March 5, 2007
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Massachusetts senior Stephane Lasme, who leads the Conference in rebounding and blocks, has been named the 2006-07 Atlantic 10 men's basketball Player of the Year in voting conducted among the Conference's head coaches. The Atlantic 10 coaches also tabbed Robert Mitchell of Duquesne as Rookie of the Year, Temple's Dionte Christmas as the Chris Daniels Award winner as the league's most improved player, Charles Little of Dayton as Sixth Man of the Year and Rhode Island's Jim Baron as Coach of the Year, while Lame was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Kieron Achara of Duquesne garnered Student-Athlete of the Year distinction in voting among the league's sports information directors.
Lasme enters this week's Atlantic 10 Championship with an average of 9.4 rpg., 5.13 bpg., while shooting .623 percent (149-of-239) from the field. He ranks second nationally in blocks and is one of three players in NCAA history to register four triple-doubles in a season, joining Michael Anderson (Drexel - 1986) and Jason Kidd (California - 1994). The senior forward leads the league with 15 double-digit rebounding performances and is averaging 13.5 ppg. He is the first UMass student-athlete to earn A-10 Player of the Year honors since Marcus Camby in 1995-96.
A three-time Player of the Week selection, Lasme is joined on the All-Conference first-team by teammate Rashaun Freeman, Will Daniels of Rhode Island, Xavier's Justin Doellman and Ahmad Nivins of Saint Joseph's. Freeman is the first A-10 standout to be named to the first-team three consecutive years since Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson (2001-04).
The All-Conference second-team consists of Christmas, Bryant Dunston of Fordham, Xavier's Drew Lavender, Tommie Liddell of Saint Louis and Brian Roberts of Dayton. The third-team includes Charlotte's De'Angelo Alexander, Stanley Burrell of Xavier, Pat Calathes of Saint Joseph's and teammates Carl Elliott and Maureece Rice of George Washington. Jimmy Baron (URI), Kevin Lisch (SLU), Marcus Stout (FOR) and Mark Tyndale (TU) garnered honorable mention acclaim.
Mitchell was a five-time Rookie of the Week selection and enters this week's A-10 Championship averaging 16.5 ppg., good for seventh in the Conference and sixth nationally among freshmen. The Brooklyn, NY, native scored 20 or more points 12 times this season and ranks second on the team in both field goal shooting (.453) and rebounding (5.4).
Joining Mitchell on the All-Rookie team are Xavier's Derrick Brown, Jawan Carter of Saint Joseph's, Dan Geriot of Richmond, La Salle's Rodney Green and Damian Hollis of George Washington.
Lasme joins Tony Dobbins of Richmond (2002-04) as the only players in league history to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in successive seasons. The Libreville, Gabon, resident has registered 154 blocks this season, an A-10 single-season record, while anchoring a UMass defense that leads the A-10 in field goal defense (.398).
The All-Defensive team is comprised of Lasme, Achara, Xavier's Justin Cage, Elliott and Lisch. Cage is a member of the All-Defensive team for the third straight year.
Christmas was named the Atlantic 10's Chris Daniels Award winner, presented to the Conference's most improved player. A year ago, the Philadelphia, PA, native averaged 3.5 points and 1.6 rebounds while averaging 11.3 minutes per game. This season, Christmas is averaging a league-best 20.4 ppg. and ranks second in three-pointers (3.0 pg.). The 6-5 guard/forward is shooting .469 (189-of-403) from the field, good for seventh in the Conference, and is tenth in the A-10 in three-point shooting (.403).
Little is the first Dayton player in school history to garner Sixth Man honors. The bruising 244-lb. forward is averaging 10.5 points and 5.1 rebounds. Over the Flyers' last five contests, Little is averaging 19 points and 9.6 rebounds and recorded a pair of double-double performances, the first of his career.
Achara has enjoyed great success on the court and in the classroom in 2006-07. The 6-9 junior is averaging 15.9 points and 7.1 rebounds while his .532 field goal percentage leads the Dukes and ranks fourth in the Conference. Achara has registered 56 blocks, the second-highest single-season total in program history, despite missing the first six games of the season due to stress fractures in his foot. In the classroom, the Stirling, Scotland, native boasts a 3.61 grade point average in Duquesne's management program. He is a member of the All-Academic Team for the second time in three years.
Achara is joined on the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference Team by Baron, Luke Meyer of Saint Louis and teammates Drew Crank and Peter Thomas of Richmond.
Selected by the league's head coaches and media to finish 11th in the A-10 preseason poll, Baron led Rhode Island to a 10-6 league mark and 17-13 overall record. URI enters the Championship as the fourth seed and boasts the league's fourth-highest scoring offense, averaging 76.3 ppg. The only coach in league history to earn A-10 Coach of the Year honors at two different schools, Baron was tabbed as the Conference's Coach of the Year in 1995 while at St. Bonaventure and at Rhode Island in 2003. In six seasons in Kingston, Baron is 85-94 (.475) and 291-296 overall (.496).