Here’s a complete list of the 2017 A-10 Men’s Basketball Awards and a reaction to each one.
A-10 Player of the Year: T.J. Cline, Richmond
Not much of a surprise here. T.J. Cline has been the frontrunner for this for weeks, and though his defense was below average all season, his offensive numbers carried him. A player as good as he was scoring, rebounding, and passing would’ve been a definite consideration alone, but Cline also led his team to a 3rd place finish in the conference after a 6-6 finish in non-conference play. T.J. Cline absolutely deserved to win this one.
A-10 Defensive Player of the Year: Hassan Martin, Rhode Island
You can’t really argue this one either. Hassan Martin wins this award for the second year in a row, and after leading the conference in block percentage for the second straight season, it’s easy to see why. Hassan Martin also ranked 13th in this stat nationally where he ranked 25th last year. Martin was the anchor to the best defense in the Atlantic 10, and he was, no question, the deserving recipient of this award.
A-10 Rookie of the Year: De’Monte Buckingham, Richmond
This one makes a lot of sense. Buckingham filled up the stat sheet as a freshman, even with T.J. Cline doing the exact same thing. I thought Charlie Brown would’ve had a good chance at taking this one, but Buckingham is definitely deserving as well. I probably would’ve taken Charlie Brown at the end of the day, simply because he meant so much to his injury-depleted team, but I think De’Monte Buckingham has a higher ceiling overall.
A-10 Most Improved Player Award: Marquise Moore, George Mason
I’m 100% in agreement. Moore has been rebounding, on the defensive end, at a rate 10% better than he did last season. In addition, he’s become Mason’s go-to guy, and he’s the biggest reason this team managed to finish 7th in the conference. Moore’s scoring went up this year, and he’s become a better passer and a better defender.
A-10 Sixth Man of the Year Award: Kyle Davis, Dayton
I’m not surprised to see Kyle Davis win this award, given what a valuable weapon he is off the bench, and I can’t really make an argument for anyone who’d be more deserving. I think Stanford Robinson on Rhode Island was a valuable 6th man, but Kyle Davis just does too much for his team not to win the award. This is the perfect award for a player who is as gritty and vital to his team as Kyle Davis is to Dayton. The Flyers will miss him.
A-10 Coach of the Year: Archie Miller, Dayton
This is always a tough award to make a decision on, because there are a lot of coaches that are deserving. The dilemma always seems to be: give the award to the coach of the best team, or give the award to the coach of the most improved team? For this reason, I saw George Mason’s Dave Paulsen as a frontrunner for this award, and I might’ve considered giving it to the guy whose team went from 11-21 to 19-12 in one season. If George Mason would’ve finished 5th or higher, I would’ve been all in on Paulsen. I also think Archie Miller has his deepest and most talented team since he started coaching at Dayton, so his achievement isn’t at all surprising.
A-10 All-Conference First Team:
Jack Gibbs, Davidson
Scoochie Smith, Dayton
T.J. Cline, Richmond
Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure
JeQuan Lewis, VCU
I really believe that Marquise Moore deserved to be on this list. As a player who was being considered by most as a potential conference player of the year, Marquise Moore should’ve at least gotten first team. I hate to call out any individual player, but I might be hesitant to keep JeQuan Lewis in the All-Conference First Team. Arguably, Lewis had a much better season last year when he had a better effective field goal percentage, better assist rate, better steal percentage, and better three point shooting percentage in conference play. I’ll say that the two are very comparable in talent, but I would’ve given the nod to Moore who had a stand-out season. Adams and Smith definitely deserve to be on this list, and from a numbers perspective, so does Gibbs, but Gibbs’ team did not perform well this season. Regardless, he’s the leading scorer in the conference and more than likely deserves the 1st Team Honors that he received. I believe that Jaylen Adams is the 2nd best player on this list as well.
All-Conference Second Team
Peyton Aldridge, Davidson
Charles Cooke, Dayton
Marquise Moore, George Mason
Tyler Cavanaugh, George Washington
Hassan Martin, Rhode Island
This is always tough, because it feels like all of these guys could’ve been 1st team players as well. I think the A-10 got this pretty spot on though. Other than Marquise Moore, who deserved to be on the A-10 1st team, these 4 players all had an incredible seasons and were undoubtedly 2nd team caliber players. Peyton Aldridge is the only one who will be back next season, and I expect him to compete very closely with Jaylen Adams for A-10 Player of the Year. I think Tyler Cavanaugh was one of the most underrated player in the Atlantic 10 this season, so I’m glad he ended up getting some recognition in the conference awards.
All-Conference Third Team
Kendall Pollard, Dayton
ShawnDre’ Jones, Richmond
E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island
Matt Mobley, St. Bonaventure
Justin Tillman, VCU
Again, the Atlantic 10 did a nice job evaluating the third team All-Conference players, and there aren’t a lot of changes I’d consider making. I’d make the argument that B.J. Johnson or Mo Alie-Cox could’ve been third team players, but I’m not sure who you’d kick out. Justin Tillman ended up having a slightly better season that Alie-Cox, and though the senior may be better overall, Tillman is very deserving of his third team honors. ShawnDre’ Jones is a player I’d maybe be hesitant to include, but I still think he slightly beats out B.J. Johnson of La Salle. Kendall Pollard had a heck of a season after his injury, and E.C. Matthews and Matt Mobley have a chance to be first team players next year. All in all, the Atlantic 10 did a pretty goo job in the regard.
Charles Cooke, Dayton
Kyle Davis, Dayton
Yuta Watanabe, George Washington
Hassan Martin, Rhode Island
Mo Alie-Cox, VCU
The biggest problem I have with these awards is that Joseph Chartouny was not included in this list. Yes, I understand that Fordham’s defensive scheme allows for Chartouny to get a lot of steals and inflate his numbers, but he was still one of the best defenders in the conference. Chartouny had the 2nd most steals per game in the nation and had the best steal percentage in the country as well. That’s darn hard to do, and to think that Chartouny wasn’t even considered a top 5 defender in the league is mesmerizing to me.
Mike Lewis II, Duquesne
Isiaha Mike, Duquesne
Jeff Dowtin, Rhode Island
De’Monte Buckingham, Richmond
Charlie Brown, Saint Joseph’s
Duquesne really showed out with its young talent in this list. I would’ve argued that DeJon Jarreau could’ve been on here, and Samir Doughty and Justin Kier could’ve made cases as well. Overall though, this is a good representation of the conference’s best rookies. I know De’Riante Jenkins of VCU dealt with an injury this season, but he’s one of the best freshmen that few have been talking about this year.