SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Commonwealth Coast Conference announced its 2016-17 men's basketball all-conference teams and major award winners Monday afternoon. Eight of the 10 CCC schools were represented on this year's all-conference list.
Nichols brought home two of the major awards as sophomore guard Marcos Echevarria (Lynn, Mass.) won player of the year honors, while his freshman teammate DeAnte Bruton (New London, Conn.) took home the rookie of the year award as the league's top newcomer. Wentworth's Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) was voted the 2016-17 CCC Defensive Player of the Year and Endicott's Max Motroni (West Warwick, R.I.) was named this year's senior scholar-athlete. Motroni's coach, Kevin Bettencourt, was selected by his peers as the CCC Coach of the Year. The team sportsmanship award went to Gordon.
Voting for the All-CCC teams and each of the major awards was conducted by the conference's ten men's basketball head coaches following the conclusion of the regular season.
Bruton and Echevarria were also named First Team All-Conference honorees. Gordon's Garrisson Duvivier (Brockton, Mass.), last year's rookie of the year, and Sam Johnson (Chatham, Mass.) were also named to the first team. Endicott's Kamahl Walker (Worcester, Mass.), the 2014-15 CCC Player of the Year, and Roger Williams' Austin Coene (Tyngsborough, Mass.) were also named to the All-CCC First Team.
Five student-athletes were named to the All-CCC Second Team including Endicott's Motroni. Joining the 2016-17 Senior Scholar-Athlete were Eastern Nazarene's Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.), Roger Williams' Nick Marini (Loudonville, N.Y.), Salve Regina's Nicholas Bates (Danvers, Mass.), and Wentworth's Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.).
The five players selected to the All-CCC Third Team were Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) from Eastern Nazarene, Daquan Sampson (Germantown, Md.) from Endicott, Rodney Morton (Malden, Mass.) from Salve Regina, Dan DeVaux (Wethersfield, Conn.) from Wentworth, and Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.) from Western New England.
Knollmeyer becomes the first Leopard to take home the league's defensive player of the year award since Sam Herrick in 2011. Starting all of the team's 24 games, he has been a key reason why Wentworth leads the conference in scoring defense (65.6 points per game), a statistic which also ranks the Black & Gold 23rd among Division III schools. Additionally, Wentworth's field goal percentage defense of 41.3 percent is fourth in the league and 63rd nationally. Knollmeyer has taken the task of guarding the opposing team's top perimeter player and has put up some impressive performances on the defensive end all season while also leading the team in charges taken. Starting 58 of the 74 games in which he has played throughout his career, Knollmeyer has helped to lead a strong defensive effort during his three years as the Leopards have been among the conference leaders in both scoring defense and field goal percentage defense. During his freshman campaign the squad set a program record allowing opponents to shoot just 38.8 percent from the floor.
A First Team All-CCC selection a season ago, Ganley was named to the league's second team after averaging a team-high 13.9 points to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Ganley, who started all 24 games he played in, scored 20 or more points in four games, including scoring a season-high 30 points in an 84-80 win over Drew on Dec. 30. He also recorded a pair of double-doubles, including when he matched a career high of 13 rebounds in a 78-58 loss at Mount Ida on Dec. 12, and had a career-best eight assists in a 76-67 loss at Endicott on Jan. 3. For his career Ganley has started 50 of the 71 games in which he has played, averaging 13.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. He is 12th on the program's all-time scoring list with 938 points and is tied for 18th all-time with 73 three pointers made.
After a breakout senior season, DeVaux earns a spot on the third team. DeVaux, who had started just two games prior to this season, has started 23 of the 25 games in which he has played and has the second-high scoring average on the team (13.0 points per game) to go along with 4.4 rebounds per game and 66 three pointers made which ranks him third within the CCC and is the fourth-highest total in a single season in program history. Devaux had three games in which he scored 20 or more points, including a pair where he notched a season-high 24 points. One of those two 24-point games came in a regular season-ending 74-73 win at Roger Williams on Feb. 18 where all 24 of his points came from behind the three-point arc. In 75 career games (50 career starts), DeVaux is averaging 6.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while making 103 three pointers which ranks him 10th all-time in program history.
Wentworth is 13-12 overall and is the fifth seed in the upcoming CCC Men's Basketball Tournament at 11-7. The Leopards travel to fourth-seeded Gordon for a quarterfinal round game on Tuesday evening.
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