There are 10 teams in the MAAC, and each team plays the other nine twice in league play. Nine times two is 18, and with every team having played nine games, that means everyone’s league season is at least half over.
I’m fantastic at math, I know.
What being halfway through the season really means is that it’s time for halftime awards. I’ll give you my favorite to win the MAAC, and my First Team All-MAAC at the halfway point.
Thus far through league play, Ryan Rossiter and Mike Glover are shoe-ins for the First Team. That doesn’t mean they will be shoe-ins for the real thing come March, but for the halfway point, I don’t think anyone would argue against this.
I have three spaces left to fill. The only players in my mind who have legitimate claims to the title are Derek Needham, Justin Robinson and Scott Machado.
Others can make a case, but they don’t have the connotation of “First Team All-League” just yet, not to me at least.
Anthony Nelson and George Beamon probably won’t enjoy reading this. Mike Ringgold and Nick Leon can ball, and Novar Gadson is no slouch either.
There are a handful of good players in the league who are putting up good numbers, people like Kyle Smith, Kashief Edwards, Elton Frazier and Rhamel Brown, but there’s no way they crack the league’s top-5.
I’m more of a “that guy can play, I’d want him on my team” type of observer of college basketball. Justin Robinson might fit this description better than anyone. He handles the ball well and always seems to come up with a clutch shot.
Scott Machado can flat-out play, and Derek Needham is one of the best scorers in the conference, not to mention he’s only a sophomore.
I’d like to say I don’t count playing on a bad team against a player, but looking at my list I guess I did. We’ll call this an isolated incident. Beamon and Nelson have the scoring numbers, but they have to be doing something wrong too if their teams are only 1-8. When you are getting blown out of games, the opponent’s defense tends to soften up a little bit.
For MAAC Champ, my pick at this point is Fairfield. I know it’s easy to pick a team with a 2.5 game lead with 9 to play, but the Stags have the intangibles I haven’t seen out of any other team yet.
It starts and ends with head coach Ed Cooley. I’d put Cooley up against any other MAAC coach with the game on the line, and what he said in the press conference last week really stood out for me.
It started with a silly question, really, asking Derek Needham if he was glad he didn’t have to face 7-foot-3 Marial Dhal in the game against Canisius. Derek took the joke, but Cooley was on another level.
Without missing a beat, he made sure to let every reporter in the room know that Fairfield “isn’t afraid of anybody,” and that no matter who the opponent is they are facing, the Stags will prevail with defense and team play.
Not even LeBron James was spared in Cooley’s rant.
How many coaches would put their team against LeBron James? Coach K, Tom Izzo… maybe. But Ed Cooley? Bring ‘em on!