The 2013-14 Atlantic 10 postseason awards were announced today, and it comes with a little bit of disappointment for Rhode Island fans. E.C. Matthews was named Co-Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year as he shares the honor with DeAndre Bembry of Saint Joseph’s. Matthews was also named to the A-10’s All Rookie team, as was star URI freshman Hassan Martin. Rhody’s Gilvydas Biruta also earned a spot on the conference’s All Academic team.
So about that disappointment. Yes, Co-Rookie of the Year is a tremendous honor and E.C. was more than deserving. But it comes with a bit of a sting as most URI fans were hoping that the honor would be his and his alone. Bembry is a fine player, but he had the benefit of playing alongside the likes of Langston Galloway (first team All Conference), Halil Kanacevic (second team), and Ronald Roberts, Jr. (third team). And looking at the numbers, it’s close, but the advantage clearly goes to Matthews.
E.C. averaged 16.6 points per game in conference play, more than four points better than Bembry’s 12.2. The players were also comparable in field goal percentage, rebounds, and assists. The only advantage for Bembry was that he played on a better team, which the coaches (voters) clearly took into consideration. Also of note: there are 13 coaches in the A-10. So if Matthews and Bembry split the voting, there was at least one vote for someone other than the two winners. That fact might be the most mind-boggling of all.
Onto URI’s other star freshman in Hassan Martin. He was also honored on the All-Rookie team, but missed out on a shot at the All-Defensive team. He had the numbers to be in consideration, but those kind of awards usually favor upper classmen. The fact that Rhode Island players make up 2/5 of the All-Rookie team really speaks to how well this team is built for the future.
Once again, Rhody had a player named to the conference’s All Academic team. Nikola Malesevic was honored last season, and this year it’s Gilvydas Biruta’s turn. But that rounds out the awads for the Rams; Xavier Munford was not named to any All-Conference teams, which is tough considering this year was the final chance for the senior.
You can check out the full list of awards here.