Player of the Year: Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
Nicholson was easily the most dominant big man in the Atlantic 10 this season, averaging 17.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 1.6 bpg as he led the Bonnies to a tie for third place in the conference. Nicholson wasn’t quite as good individually as he was as a junior, but St. Bonaventure had their best season since he enrolled at the school this year. They’ll need the automatic bid to make the NCAA Tournament, but there are some out there who believe the Bonnies are a sleeper in the A-10 tourney.
Coach of the Year: John Giannini, La Salle
La Salle wasn’t supposed to do much of anything this season. Expectations aren’t high when you lose your top three scorers from a team that went 15-18 and 6-10 in conference play. But the Explorers managed to put together a pretty impressive season, winning 20 games and finishing in a four-way tie for fifth in the league. And if it wasn’t for a stretch where they lost five of six in February, the Explorers might have finished in the top three.
Rookie of the Year: Kendall Anthony, Richmond
I was considering giving this award to Dez Wells, but considering it was his shove that sparked the brawl that turned Xavier’s season from promising to cautionary, I couldn’t justify it with myself. So Anthony it is, and he is certainly deserving. The diminutive (listed at 5’8″ … yeah, right) point guard averaged 13.4 ppg and shot 43.3% from beyond the arc. The Spiders are young, but talented. They’ll be back in the mix next season.
Sixth-Man of the Year: Ronald Roberts, St. Joseph’s
It basically came down to a coin flip between Roberts and Cody Ellis of St. Louis, but I opted to go with Roberts. He averaged 11.1 ppg and 6.0 rpg primarily as a reserve, bringing energy and athleticism every time he stepped on the floor.
Defensive Player of the Year: CJ Aiken, St. Joseph’s
Aiken is the eraser at the back end of the St. Joe’s defense. Averaging 3.7 bpg — fourth in the country — Aiken is an athletic freak that has also thrown down his fair share of poster dunks this season. Now all he needs to is start rebounding better.
All-Atlantic 10 First Team
POY: Andrew Nicholson, Sr., St. Bonaventure
G: Chaz Williams, So., UMass
G: Khalif Wyatt, Jr., Temple
F: Ramone Moore, Sr., Temple
F: Brian Conklin, Sr., St. Louis
F: Chris Gaston, Jr., Fordham
All-Atlantic 10 Second Team
G: Tu Holloway, Sr., Xavier
G: Langston Galloway, So., St. Joe’s
G: Ramon Galloway, Jr., La Salle
F: Chris Braswell, Jr., Charlotte
C: CJ Aiken, So., St. Joe’s