April 20, 2012
The Siena men's basketball program honored its senior class, and presented annual awards at the First Niagara Year-End Celebration Thursday night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy.
With YNN Sports Director Marisa Jacques serving as master of ceremonies, head coach Mitch Buonaguro spoke to an excited audience, and all enjoyed highlight videos and heard from each of the program's four senior student athletes.
Athletic Director John D'Argenio began the evening by presenting the Howard T. Tucker Award to Chip Stein for his contributions to Siena Basketball.
The Dan Cunha Defensive Player Award went to senior Owen Wignot for the second straight year. Wignot battled through injury to make major contributions on both ends of the floor. His 19 points per game in the MAAC Tournament led Siena, and he hit the biggest shot of the year - a right win 3-pointer that sent Siena's quarterfinal game with Manhattan to overtime.
The Billy Harrell Rebounder Award went to OD Anosike, who led the nation with 12.5 rebounds per game. He was named to the MAAC First Team, the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 1 First Team, and selected to the Lou Henson Mid Major All-America Team. He was also one of four student athletes featured in this year's NCAA Final Four program, after posting 17 straight double doubles - the 2nd longest DI streak in the last 17 years. His 338 rebounds and 12.5 rebounds per game each stand as the second most in a season in Siena history.
Brandon Walters was presented with the Jim Sullivan Most Improved Player Award. Walters was one of the most improved players in the MAAC. After averaging just 0.6 points and one rebound per game as a junior, he was an every day starter for this year's team, and played a very meaningful role. He averaged 6.8 points and six rebounds per game this year while blocking 40 shots and shooting 45% from the field. In the MAAC Tournament, he took his game to another level, helping the Saints reach the semifinals.
The Siena Newcomer Award went to Evan Hymes who enjoyed one of the great freshman seasons in program history after taking over the starting point guard role just weeks before the season began. His 415 points and 13.4 points per game were the second most for a freshman ever at Siena. He also topped this year's squad with 115 assists and 61 3-pointers.
The Siena Hustle Award was then presented to Rob Poole. Poole made an immediate impact on both ends of the floor, and provided great energy and production off the bench. He averaged seven points and 3.3 rebounds per game, and it seemed like he always got his hands on the key loose ball or made a big play that turned the tide of the game.
Anosike also won The Rev. Benjamin Kuhn, O.F.M, Student Athlete Award. The junior excelled on the court and in the classroom, posting a 3.75 GPA in the fall semester, raising his cumulative GPA well over 3.0 as an economics major. Next year Anosike could be an Academic All American candidate.
The presentation of awards concluded with senior Kyle Downey earning the Doc Marcelle Most Valuable Player Award. Downey played a huge leadership role on this year's over-achieving team, and the Saints followed his example. He also produced big on the court, ranking 10th nationally in minutes played while averaging 13.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assist per game.
After the awards were given out, the program's four seniors spoke at length about their time at Siena, one that included 81 victories, and two MAAC Tournament championships.
Buonaguro then concluded the evening by speaking about the state of the program.