Coming into the year, Mike Black was a name that many fans heard when it came to Albany -- and rightfully so. Black has had a superb year for the Great Danes and is one of the top players in the conference. Fifth-year guard Jacob Iati may not have been as well known, but he made a name early on for himself and remains one of the top three-point threats in the country. But Albany's pleasant surprise is a player who hadn't started a game this year until January 7 at Binghamton.
Sam Rowley, who hails from Sydney, Australia, made quite the first impression that night against the Bearcats. The 6'6" 230 pound forward racked up 21 points and 13 boards that night and earned himself another start. Then Rowley had another double-double, followed by a third double-double. Now you look up, and Rowley has posted the following numbers over his last four games: 14.5 points per game and 11 boards per game on 57.9 percent shooting from the floor. America East fans are going to know his name very quickly.
Jimmy Gray has been the heart of this year's Binghamton squad and it's only appropriate that he nailed a three-pointer to seal his team's first conference win over Maine. While freshman teammate Jordan Reed has been racking up double-doubles, Gray has quietly been playing the 35.9 minutes per game (second in the conference) all at the demanding point guard position.
In our guest post on the Binghamton men's squad, head coach Tommy Dempsey was quoted as saying: "As I've gotten to know my team better, I think it's very important that we have the ball in Jimmy's hands". That is exactly what the Bearcats have done and Gray has rewarded his coach's faith with 11.2 points per game including over two three-pointers each time out.
Boston University Terriers
Much like Mike Black, D.J. Irving has played like an All-Conference performer. He has had to lead this Terrier squad that lost some key pieces from a year ago. Another guy that has stepped up is freshman Maurice Watson Jr. The speedy point guard has handled much of the ball handling duties as the year has gone on and has rewarded that faith by posting the fourth-best assist to turnover ratio in the America East.
Watson trails only Tommy Brenton with his 4.6 assists per game and has also been a nuisance to opposing offenses by turning in 1.6 steals per contest. If you've seen him play in person, you notice his speed and quickness with the ball right off the bat. Coach Joe Jones has got something to build around in Watson.
Michael Bustamante, Leonardo Fernandes and Jake Keegan were all selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft earlier today. A huge congratulations to all three players!
The Binghamton women's basketball team is taking part in the "Lacing Up 4 Pediatric Cancer" campaign.
We've got Vermont and Maine men's basketball on ESPN3 tonight, but make sure you tune in at noon tomorrow to watch the UMBC women host Stony Brook!