Lasme Named A-10 Defensive Player Of Year
March 6, 2006
AMHERST, Mass. -
Junior Stephane Lasme was named the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Lasme leads the league in blocked shots with 3.9 per game, which ranks third nationally. The last UMass player to named Defensive Player of the Year was Kitwana Rhymer in 2001.
Lasme was also named to the A-10 Defensive Team. Again, the last Minuteman to make that team was Rhymer in 2001.
Rashaun Freeman was named to the A-10 First Team for the second year in a row after scoring 13.9 points and grabbing 9.3 rebounds per game. The last UMass player to be named to the First Team twice was Monty Mack in 2000 and 2001.
Freshman Chris Lowe was named to the All-Rookie Team after averaging 4.78 assists per game, second in the league. His 5.94 average in A-10 games is No. 1 in the league.
Here's the A-10 release:
PHILADELPHIA, PA - For the second year in a row, La Salle senior Steven Smith has been selected Atlantic 10 men's basketball Player of the Year in voting conducted among the Conference's head coaches.
The Atlantic 10 coaches also voted Tommie Liddell of Saint Louis as Rookie of the Year, Massachusetts' Stephane Lasme as Defensive Player of the Year, Ian Vouyoukas of Saint Louis as the Chris Daniels Award winner as the league's most improved player, Maureece Rice of George Washington as Sixth Man of the Year, and George Washington head coach Karl Hobbs as Coach of the Year. Brian Thornton of Xavier was selected as the Student-Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row in voting among the league's sports information directors.
Smith leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring, averaging 20.0 ppg upon entering this week's Atlantic 10 Championship at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. The 6-7 senior from Philadelphia is also third in the A-10 in rebounding at 8.0 rpg. His .490 (204-416) field goal percentage ranks fifth in the Conference, while his 14 20-point scoring games is first. In earning his second Player of the Year award (he shared it with Pat Carroll of Saint Joseph's last season), Smith becomes just the fifth player in league history to earn the honor twice, joining James Bailey of Rutgers (1978, 1979), Earl Belcher of St. Bonaventure (1980, 1981), West Virginia's Greg Jones (1982, 1983), and David West of Xavier (2001, 2002, 2003).
Smith is joined on the All-Conference first-team by Charlotte's De'Angelo Alexander and Curtis Withers, Mardy Collins of Temple, Fordham's Bryant Dunston, Rashaun Freeman of UMass, George Washington teammates Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Danilo Pinnock, Dawan Robinson of Rhode Island, Xavier's Brian Thornton, and Ian Vouyoukas of Saint Louis.
The All-Conference second-team consists of Jermaine Anderson of Fordham, Richmond's Jermaine Bucknor, Stanley Burrell of Xavier, Carl Elliott and Mike Hall of George Washington, Saint Joseph's Abdulai Jalloh and Chet Stachitas, Bryant McAllister of Duquesne, Dayton's Brian Roberts, Antywane Robinson of Temple, and St. Bonaventure's Ahmad Smith. Leemire Goldwire (CHA), Maureece Rice (GW), and Jermaine Thomas (LAS) garnered honorable mention acclaim.
Liddell earned six Rookie of the Week awards in 2005-06, becoming the ninth player in A-10 history to earn at least six. The 6-4 guard from East St. Louis, IL, is all over the Billikens' leader board. He is the team's third leading scorer (10.5 ppg) and second leading rebounder, while his 76 assists and 28 steals lead the team. He also has 18 blocked shots - second-most at SLU.
Joining Liddell on the All-Rookie team are teammate Kevin Lisch, Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island, Chris Lowe of Massachusetts, and Saint Joseph's Ahmad Nivins.
Lasme, who was named the Atlantic 10's Defensive Player of the Year, enters the A-10 Championship as one of the nation's leading shot blockers, ranking third nationally with a 3.89 per game average. The 6-8 junior from Libreville, Gabon, is also pulling down 6.9 rebounds per game, with six games of at least 10 boards to his credit this season. Offensively, he is averaging 10.1 ppg.
The All-Defensive team is comprised of Lasme, Collins, Hall, Mensah-Bonsu, and Justin Cage of Xavier.
Vouyoukas was named the Atlantic 10's Chris Daniels Award winner, presented to the Conference's most improved player. A year ago, the 6-10 native of Athens, Greece, averaged 6.9 points and 5.4 rebounds while seeing time in 27 games. This season, Vouyoukas is averaging team highs of 13.9 ppg and 7.3 rpg. His 54 blocked shots also leads the Billikens.
Rice is the second consecutive George Washington player to garner Sixth Man honors, following in the footsteps of Pinnock. Rice has come off the bench in all 27 games for the Colonials to average 12.6 ppg - second-best on the team. The 6-1 sophmore from Philadelphia is shooting 45.7 percent (128-280) from the field, which includes a .398 percentage (35-88) from three-point range. His 81 assists and 43 steals rank third among the Colonials.
Thornton has managed to combine academics and athletics very successfully since transferring to Xavier from Vanderbilt. The 6-8 senior from Louisville, KY, improved his game tremendously from last season before a broken ankle sustained on Feb.11 ended his season. Thornton posted averages of 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds - both best for the Musketeers. His .640 field goal percentage (114-178) still ranks fifth in the nation and tops in the Atlantic 10. In the classroom, Thornton, who graduated last May, sports a 3.30 graduate school grade point average in Xavier's MBA program. He also earned second-team Academic All-America honors this season.
Thornton is joined on the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference team by Goldwire, Roberts, Stachitas, Peter Thomas of Richmond, and Fordham's Nick Vita.
Hobbs led George Washington to the fourth perfect record in A-10 history, taking his Colonials to a 16-0 league mark and a 26-1 overall record. George Washington enters the Championship as the top seed after posting a perfect 16-0 record in A-10 play and a 26-1 overall mark. The Colonials, who are ranked seventh by the Associated Press and sixth by USA Today/ESPN, enter the A-10 Championship with the nation's longest winning streak at 18 games (the longest in school history). George Washington joins Saint Joseph's (16-0, 2003-04), Temple (18-0, 1987-88), and Temple again (18-0, 1983-84) as those who posted perfect A-10 regular seasons. At 26-1, the Colonials have set a school record for wins. GW previously won 24 games in 1954-55 (24-6) and 1997-98 (24-9). In five season at Foggy Bottom, Hobbs is 90-54 (.625).