Before getting into the team and player of the week honors in the metropolitan area, it's time to acknowledge area players who picked up some praise in their respective leagues.
Atlantic 10: Fordham freshman guard Jio Fontan was named Rookie of the Week after two exemplary games for the Rams. Fontan averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 assists in the two games, which included a career-high twenty-two in a 69-66 loss to Fairfield.
Big East: Seton Hall guard Jeremy Hazell and St. John's guard Paris Horne were both named to the league's Honor Roll for their play last week. Hazell averaged 19.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg for the Pirates while Horne had numbers of 14.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.5 apg and 64.7% FG for the Red Storm. Both teams went 2-0 last week, with the two sophomores being big reasons why.
Ivy League: Princeton guard Doug Davis was named Rookie of the Week. Davis scored twenty-seven points in the Tigers' loss at Manhattan. It's the second time this season that Davis has won the honor. As for the conference's Honor Roll, four area players were on the list. Columbia's Joe Bova and Noruwa Agho, Princeton's Pawel Buczak and Yale's Ross Morin received the honor for their play.
MAAC: It was a nice haul for area teams in the MAAC, with Fairfield's Anthony Johnson and Manhattan's Chris Smith sharing Player of the Week honors and Iona's Scott Machado being named Rookie of the Week. Johnson averaged a double-double in two Stag wins last week (11.5 ppg, 14.5 rpg), including a fourteen and sixteen effort (not to mention four rejections) in a win over Drexel. Smith earned his honor thanks to a thirty-five point performance in the Jaspers' 70-60 win over Princeton. Machado was the picture of consistency for the Gaels in their 2-0 week, posting averages of 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game.
Northeast: LIU forward James Boyd was named Choice Hotels NEC Rookie of the Week, averaging 12.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in a 1-1 week for the Blackbirds. In LIU's loss to Iona Boyd posted his first double-double with fourteen points and ten rebounds.
Player of the Week: Anthony Johnson (Fairfield)
Johnson was one of two players in the area to average a double-double last week (St. Francis' Kayode Ayeni being the other), but his team won both games which gives him the edge here. The ability of Ed Cooley's team to make a run at Siena in the MAAC hinged on the improvement of both Johnson and Greg Nero up front when the season began, and the juniors have answered the call so far. Now 8-3 on the season after their win over Drexel on Sunday, Johnson and his teammates are off until the day after Christmas when they take on UConn (the first of five straight road games). The Huskies have some NBA-ready big men, but don't expect Johnson and company to be a pushover inside.
Honorable Mention: Kayode Ayeni (St. Francis), Jio Fontan (Fordham), Jeremy Hazell (Seton Hall), Charles Jenkins (Hofstra)
Team of the Week: Hofstra
The Pride weren't the only team in the area to win both of their games, but you could make an argument that they're the hottest team due to their eight-game win streak. Star guard Charles Jenkins was the focus of attention in their home win over St. Francis (NY) in Saturday, thus a total of eleven points. But unlike score-first guys who would allow their point totals to influence their play, he went out and did other things. Ten rebounds and seven assists as well for the sophomore, and others such as Cornelius Vines (13 points), Greg Washington (9 points, 12 rebounds) and Dane Johnson (8 points, 6 rebounds) did more than enough to wrap up the win. Head coach Tom Pecora may have a CAA contender at his fingertips this season.
Who's Hot: Fairfield, Seton Hall, St. John's
Who's Not: Fordham, Monmouth, NJIT
Tuesday December 16th
7 PM: Rider @ La Salle this will be a tough game for the Broncs, given the length that Dr. John Giannini's team has at all positions. Rodney Green is one of the better guards in the Atlantic 10 as well, so expect a battle.
7:30: Bethune-Cookman @ LIU
Wednesday December 17th
8 PM: Iona @ Western Michigan the Gaels visit Kalamazoo before taking on ranked Ohio State on Saturday, and this has the looks of decent game. The Broncos are led by guards David Kool (17.7 ppg) and Shawntes Gary (11.3 ppg), but lack overall firepower. WMU may be 2-8, but getting a win on the road is never easy.
Friday December 19th
7 PM: St. Peter's @ Monmouth
Albany @ Sacred Heart This game may not seem like much right now, but a win or loss here could have a big impact on your computer numbers come March. That's what the hidden incentive is for a Sacred Heart team that currently leads the NEC and should contend throughout the season.
Saturday December 20th
Noon: Iona @ #16 Ohio State
2 PM: Columbia vs. Virginia Tech (Aeropostale Holiday Festival)
Bryant @ Rutgers
Manhattan @ Binghamton
3 PM: NJIT @ Rider
4 PM: Hofstra @ UMass if you can find this game on TV, tune in. With the guard tandem of Jenkins and Vines taking on the likes of Chris Lowe and Ricky Harris this one will be played with some pace. But whether or not the Pride leave Amherst with a win will depend on how well their big men play against the resurgent Tony Gaffney, an early candidate for most improved player in America.
4:30: Marist vs. St. John's (Aeropostale Holiday Festival)
7 PM: IUPUI @ Seton Hall
Sunday December 21st
1 PM: VMI @ Army A serious contrast in styles in West Point. The Keydets lead the country in scoring, while Army would rather their games be played in the fifties. It'll be entertaining to say the least.
Lehigh @ Monmouth
4 PM: Brown @ Wagner
Monday December 22nd
7 PM: Seton Hall @ James Madison Last year's game at The Rock was a classic, with the Pirates escaping with a 112-110 overtime win. Eugene Harvey went for 27 in the game, while JMU's entire starting five scored at least fourteen points each.
LIU @ Manhattan
Albany @ St. Francis (NY)
Updated Rankings (previous week in parentheses)
1. Seton Hall (8-1; 1)
2. St. John's (8-1; 2)
3. Hofstra(8-1; 3)
4. Fairfield (8-3; 4)
5. Rutgers (7-3; 5)
6. Rider (5-2; 6)
7. Manhattan (5-3; 7)
8. Iona (4-5; 10)
9. Sacred Heart (3-4; 9)
10. Wagner (5-3; 11)
11. Marist (3-6; 8)
12. Stony Brook (5-5; 12)
13. LIU (3-5; 15)
14. Columbia (3-5; 16)
15. Princeton (2-6; 13)
16. Yale (2-6; 14)
17. St. Francis (NY) (3-6; 18)
18. St. Peter's (3-6; 17)
19. Army (3-7; 20)
20. FDU (1-7; 19)
21. Fordham (1-7; 21)
22. Monmouth (1-11; 22)
23. NJIT (0-9; 23)