Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CAA Awards

I have no vote for the league awards, but the following is how I would vote:

First team All CAA:

Player of the Year:  Damion Lee

Terry Tarpey
Marcus Thornton
Juan'ya Green

Player of the Year to Damion Lee was a no-brainer for this Drexologist (or perhaps Drexapologist).  Ignore the leadership, the scoring, and the rebounding.  With opposing defenses hounding him (Northeastern had four (4) FOUR four guys defending him at times in his final game) he was first in the league in turnover percentage.  Dude is 6'6", helping press break and  working with a freshman point guard, he's getting double teamed (or more) and he still turned the ball over at a rate less than anyone in the conference.  That's mind boggling.  Back to the secy stats, Lee missed the final 2 games of the seasonnand still finished second in the conference in points produced, and first in scoring.  He was first in efficiency rating and win shares, 4th in steals per game, 6th in rebounds per game, he was as complete a player as we have seen in this league since...  well, I don't know.

Ron Curry was up for a first team nomination, but a colleague who was mistakenly hired out of JMU talked some trash while this was being written, and in the interest of being unnecessarily vindictive, and in good humor, we will create a four man first team and a six man second team just to knock my colleague down a peg.  That works out ok since the top 4 listed above are the no doubters from the Association this year, and there is a considerable gap from them to those next in line.

Second Team All CAA

Ron Curry
David Walker
Ameen Tanksley
Addison Spruill
Scott Eatherton
Yohanny Dalembert

If there was a conference MVP award, Curry may have been my selection.  With Andre Nation leaving the program mid year, the Dukes badly needed someone to step up at the guard position, and Curry filled the void.  While folks will point to UNCW as the surprise team this year, I had them ranked 4th going into conference play.  It's JMU which was the much larger surprise to me.  Addison Spruill doesn't have the efficiency to backup a first team bid, but given his impact on a first place team, he has to get a nod for at least the second.  Tanksley and Walker both have their deficiencies, but are on the list for the same reasons:  They are elite shooters who also do something else.  They are 4th and 6th in the conference steals list, played on very strong teams, and Walker was 4th in the conference in assists while Tanksley was 16th on the boards.

Third Team All CAA

John Davis
Omar Prewitt
Freddie Jackson
Joe Chealey
Sammy Mojica Jr

Davis, Prewitt and Dalembert were the final three on the second team list for me, and the tiebreaker went to the guy leading the conference in field goal percentage.  I'd want John Davis on any team I was starting, he has stepped up when asked, is nationally relevant in rebounding rate and has defined Towson's gritty, hard working interior game despite being only 6'5".  Chealey needs to develop, but he was a point guard without a lot of help and was still successful as a sophomore.  I reserved the Tom Yeager Memorial Homer Pick (Brought to you by our good friends at Virginia Commonwealth University) for Sammy Mojica.  Not only was he the spark that helped create Drexel's midseason run, if he qualified for it, he would be third in the league in three point percentage.  He was also top 10 in the league in steal percentage on a team that was brutal defensively for much of the year.  Put simply, if he doesn't step up when he was given the opportunity, Drexel is a 6 win team and in the 8/9 game as we enter the tournament.

Also receiving votes

Tanner Samson
Marvin King-Davis
Kyle Anderson
Four McGlynn
Elijah Bryant

These guys should receive votes from others, but won't get mine for a variety of reasons.  The two UD players chose to go to Delaware, and irresponsible decisions lead to repercussions.  Tanner Samson is too much of a one trick pony, and while his defense and leadership value are underrated I couldn't get past his 26% shooting from inside the arc.  Four McGlynn deserves to be on here based off of the numbers, but Towson was unlikely to get a second guy, and he's not exactly who you think of when speaking of players who make those around them better.  I could do a whole section on Elijah Bryant, and much of the blame goes to his coach, but he had no business taking over a third of his teams shots while he was on the floor.  He led the league in turnovers by a wide margin, and I don't reward guys who score lots of points because they take a ton of shots.  Bryant has the talent to be a special player in this conference, but needs time to grow and a little bit more of a leash to learn with.

Coach of the Year

With full respect to Kevin Keatts, who put together an oustanding year in Wilmington picking up a program that was in shambles, his cupboard wasn't quite empty.  He walked into the CAA's best frontcourt with Spruill and Cedrick Williams (who was criminally underused) and had a senior floor general with Jackson.  He sculpted that into something impressive, especially given where they came from, but my COY goes to Matt Brady.  It may have taken him about 100 chances, but it still takes some cajones to dismiss Andre Nation, a kid who got them to the tournament two years ago, from the team.  Curry did a wonderful job of sliding over to fill that void, Yohanny Dalembert has developed into a wonderfully skilled sophomore forward, and on a team that I thought would struggle with depth issues after Nation's departure, he is still running an 8 man rotation.  The next man up was ready to go.  JMU has been my pick to win the league for the last month, and that team doesn't have a senior on it.  That's a hell of a job, and squeaks out Keatts for Coach of the Year.

All Defensive Team

I have a ton of respect for the writers around the conference, but I think this one should be left to the coaches.  It's hard to see kids enough to really know who is deserving unless you're breaking down game film, and usually this becomes the "good offensive player who I saw guard someone once" category.  For what it's worth, and I mean this with sincerity, I would vote for Bruiser for Coach of the Year before I voted for any Dragon for this award.

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