By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn is not known for college basketball, but piggybacking on the recent success of LIU Brooklyn and the arrival of the Barclays Center, most of the programs in Kings County are currently experiencing a decent amount of success while continuing to grow.
The St. Joseph's College men's team managed to win the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title after a great season and the Brooklyn College women's team lost the City University of New York Athletic Conference title to Baruch, but followed that up with an exciting run in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division-III Metro Championships. The ASA College women's team also had a standout season with the men's team having some success as well.
The Division-I schools, while still growing, suffered a bit of disappointment this year. The LIU Brooklyn men's team saw it's run of three consecutive Northeast Conference titles end, failing to make the playoffs thanks to a long list of injuries. Both the St. Francis men's and women's teams had tremendously successful regular seasons, but both suffered premature playoff losses that put a damper on their success.
Let's take a look at some of the top talent in Brooklyn this season:
MVP: Jalen Cannon, St. Francis College (14.9 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 49.0 FG%): Cannon was the most consistent player in Brooklyn this year. He dominated the glass both offensively and defensively and was one of the top players in the NEC. The way St. Francis' season ended was a major disappointment, but with Cannon coming back next season expect the Terriers to make another run in their conference.
Coach of the Year: John Thurston, St. Francis College women: In just his second year as head coach of the Terriers, Thurston led the team to break a lot of school records like — most win in program history (19), most conference wins (10), most home wins (12), most 90+ point games (3) and many others. Look for the Lady Terriers to be at the top of their division next year.
Rookie of the Year: Wayne Martin, St. Francis College (7.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, 48.3 FG%): Martin's season certainly could have been more consistent, but he showed flashes of talent that makes it easy to see that, in time, he could be one of the best college players in Brooklyn.
Cleandra Roberts, LIU Brooklyn (18.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, 47.7 FG%): Roberts was Cannon's biggest challenger for MVP. She had an absolutely amazing season as she nearly doubled her points output from her junior season. The Lady Blackbirds struggled for most of the season, but Roberts put them on her back and got them to the playoffs with her amazing performances.
Bishop Daniels, ASA College (18.0 PPG, 4.6 APG, 2.8 RPG, 46.6 FG%): Daniels is transferring to Rutgers next season and it's easy to see why they like him. He's got a great shot and is also a strong playmaker.
Eilidh Simpson, St. Francis College (14.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 43.9 FG%): The Terriers don't really have a true star player, but if you had to pick one player it would be Simpson. The Austrailian-native scored at least 20 points eight times including a 27-point performance against Robert Morris on Feb. 24.
Jason Brickman, LIU Brooklyn (11.3 PPG, 10.0 APG, 3.3 RPG, 40.2 FG%): Due to injuries, the Blackbirds never seriously defended their NEC title, but Brickman showed that he doesn't need tremendous talent around him to be a special player. He fininished his NCAA career ranked fourth on the All-Time asists leaderboard with 1,009.
Ben Mockford, St. Francis College (12.0 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 42.3 FG%): Mockford can shoot and he can especially shoot the three. He takes some impressive shots and when he's hot it seems that he can hit one from anywhere on the floor. His game against LIU Brooklyn on Jan. 9 was especially impressive as he hit eight threes in to win that one.
Brittany Jackson, ASA College (21.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, 47.9 FG%)
David Louison, St. Joseph's (18.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 54.4 FG%)
Jai Kellman, Brooklyn College (17.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.8 APG, 44.0 FG%)
Michael Megafu, St. Joseph's (17.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 56.4 FG%)
Megan Campbell, Brooklyn College (14.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.1 APG, 42.3 FG%)