Gaffney Named MVP As Minutemen Hold Annual Banquet
April 8, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - Following his first season as head coach of the Minutemen, Derek Kellogg handed out the annual team awards for the 2008-09 season last night. Senior Tony Gaffney was named the George "Trigger" Burke MVP, as well as earning the Stephane Lasme Defensive Award. Senior Chris Lowe earned the Derek Kellogg Most Assists Award, which was subsequently renamed the Chris Lowe Assists Award in honor of Lowe breaking the all-time assist record at UMass. Neither athlete was able to make the ceremony, as the two were invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, the first NBA Predraft Camp in Portsmouth, Va.
A special award was given to longtime Court Club Executive Director Ron Nathan. He was awarded the Court Club Dedication Award for his tireless work promoting the men's basketball program and passion throughout the years.
The George "Trigger" Burke MVP and Stephane Lasme Defensive Award went to Tony Gaffney. Trigger led the Minutemen in scoring in the '54-55 season with 17.6 points. His career-best against Rhode Island (34) still stands in the top 20 in single game points. Lasme, Gaffney's former teammate while he redshirted, was the 2006-07 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. He is also the third player in NCAA history to have four triple-doubles in the same season. The heart and soul of the team, Gaffney earned Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year, Atlantic 10 second team honors, A-10 All-Defensive team honors, and Collegeinsider.com Defensive All-American team honors. Gaffney ranked third in blocks (3.8) in the NCAA and 17th in rebounds (10.2), leading the A-10 in blocks, as well as finishing second in rebounds and steals. The senior averaged a double-double with 11.5 points and 10.2 rebounds in just under 34 minutes a game. The Berkeley, Mass. native became just the fifth player in the NCAA since 1996-97 with 100 blocks and 50 steals in a season (113 and 59). The last was Duke's Shelden Williams in 2005-06.
Coach Derek Kellogg honored Chris Lowe with the assist award bearing his own name. However, next year the award will take on a different look. As Chris Lowe became UMass' all-time assist leader with 678. A member UMass' 100 Seasons of Basketball All-2000's team, the point guard became the first player in UMass history with 1,000 points and 600 assists. He also finished fifth in career assists in the Atlantic 10 and owns the third and fifth best single-season marks for assists at UMass.
Ricky Harris received the Julius Erving Scoring Award, named after the greatest known athlete in UMass history. Erving played just two seasons at UMass, averaging 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds a game, only failing to miss a double-double once in his 52 career games. An Atlantic 10 third team and NABC second team honoree, Ricky Harris became just the 40th player in UMass history to score 1,000 points. Harris led the Minutemen in scoring with an 18.2 average, which ranks tied for 60th in the NCAA and fourth in the Atlantic 10. Harris was 39 percent from behind the arc this season and his 87 treys is tied for the sixth-best season. Currently with 1,347 points and one season remaining, Harris stands at number 15 on the all-time career scoring list.
A graduating senior, Luke Bonner, was named the Lou Roe Inspirational honoree. Roe, UMass' all-time leading rebounder, finished his career with 1,070 and was a first team All-American in 1995. Bonner is best known for getting the little things done to motivate his teammates. For example, taking game-changing charges and hitting threes at critical moments. Bonner played 23 games, averaging 6.9 points and 5/4 rebounds, but where he most helped the team was his defense. Bonner drew a team-high 28 charges (of 40 total) on the season with four in a single game on two occasions. Bonner also made the 2008-09 Atlantic 10 All-Academic team--the first honoree since Mike Babul of 1998-2000.
The Jim McCoy Most Improved Award, named for UMass' all-time leading scorer with 2,374 points, was given to Anthony Gurley. McCoy was Coach John Calipari's first recruit and integral in UMass' rise to excellence in the 1990's. Gurley transferred from Wake Forest to UMass after his freshman year. After redshirting a season with the Minutemen, Gurley stepped in to start 23 of the 30 games, coming off the bench in seven. The Boston, Mass. native averaged 11.2 points and 3.1 rebounds a game and scored in double-figures in 17 games this season. He saved his best for last, dropping 14.8 points per game in the final five matches of the season and making a career high 10-of-18 against Duquesne in the A-10 Tournament for a season-high 22 points.
The Marcus Camby Most Productive Award was given to freshman David Gibbs. Gibbs played in all 30 games this year, starting the final three. He averaged 3.5 points and grabbed 1.5 boards in 17.5 minutes. Gibbs showed sparks of greatness this year, as he hit a clutch three-pointer late at Rhode Island and drained a clutch 3-pointer to break a 50-50 tie late in win over reigning National Champion Kansas.
Who can forget Matt Glass' kettle bell screen to free Chris Lowe for the game-winner against Rhode Island? For his work on the court and in the classroom, Matt Glass was awarded the John Calipari Academic Award. Glass played in all 30 games, starting nine, netting 3.4 points and grabbing 1.7 rebounds. Glass, a sniper from the outside, hit 16 treys for a 70 percent average from beyond the arc.
Gary Correia, a tenacious defender, earned the Harper Williams Mr. Hustle Award. Williams was a two-time First Team All-Atlantic 10 honoree. He was named the A-10 Tournament's MVP twice in 1992 and 1993. Williams finished his UMass career with 1,534 points and 854 rebounds, both seventh all-time in the UMass record book. Correia played in 29 of 30 games this season, averaging 2.2 points, 1.1 assists, and just under one rebound per game. The R.I. native was a defensive specialist, giving Coach Kellogg a stop at critical points in the game.
Tyrell Lynch earned the Tyrone Weeks Sixth Man Award. The freshman played in 30 games, starting five, averaging 16.4 minutes with 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds. Lynch stepped right in after big man Luke Bonner was sidelined with a MCL sprain.
The Jack Leaman Coaches Award went to Lex Mongo. Mongo, a fan favorite, walked on this year after starring in UMass' intramural leagues. Seeing only 11 minutes this season, Mongo had a positive attitude all season long.
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