Forbes Claims A-10 Player Of Year; Harris Named A-10 Most Improved Player
March 10, 2008
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - UMass' Gary Forbes was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, giving the Minutemen back-to-back year with the league's top player. Last season Stephane Lasme was named the A-10 Player of the Year. The last time UMass had consecutive players of the year was in 1995 (Lou Roe) and 1996 (Marcus Camby). Ricky Harris was also named the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player of the Year. UMass last the MIP in 2001 with Micah Brand and Kitwana Rhymer shared the award.
Here is the complete release from the Atlantic 10
Massachusetts senior swingman Gary Forbes, who enters this week's Championship tied for the Atlantic 10 lead in scoring, has been tabbed the 2007-08 men's basketball Player of the Year in voting conducted among the Conference's 14 head coaches.
The A-10 coaches also selected Kevin Anderson of Richmond as the Rookie of the Year, Massachusetts' Ricky Harris as the Chris Daniels Award recipient as the league's most improved player, Josh Duncan of Xavier as Sixth Man of the Year, teammate Stanley Burrell as Defensive Player of the Year and Xavier's Sean Miller as Coach of the Year. For the second consecutive season, Kieron Achara of Duquesne garnered Student-Athlete of the Year honors in voting among the league's sports information directors.
Forbes enters this week's Atlantic 10 Championship (Mar. 12-15) in Atlantic City tied with Temple's Dionte Christmas with an average of 20.3 ppg., up from 13.0 ppg. a year ago. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native has registered a Conference-best 18 performances of at least 20 points and leads the Minutemen in rebounding (7.7 rpg.) and double-doubles (nine). He is the second Minuteman in as many seasons to earn the league's Player of the Year honor as Stephane Lasme took the award in 2006-07.
A two-time Player of the Week selection, Forbes is joined on the All-Conference first-team by Christmas, Pat Calathes of Saint Joseph's, Rhode Island's Will Daniels and Brian Roberts of Dayton. Daniels is the first URI standout to be named to the first-team in successive years since Tyson Wheeler (1997-98).
The All-Conference second-team consists of Duncan and teammate Drew Lavender, Fordham's Bryant Dunston, Darnell Harris of La Salle and Temple's Mark Tyndale. The third-team includes Burrell, Dan Geriot of Richmond, Charlotte's Leemire Goldwire, Kevin Lisch of Saint Louis and Saint Joseph's Ahmad Nivins.
A program-best seven-time A-10 Rookie of the Week selection, Anderson ranks third on the Spiders with an average of 10.5 ppg. and scored at least 20 points on two occasions in Conference play. The Duluth, Ga., resident leads the team in assists (88) and steals (52) while leading the Spiders to nine league victories and the fourth seed in the 2008 A-10 Championship, equaling their best-ever finish.
Anderson is joined on the All-Rookie team by Lavoy Allen of Temple, Duquesne's Damian Saunders, An'Juan Wilderness of Charlotte, La Salle's Jerrell Williams and Chris Wright of Dayton.
Accepting his role as a defensive stopper while guarding the opposing team's top perimeter player, Burrell led a Xavier defense that leads the A-10 in field goal percentage defense (.402) and ranks second in scoring defense (62.3 ppg.). The senior guard has recorded 20 steals and has not fouled out of a game while averaging 31.5 minutes of action. The All-Defensive team is comprised of Burrell, Dunston, Lisch, Rhode Island's Parfait Bitee and Shawn James of Duquesne.
Ricky Harris garnered the Atlantic 10's Chris Daniels Award, presented to the Conference's most improved player. A year ago, the sophomore guard averaged 4.5 points while averaging just 10.8 minutes of action. This season, the Baltimore, Md., native ranks sixth in the league in both scoring (18.1 ppg.) and three-pointers made (82). The lone sophomore to be twice named A-10 Player of the Week this season, Harris scored 20 or more points in eight of the third-seeded Minutemen's 16 Conference tilts.
The versatile Duncan flourished coming off the bench for the Musketeers during his senior campaign, leading the team in scoring (11.6 ppg.) while shooting 52.3 percent (114-of-218) in just 21.7 minutes per game. In A-10 contests, the Cincinnati, Ohio, resident averaged a team-high 12.8 points and shot 51 percent (25-of-49) from beyond the arc.
Achara is the third individual to be twice named the Student-Athlete of the Year in men's basketball, joining Saint Joseph's Bill Phillips (2001-02) and Brian Thornton of Xavier (2005-06). The forward/center is averaging 11.4 points and ranks second on the team with 45 blocks while leading the Dukes to their highest win total (17) since the 1993-94 season. In the classroom, the Stirling, Scotland, native boasts a 4.0 grade-point average as a graduate student in Duquesne's sports leadership program.
One of 30 nominees for the Lowe's Senior Class Award, Achara is a three-time All-Academic Team selection. He is joined on the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference Team by Saint Louis teammates Lisch and Luke Meyer, Rhode Island's Jimmy Baron and Yves Mekongo Mbala of La Salle.
Miller earns his first A-10 Coach of the Year honor after guiding eighth-ranked Xavier to a 14-2 mark in league play and the top seed in this week's Championship. At 26-5 overall, the Musketeers are tied for the second-most single-season wins in program history and claimed their second consecutive A-10 regular season crown. Now in his fourth season at XU, Miller boasts a career record of 89-37 and has led the Musketeers to three straight 20-win seasons. A four-year standout at Pittsburgh, Miller graduated in 1992 with a bachelor's of arts degree in communications.
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