Peyton Aldridge, Jaylen Adams earn Co-Player of the Year Awards. Who else won awards?

Written by: Ryan Cunningham

Twitter: @R_Cunningham04

Twitter:  @wingspansports  (follow for all your sports information; we follow back)

 

Coach of the Year: Dan Hurley, Rhode Island

He led Rhode Island to their first outright regular season championship in history.  URI was 23-6 overall this season and 15-3 in conference.  Hurley got hired at Rhode Island in 2012 and in his first year, he went 8-21.  He got progressively better every year and eventually got the Rams on the national stage.  They were ranked as high as #16 in the nation this year.  This award was very well deserved.

 

Co-Players of the Year: Peyton Aldridge, Davidson & Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure 

Aldridge led the A-10 in scoring at 21.3 PPG and had the most points in a single game with 45 points against St. Bonaventure.  He was the 5th player in Davidson history to reach 2,000 points in a home win over Fordham.  Aldridge is the second Davidson player to receive player of the year in the A-10.  Tyler Kalinoski received the award in the 2014-2015 season, which was Davidson’s first year in the league.  Aldridge will go down as one of the very best players in Davidson history, and in my opinion, in Atlantic 10 history.

Adams scored 20.5 PPG leading St. Bonaventure to a strong second place finish in the conference.  He started off the year sitting out 6 games with a left ankle injury, but quickly got in a groove, leading the Bonnies to two good wins over Syracuse and Maryland.  Starting out conference play, they were 2-4 and there were a lot of questions.  They won 12 straight to finish the season 14-4.  Adams had 2 consecutive 40 point games, including one of those games with 10 threes.  He played in front of NBA scouts in just about every game he played, but that didn’t intimidate him one bit.  He’ll likely end up on an NBA roster next year.

 

Rookie of the Year: Kellan Grady, Davidson

Grady averaged 17.9 PPG as a freshman, including 10 games where he had 20+ points.  He also had 3 games with 30+ points, including a career-high 39 points in a triple-overtime loss to St. Bonaventure.  He was a huge factor in helping Davidson to a third place finish in the A-10.  Grady was the highest level recruit in the Bob McKillop era, and did not disappoint in his first year.  He committed to Davidson due to his admiration for former Davidson guard, Stephen Curry.  If it wasn’t for Curry, he may have ended up at a power 5 school.  Grady has an extremely bright future.  He also got 2nd team all A-10.  He’s a star in the making.

 

Defensive Player of the Year: Yuta Watanabe, George Washington

Watanabe was third in the A-10 in blocks at 1.3 per game.  Along with leading the league in minutes played, he was ninth in scoring with 16.6 PPG.  His length and versatility gave whoever he was guarding headaches.  Watanabe also pulled down 6.3 rebounds per game.  Watanabe, who is a senior, had a great career for the Colonials on the offensive side of the ball, but especially the defensive side as well.  Stanford Robinson of Rhode Island is also very deserving of this award.  I believe the league could’ve had 2 winners for defensive player of the year.

 

Chris Daniels Co-Most Improved Players: Luwane Pipkins, Massachusetts & LaDarien Griffin, St. Bonaventure

Pipkins, a sophomore, increased his scoring by 10.9 PPG from his freshman year.  He was twice named A-10 player of the week.  He was second in the A-10 in scoring with 21.1 PPG.  Pipkins increased his three point percentage by 10% from his freshman to sophomore season.  If his team didn’t have a bad record, he would’ve easily been first team all A-10.

Griffin increased his minutes played from 12.3 minutes last year, to 29.7 minutes this year, so he was asked to do a whole lot more.  He delivered.  He increased his scoring from 2.7 PPG to 8.7 PPG,  his rebounding from 2.2 RPG to 6.4 RPG and his blocks from 0.4 BPG to 1.8 BPG.  He improved in nearly every category, which is part of the reason why St. Bonaventure is likely to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament this season.

 

Sixth Man of the Year: Tarin Smith, Duquesne

Smith averaged 12.5 PPG and 3.2 assists per game coming off the bench.  He came off the bench 26 times this season.  He had five 20 point games, four of them coming off the bench.  Smith is essential to a possible Duquesne conference tournament run.  He will have to play as well as he did during the regular season in the A-10 tournament for them to have a chance.

 

All-Conference First Team:

Peyton Aldridge, Davidson
Jared Terrell, Rhode Island
Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure
Matt Mobley, St. Bonaventure
Justin Tillman, VCU

 

All-Conference Second Team:

Kellan Grady, Davidson
Otis Livingston II, George Mason
B.J. Johnson, La Salle
Luwane Pipkins, Massachusetts
Shavar Newkirk, St. Joseph’s

 

All-Conference Third Team:

Josh Cunningham, Dayton
Yuta Watanabe, George Washington
E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island
Grant Golden, Richmond
James Demery, St. Joseph’s

 

All-Academic Team:

Joseph Chartouny, Fordham
Prokop Slanina, Fordham
Patrick Steeves, George Washington
B.J Johnson, La Salle
Jeff Dowtin, Rhode Island

 

All-Defensive Team:

Joseph Chartouny, Fordham
Yuta Watanabe, George Washington
Stanford Robinson, Rhode Island
Javon Bess, Saint Louis
Justin Tillman, VCU

 

All-Rookie Team:

Kellan Grady, Davidson
Jalen Crutcher, Dayton
Eric Williams Jr., Duquesne
Grant Golden, Richmond
Hasahn French, Saint Louis

 

Check back tomorrow for my A-10 tournament preview.

 

 

 

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