The College of Staten Island men’s and women’s basketball programs were a big part of the festivities earlier today at The Water Club Restaurant in Manhattan, as the City University of New York Athletic Conference ushered in its basketball postseason with its All-Star and yearly awards announcements in the sport as part of their yearly luncheon. Major awards were won by CSI Men’s Basketball Head Coach Tony Petosa, who won his second-consecutive Coach of the Year award, and Javon Cox, who gathered the Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Year honor. Seniors T.J. Tibbs and Jordan Young nabbed first-team honors, while sophomore Bloochy Magloire was named to the second team. On the women’s side of the ledger, frosh Nikki Fabozzi won Rookie of the Year honors, while former CUNYAC Rookie of the Year Katelyn Hepworth picked up second team all-star honors as well.
The CSI men, entering the tournament as the field’s No. 1 seed, were the talk of the event, riding a 14-game win streak and a recent No. 1 ranking in the NCAA Atlantic Region, complete with a 21-4 overall and 11-0 conference mark. Petosa, who spoke on behalf of the coaches before the announcement of his fourth CUNYAC Coach of the Year nod said, “There isn’t a coach or a player in the room who doesn’t want to win a championship over the next week. You just have to go out and play your best basketball and wish everyone the best of luck.”
CSI will have the benefits of its four all-stars when it meets No. 8 John Jay College on Saturday during the quarterfinals (Sports & Recreation Center, 1pm). Young, a four-time CUNYAC All-Star and the 2008 Rookie of the Year leads CSI with 7.5 rebounds per game, adding 410 points (15.4 pg.) to his career total of 1,649, good for third all-time at CSI. Backcourt ace T.J. Tibbs, CUNYAC’s Preseason Player of the Year hasn’t disappointed either, notching 14.6 points per contest, while leading the CUNYAC with 6.4 assists per game, good for 12th in all of NCAA Division III. Bloochy Magloire’s team-leading 17.0 and 1.7 steals per game are tops on the team, meriting him all-star honors, while Javon Cox, who was thrust into a starting role after an early season injury to sophomore Matt Van Manen, has used the opportunity to shine, averaging 8.4 points and 5.5 rebounds, accumulating four CUNYAC Rookie of the Week citations during the year.
CSI’s four all-stars led the way on the men’s side. Medgar Evers’ junior Winston Douglas earned Player of the Year honors. Douglas is averaging 18.7 points and 12.7 rebounds a game for the defending champs. Comprising the first-team were Jerome Alexander (John Jay), Chris Beauchamp (Baruch) and Mathias Raggiotto (Lehman). Earning second-team honors were Jovan Deare (Medgar Evers), Amil John and Tyshawn Russell (Brooklyn) and Tony Vails (York). The Burt Beagle Sportsmanship Award was taken by Hunter College senior Mark Courtien.
Freshman Nikki Fabozzi has played in all but one game for the Dolphins this season, making 20 starts while leading the team in scoring at 12.5 points per contest, the first CSI freshman to hold that honor since Tara Gagliardo in 1996-97. The dynamic two-way player also averages 5.1 rebounds per game and is in the NCAA Division III Top 100 in steals per game at 2.8. The Susan Wagner High School product was a three-time CUNYAC Rookie of the Week winner as well. Fabozzi marks the second Dolphin player in three seasons to win CUNYAC Rookie of the Year honors. The other was Hepworth in 2009, who earned all-star status this year, averaging 11.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. She also leads the squad in blocks with 20, and assists with 54.
Baruch College’s Jessica Duleba took Player of the Year honors, while Brooklyn College Head Coach Alex Lang landed Coach of the Year honors, locking his squad in with the top seed in the upcoming tournament with an 11-0 conference mark. First-team CUNYAC accolades were won by Amanda DeLaCruz and Jaleesa Gordon (Lehman), Justine O’Callahan and Lauren Plagainos (Brooklyn) and Kristen Markoe (Hunter). Second-teamers included Folashade Akinde (Baruch), Jamecia Forsythe (John Jay), Leslie Mencia (Lehman) and Megan McKenna (Hunter). Taking away the Burt Beagle Sportsmanship Award was York College’s Vanessa Rivera.
The CSI women (9-12 overall, 6-5 CUNYAC) have drawn the No. 5 seeding in the upcoming tournament, and will travel to Hostos Community College on Sunday at 7pm to face No. 4 Lehman College (14-11, 8-4). The Lightning took the only regular season meeting, 64-63, on a buzzer-beating shot by Jaleesa Gordon. The teams have split the last six meetings.
Tickets to all rounds of the CUNYAC Tournament are free. The quarterfinal round games are hosted by the higher seeded teams with semifinal and final play taking place at the Nat Holman Gymnasium at City College of New York. Although tickets to the semifinals and final are free of charge, spectators will need tickets to enter the facility. Tickets can be obtained online at www.cunyathletics.com.