut. Most would have been in the senior men’s category so it’s hard to compete against professionals when they are considered amateurs.
Joel Freeland definitely earned his selection as senior men’s player of the year but these guys are not doing too badly either. I have highlighted a few below as we are about halfway through the season.
Andrew Lawrence had a great year, playing in the Olympics, made second team all conference and is making a strong case for first team at the moment. Ashley Hamilton and Will Neighbour are both enjoying a rejuvenated season, considering that they missed a chunk of games in the 2011-12 season due to injuries. So far both guys have held up fine.
Keith Rendleman is still drawing comparisons to Manimal (or Kenneth Faried while at Morehead State) doing his nightly double double impression. Shame his team doesn’t qualify for any post season tournaments due to Academic sanctions, which incidentally weakened UNCW as players were allowed to transfer without penalty.
Alasdair Fraser is representing Scotland very well, at Maine. He leads the team in rebounding and is second in scoring.
It’s not all good though, Ben Mockford or resident sharpshooter is in a bit of a slump but seems to be at the tail end of it and Vincent Van Nes has had to quit basketball due to a persistent injury.
As usual there were some great games over the week and I will get straight to the recap.
Player of the Week
Tommy Pereira | Rider | Junior | Guard
Pereira makes his first appearance as our Player of the Week with an outstanding performance in Rider’s 66-44 victory over Saint Peter’s on Thursday.
Making his first collegiate start, 6’2″ shooting guard Pereira scored a career-high 17 points, making five three-pointers to lead Rider to victory over Saint Peter’s in the National MAAC Game of the Week, broadcast on ESPN3.
“Coach called my name (put in starting line-up) for the first time in my career so I felt I had to contribute,” Pereira said after the game. “I played to the best of my ability and was very happy with the way it played out.”
“I wanted to give the team a lift. I got my shot going and that was it.”
Pereira also received high praise from head coach Kevin Baggett:
“Guys like Tommy Pereira stepped up tonight. He’s a smart player. I didn’t hesitate at all to put him in the line-up tonight. When he’s open he can really knock down the shotsWe see it every day.”
The victory was the fourth in a row for Rider who are 10-9 overall on the season (5-2 MAAC), with Tommy averaging 4.1 points on 42% shooting in under 12 minutes per outing.
Best of the Rest
Keith Rendleman | North Carolina-Wilmington | Senior | Forward
Keith Rendleman had a great week, winning both his games and also had double figures in scoring and rebounding, twice.
On Saturday UNCW (6-10, 2-3 CAA) defeated George Mason (9-7, 2-2 CAA) by eight points. Rendleman had 11 points, 13 rebounds and three assist.
For a follow up act, on Wednesday, Rendleman scored 14 points and snagged another 13 rebounds as UNCW defeated Old Dominion (2-15, 0-5 CAA) by five points.
On Saturday, Andrew Lawrence scored seven points and dished out 10 assists to help Charleston (11-5, 4-1 Southern) get by Chattanooga (7-10, 2-2 Southern).
Monday, he needed a little more direct action against the Citadel (3-12, 0-5 Southern). With the score tied at 69 in the closing moments of the game, Lawrence made a jumper and two ensuing free throws to seal the game. He finished with 21 points, three assists, three steals and two rebounds.
If the season was to end today, Ashley Hamilton would have had the best individual season in his four years at Loyola Marymount. His current averages are 15.1 points per game, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He makes 41% of his three point attempts and is 78% at the free throw line.
The only thing missing is wins. His team is struggling in conference play. They were picked to finish middle of the competitive West Coast Conference but at the moment they are languishing at the bottom of the conference standings after five games.
This week they lost both their games against Portland (8-10, 1-2 WCC) and San Diego (11-8, 4-0 WCC). Hamilton scored of 17 points, against Portland, to go with three rebounds and two assists. Against San Diego he contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
LMU has eleven games to right the ship.
Fahro Alihodzic | University Alabama at Birmingham | Junior | Center
UAB (8-9, 0-2 C-USA) is also struggling in conference play as they have yet to win a game in two tries. On Saturday they took on the conference favorite, Memphis (12-3, 2-0 C-USA), and lost by 16 points. Fahro contributed 12 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes of action. He also had four fouls.
Maine (7-10, 2-2 Am. East) dropped their only game of the week at Albany (14-4, 3-1 Am. East) on Saturday. Fraser scored 16 points to go with nine rebounds.
St Francis (7-9, 3-2 NEC) defeated Wagner (9-6, 3-1 NEC) by 19 points to move into third place in the Northeaster Conference standings, on Saturday. Ben Mockford contributed nine points and two assists.
Mockford found his scoring touch on Thursday, dropping 15 points in a losing effort to Monmouth (7-11, 2-3 NEC).
Will Neighbour | Arkansas Little Rock | Junior | Forward
Arkansas-little Rock (11-9, 5-4 Sun Belt) got the better of Florida International (8-8, 3-4 Sun Belt) on Saturday. Will Neighbour scored 15 points, making seven of nine shots, to go with seven rebounds and four assists.
Against the conference leading Middle Tennessee (15-4, 7-1 Sun Belt) UALR got blown out on Thursday. Neighbour, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding, only managed six points and seven rebounds.
Allie Fullah | Charleston Southern | Junior | Center
Charleston Southern has won their last five games to take the lead in the Southern division of the Big South conference. Over the week they added Longwood (3-14, 0-3 Big South) and UNC-Ashville (8-10, 2-2 Big South) to their list of defeated foes.
Although Fullah starts, he doesn’t get a lot of minutes but he does make the most of the time he is on the court. In 25 minutes of action, total in both games, he scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots.
If we were to adjust that stat line per 40 minutes, it would look something like this; 20 points, 16 rebounds and 8 blocked shots.
- I am pleased to report that Aaron Geramipoor is now healthy enough to play. He has played in the last two games for Seton Hall, currently in a slump as they have lost their last four games.
- After going scoreless in a loss on Saturday, Mickey Magnum scored eight points to help Oral Roberts (9-8, 4-1 Southland) defeat Texas A&M CC (2-13, 1-4 Southland), on Thursday. Dale Francis played 17 minutes for Texas A&M CC but was held scoreless.
- That was the second clash this week, the other one happened when Lee Goldsbrough and Providence beat Seton Hall, featuring Geramipoor. Geramipoor played 12 minutes and Goldsbrough didn’t get into the game.
- Alex Marcotullio scored a dozen points in Northwestern’s win over Illinois on Thursday night. He made all four of his free throw attempts and was three of four on field goal attempts.
- VCU Rams has now won a dozen games in a row after starting the season 3-3 but they are just third in the A10 conference standings. That’s arguably the most competitive conference, featuring Butler, Xavier, and Charlotte who are all currently 3-0 in conference like VCU. Sophomore guard, Teddy Okereafor averages 10 minutes for the Rams.
Image Credit: Peter G Borg (Rider University)
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