The City University of New York Athletic Conference honored its yearly men’s and women’s basketball all-star teams and major award winners today at The Water Club in Manhattan, a luncheon that also ushers in the postseason tournament that begins officially this weekend.  Senior guard Christina Pasaturo was named the conference’s Player of the Year on the women’s side for the second-straight season, and joined senior teammate Samantha Flecker as a first-team CUNYAC All-Star.  On the men’s side it was a pair of sophomores taking home awards, as Christian Taylor earned on to the CUNYAC first-team, while first-year sophomore Adeola Latunji ws named to the second team.

“For me, this award is such an honor and is just as much of a team award as it is a solo award,” said Pasaturo. “Without my team around me I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I’ve achieved throughout my career.” 

Also the Preseason Player of the Year, Pasaturo made good on several records this season, including the school’s all-time scoring record and the conference’s three-point shooting record.  She is the conference’s leading scorer, averaging 22.8 per game, and her 2,144 total points to date are second only to Lauren Cargill in CUNYAC basketball history.  The CUNYAC Tournament Most Valuable Player from a year ago led CSI to it’s first CUNYAC title in 12 years a year ago, and is targeting another in a few short days.

“As always the goal is to win a CUNYAC Championship once again and finish my career with another championship and an NCAA berth.”

Fellow senior Samantha Flecker has ben just as potent this season, climbing up the scoring ladder with each game.  Flecker stands second on the team in scoring, averaging 15.3 points per contest.  She is tops on the team with 7.9 rebounds per contest, recently becoming only the second player in CSI history to notch 1,300 career points, 700 rebounds, and 200 steals in a career.  Flecker is also peaking at the right time.  Over the CUNYAC’s final week, she has put up season highs in rebounding, assists, and her 25 points in CSI’s last game against Lehman were the second-highest point total this season.

“This feels great, but I wouldn’t have been able to do this without my team,” Flecker stated.  “I couldn’t be more grateful to come out with an honor like this my senior season paired up with an amazing team.”

Joining Pasaturo as a major award winner was Brooklyn College’s Taylor George, who was named Rookie of the Year, and Alex Lang, who was named Coach of the Year.  CCNY’s Madison LaSalle was bestowed the Burt Beagle Sportsmanship Award.  

On the men’s side it was a pair of underclassmen making headlines.  Christian Taylor played sparingly his freshman season, but has had a breakout sophomore campaign, leding the Dolphins in scoring, good for 16/2 points per game.  Taylor is second on the team in rebounding at 5.5 per game, and assists with 82 in total.  All the numbers are career highs for Taylor who has played in all but one game, is closing in on 500 career points and has also posted a pair of double-doubles.  The season is especially gratifying for him given that he was filling the void cast by departed point guard and CUNYAC Player of the Year Frank Schettino.

“I’m excited that I was honored as a CUNYAC first-team all-star, as it shows the work I put in during the offseason has paid off,” said Taylor.  “The ultimate goal, however, is to win a CUNYAC Championship because without that, all the hard work we put in as a team meant nothing.” 

Last but certainly not least on CSI’s list of awarded stars was first-year sophomore Adeola Latunji, who joined the Dolphins as a non-athletic transfer from SUNY-Albany.  Latunji, one of the best rookies in the conference all year long won two Player of the Week and two Rookie of the Week honors this season, finishing the regular season with a 15.8 points per game average to go with a team-best 6.0 rebounds per contest.  Latunji also led the team defensively with 37 steals this season and his 47% shooting touch from the floor is good for third on the squad.

Latunji said “I would like to thank my team and coaching staff for helping me improve throughout the season. Because of their help I was able to push through and elevate my game which helped me win this award.”

Major award winners on the men’s side were Baruch’s Chimaechi Ekekeugbor who was named Player of the Year.  Basheeru Camara of Medgar Evers College was awarded Rookie of the Year while Lehman College’s Steven Schulman was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Lightning to the regular season championship.

The CUNYAC Postseason Championship for both the men’s and the women’s team will begin this weekend.  The CSI women are the defending champions and own the No. 2 seed in the six-team playoff, earning a quarterfinal bye.  They will play in the CUNYAC Semifinal Round on Tuesday, February 20, against the winner of a No. 3 Lehman vs. No. 6 Baruch College quarterfinal.  As for the men, they earned the No. 3 seed in the six-team field, and will play No. 6 Brooklyn College in CUNYAC Quarterfinal play on Saturday, February 17, at 5:30pm.