March 4, 2014
Over 200 friends and fans turned out as the Siena men's and women's basketball teams held a joint Year-End Celebration Monday night at the Hilton Garden Inn - Troy. The event was presented by First Niagara.
YNN Sports Director Marisa Jacques hosted the evening, which included awards presentations, senior tribute and team highlight videos and speeches from Coach Jaques and Coach Patsos.
Vice president and director of athletics John D'Argenio began the awards ceremony by presenting retired Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Joyce Eggleston with the Howard J. Tucker.
Patsos presented six awards:
The Dan Cunha Defensive Player Award went to freshman Marquis Wright. Wright ranks second in the MAAC with 1.7 steals per game and has regularly had to guard established senior point guards, including some of the top players in the MAAC. He was named MAAC Rookie of the Week three times this season, and Monday was selected to the MAAC All-Rookie Team becoming a finalist for the conference Rookie of the Year award.
The Billy Harrell Rebounder Award went to sophomore Brett Bisping. Bisping ranks 11th in the conference in rebounding (6.3) and has been one of the most improved players in the league and a huge factor in Siena exceeding expectations. As the season went on, he got better and better, pulling down over eight rebounds per game over the final eight games of the regular-season.
Sophomore Ryan Oliver was presented with the Jim Sullivan Most Improved Player Award. Oliver took his game to another level the last six weeks and emerged as a huge factor in Siena's late season run, hitting several clutch shots late in games. Three of his four double-digit performances came in the last eight games and he's played 10 minutes or more in 14 of the last 16 contests.
Senior Steven Cruz won the Rev. Benjamin Kuhn, O.F.M, Student Athlete Award. Cruz improved his academic standing each of his four years with the program, highlighted by a 3.07 performance this past semester, raising his cumulative GPA to 2.78 in marketing
The Hustle Award was given to freshman standout Lavon Long. Long has reached double figures in over half of the Saints' 31 games this season. He scored all of his game-high 16 points in the second half of Siena's win at Rider - which could go down as the most important win of the season. Monday he was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team.
The presentation of the men's awards concluded with junior Rob Poole earning the Doc Marcelle Most Valuable Player Award. Poole stepped into a new role in a new system and took his game to a new level, developing into one of the top players in the MAAC. He ranks in the top-20 in the MAAC in scoring, rebounding, free throw percentage, three-pointers made, three-point percentage and minutes played. Yesterday he became the 40th player in 15th junior in Siena basketball history to score his 1,000th point and Monday he was named to the MAAC Third Team.
Poole and classmate Evan Hymes were then presented with balls commemorating their 1,000th career points. They're just the second pair of junior teammates in Siena history (Edwin Ubiles and Alex Franklin) to score 1,000 points in the same season.
Jaques presented five awards:
The Vicki Aromando Academic Excleence Award went to senior Kate Zarotney. Zarotney battled through six shoulder surgeries to play three seasons with the Saints. When her health cut her collegiate career short, she put an added focus on her academics and posted a 3.55 GPA last fall and was able to graduate early. Her hard work paid immediate dividends as just last week she joined the rest of us in the real world, starting her job with the Boston Children's Hospital.
Junior Kelsey Booth was given the Most Improved Player Award. The team's "Sixth Woman," Booth has recorded her first five collegiate double-digit scoring performances this season including career-highs of 25 points and 12 rebounds in her first career start at Rider on January 24.
The Val Higgins Leadership Award went to senior point guard Ciara Stewart. Stewart has been a member of Jaques' leadership council and earlier this season was elevated to team captain for her contributions as a leader to the program. On the court, she has been the Saints' floor general, starting the last 59 games at the point.
The Best Defensive Player Award was presented to junior guard Tehresa Coles for the second straight year. After ranking 28th nationally in leading the MAAC last season with 90 steals (which was third most in team history), she has once again led the league in thefts this year. As the head of Jaques' blizzard defense, she has already swiped more than 200 career steals and is on pace to make a run at the program's all-time record.
The Siena women open play in the MAAC Championships against No. 7 seed Manhattan Thursday at 11:30 a.m. To purchase tickets for that game, CLICK HERE.
The Siena men have a bye to the Quarterfinals where they will face No. 4 seed Canisius Saturday at 2:30 p.m. To purchase tickets for that game, CLICK HERE. Siena fans will be sitting in Sections 22 and 24.