The MAAC will announce its major award winners tomorrow at 6:30 pm, and we have our ballot all filled out. Ok, so we don’t actually get a ballot for the MAAC awards, BUT if we did, this is what it would look like.
Coach of the Year: Steve Masiello, Manhattan College
The Louisville import took a team that was picked to finish 8th in preseason polls and turned it into a MAAC contender. The Jaspers completed a remarkable 14 game improvement over last season, tops in the nation, with minimal change to their cast of characters. Masiello was able to get his players to buy into what he was selling, and in turn they learned how to win. Forget the team that lost 13 games in the final two minutes last season, the Jaspers are contenders, and its in large part to their new head coach.
Runners up: Mitch Buonaguro, Siena and Jimmy Patsos, Loyola
Ok, so you might be asking where is Tim Cluess of Iona, not on this ballot is the answer. Yes, Iona won the MAAC, but they have fallen short of the expectations that were held for them in the preseason. They suffered three MAAC losses and a bad out of conference loss to Hofstra, not selling points when trying to lay claim to at-large potential.
Now onto the actual runners up. Buonaguro took a Siena team depleted by injury and eligibility issues and kept them fighting in almost every game this season. The short handed Saints defeated MAAC regular season champ Iona, and can claim victories against Manhattan and Fairfield as well. A 13 win season and 6th place finish in the MAAC might not seem like something to hang one’s hat on, but given the extreme circumstances this season they are certainly an accomplishment.
Meanwhile Patsos has turned Loyola into a contender, finishing second in the MAAC with a school record 21 wins. They have a victory over Iona and swept Manhattan in route to another school record, 13 MAAC wins. Its taken him some time, but Pastsos deserves some credit for Loyola’s great season.
Player of the Year: Scott Machado
Machado has placed himself in the conversation of best point guards in the nation. He leads the country with a 10.1 assist per game average and broke Ronald Moore’s MAAC career assist record. Machado is the first player since 1993 to reach the 300 assist mark in a single season. Oh, he’s also averaging 13.1 points and 5 rebounds per game. He’s a special player who drives an Iona offense that is ranked first in the country in points per game, he’s certainly deserving of the honor.
Runner Up: OD Anosike, Siena
It really comes down to Anosike and Mike Glover of Iona for the two spot here. For us the tipping point is Anosike leads the nation in rebounding, 12.9 boards a game, and Mike Glover has a much stronger supporting cast feeding him the rock in Scott Machado, yet still only averages 3 more points a game than Anosike, 18.1 to 15.1 ppg. Anosike had a tremendous 17 consecutive double-doubles this season, most in the past 15 seasons in the nation, and leads the nation with 22 on the season. He’s been a monster on the boards all season, much of the time while facing double and triple teams. While it is unlikely Anosike wins the award this season, it should come as no surprise if he is the preseason pick for Player of the Year entering next season.
Rookie of the Year: Juan’ya Green, Niagara
Runner Up: Evan Hymes, Siena
I really wanted to go the homer route here and put Hymes in the top spot, but I just couldn’t do it with Green topping him in both points and assists per game. Both have played key roles for their teams, with Hymes being the bigger surprise story given his back-up status just weeks prior to the opening of the season. Hymes gets the edge in leading his team to a first round bye in the MAAC Tourney, edging out Green’s Purple Eagles, but Green’s 17.5 points per game and 4.4 assists per game tip the scales.
So there you have it, our thoughts on the 2012 MAAC awards. Will we be close to the truth? We’ll all find out tomorrow evening. Until then, feel free to give us your thoughts in the comments section below.