March 7, 2010
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Junior guard Kevin Anderson of Richmond has been named the 2009-10 Atlantic 10 men's basketball Player of the Year in voting conducted among the Conference's 14 head coaches.
The A-10 coaches also selected Fordham's Chris Gaston as the Rookie of the Year, Chris Johnson of Dayton as the recipient of the Chris Daniels Award as the league's most improved player, Temple's Ramone Moore as Sixth Man of the Year, Damian Saunders of Duquesne as Defensive Player of the Year and Temple's Fran Dunphy as Coach of the Year. In addition, Yves Mekongo of La Salle was tabbed Student-Athlete of the Year in voting among the league's sports information directors.
Anderson ranks fifth in the Conference in scoring (17.8 ppg.) while leading the third-seeded Spiders to program highs in both regular season (24) and A-10 (13) victories. A second-team selection a year ago, the native of Duluth, Ga., has scored 20 or more points 12 times this season and also leads UR in assists (83) and steals (56). Anderson is the program's first student-athlete to be tabbed A-10 Player of the Year since UR entered the league in 2001-02.
A two-time Player of the Week selection this season, Anderson is joined on the All-Conference first-team by Lavoy Allen of Temple, Xavier's Jordan Crawford, Damian Saunders of Duquesne and Dayton's Chris Wright. Crawford leads the A-10 in scoring at 19.7 ppg., while Wright garnered second-team distinction last season. For the first time in the league's 34-year history, the first-team All-Conference consists of only sophomores and juniors.
The All-Conference second-team includes Temple's Ryan Brooks, David Gonzalvez of Richmond, La Salle's Rodney Green, Kwamain Mitchell of Saint Louis and St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson. Teammates Keith Cothran and Delroy James of Rhode Island, Massachusetts' Ricky Harris, Jason Love of Xavier and Charlotte's Shamari Spears were named to the third team. Temple's Juan Fernandez, Damian Hollis of George Washington and Willie Reed of Saint Louis earned honorable mention acclaim.
A four-time A-10 Rookie of the Week selection, Gaston leads all freshmen nationally in both scoring (18.0 ppg.) and rebounding (11.4), while his 504 points are the most by a freshman in team annals. The 6-7 forward leads the A-10 with three 30-point performances, pulled down at least 10 rebounds on 20 different occasions, and registered 19 double-doubles. Gaston is the third Fordham student-athlete to earn A-10 Rookie of the Year distinction, joining Bevon Robin (1998) and Bryant Dunston (2005).
Gaston is joined on the All-Rookie team by Chris Braswell of Charlotte, Cody Ellis of Saint Louis, George Washington's Lasan Kromah, Aaric Murray of La Salle and Rhode Island's Akeem Richmond.
The first-ever Duquesne player to garner A-10 Defensive Player of the Year distinction, Saunders enters this week's A-10 Championship atop the league in both blocked shots (93) and steals (84) while averaging 14.9 ppg. and 11.4 rpg. The Waterbury, Conn., resident boasts 19 double-doubles and 19 performances with double-digit rebounds. Moreover, his 84 steals are tops in program history.
The All-Defensive team is comprised of Saunders, Allen, Gonzalvez, Dayton's London Warren and Garrett Williamson of Saint Joseph's. Allen, Warren and Williamson are repeat selections.
Johnson was tabbed the recipient of the Atlantic 10's Chris Daniels Award, presented to the Conference's most improved player. A year ago, the 6-6 forward averaged 6.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and knocked down 24 field goals from beyond the arc. This season, the Columbus, Ohio, native enters the A-10 Championship ranked second on the Flyers in both scoring (11.8 ppg.) and rebounding (7.0 rpg.) while boasting 55 three-point field goals. He has grabbed 10 or more rebounds six times this season and has three 20-point performances to his credit.
Moore has provided a spark off the Temple bench in his sophomore campaign, averaging 7.6 points and dishing out 47 assists in just 17.6 minutes per game. In A-10 play, the 6-4 guard from Philadelphia, Pa., averaged 9.8 points on 51.3 percent shooting (61-for-119).
A three-time Academic All-Conference selection, Mekongo recently earned CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first-team distinction. The senior forward from Elizabeth, N.J., boasts a 3.81 grade point average while majoring in Integrated Science, Business & Technology. A second-team Academic All-American a year ago, Mekongo averaged 11.0 points and finished his career with 1,014 points.
Joining Mekongo on the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference Team are Brian Conklin of Saint Louis, Duquesne's Jason Duty, Kurt Huelsman of Dayton and Rhode Island's Will Martell.
Now in his fourth season at Temple, Dunphy guided the Owls to their first A-10 regular season title since 2002 and the top seed in this week's Atlantic 10 Championship. Ranked 16th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 20th in the Associated Press top 25, TU compiled a mark of 14-2 in Conference play, while its 26 regular-season victories equaled the Owls' second-highest total in team history. In addition, Temple leads the league in both scoring defense (56.8 ppg.) and field goal percentage defense (38.1). The Owls have captured the last two A-10 Championships and are 81-48 (.628) under Dunphy.