February 21, 2012
Contact: Jay Williams, 212-804-7478
New York, N.Y. - Junior forward AJ Matthews (Brooklyn, N.Y./Van Arsdale), who has been a dominant force for Farmingdale State this season, earned Player of the Year honors in the Skyline Conference to headline the All-Conference team, selected by the league's 10 head coaches.
First team selections include Chris Jimenez and Olivier Laurent of regular-season champion St. Joseph's – L.I., Carlos Valdez of Mount Saint Mary, Tevon McNair of Old Westbury, and Joshua Smith of Farmingdale State. The second team consists of Trey Black of St. Joseph's – L.I., Kerel Mitchell of Old Westbury, Mike McSloy of Maritime, Shaquille Cunningham of Mount Saint Vincent, and Dovie Hoffman of Yeshiva. NYU-Poly's Evan Azzam claims the Rookie of the Year award, while John Mateyko of St. Joseph's-L.I. earns Coach of the Year accolades. The Team Sportsmanship Award goes to Yeshiva.
Matthews, a 7-0, 215-pound junior from Brooklyn, N.Y., has enjoyed one of the best seasons in Skyline history, as he has double-doubles in each of his 23 games. He leads the league in scoring (22.1), rebounding (16.0), blocks (4.0), and field goal percentage (62.8), while leading his team to a 16-2 Skyline mark and 20-5 overall. He currently leads Division III in double-doubles and rebounding, is 3rd in blocks, 5th in FG pct., and 11th in scoring.
Jimenez and Laurent form a potent senior backcourt tandem which has propelled the Golden Eagles to a 17-1 league mark and 21-3 overall. The 6-0 Jimenez contributes 14.0 ppg, leads the league in both steals (2.6) and 3-pt. FG made (3.1), where he ranks 16th and 19th nationally. The 6-2 Laurent is among the league's leaders in scoring (5th - 15.9) and assists (4th-4.1), while shooting at a 46.2% clip. Valdez, 6-7, 220-pound senior forward, has put together a huge year for the Knights (14-4, 19-6), as he is 5th in the Skyline scoring race (15.2) and 2nd in boards (11.1) and FG pct. (59.2), ranking 10th nationally in the latter two, as well as 5th in double-doubles (17). McNair, a 6-7, 215-pound senior center, is 3rd in the league in both scoring (18.2) and rebounding (11.0), and he also ranks 30th in Division III in rebounding and FG pct. (51.6) and 31st in double-doubles (10). Smith, a 6-3 senior guard, is among the circuit's leaders in scoring (8th-15.2) and steals (4th – 2.2), while shooting 48.2% from the floor and adding 4.2 rpg.
The second team is a formidable group as well. Black, a senior guard, has been a key contributor to his team's success, with 14.9 ppg, 5.6 apg, and 2.3 spg. Mitchell, a junior guard, has poured in 16.8 ppg including 2.3 treys per game, as well as coming up with 2.2 spg. McSloy, a senior guard, scored 20 points or more in his last eight contests, finishing at 21.0 ppg (24th nationally), and led the league in FT pct. (82.0). Cunningham, a junior guard, led the Dolphins to the Skyline Tournament by averaging 14.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 3.0 apg. Hoffman, a junior forward, led Yeshiva with 14.7 ppg and 7.1 rpg.
Azzam, a 5-9 freshman guard, burst on the scene to lead the Blue Jays to an improved season. He led the team with 12.3 ppg and 36 treys, while also contributing 6.2 rpg and 1.0 spg.
Mateyko, who is in his 11th year at the helm of the St. Joseph's-L.I. program, has had his senior-laden team humming on all cylinders all year long. The nation's 13th-best scoring team (86.5 ppg) has only lost two games against Division III foes, as they lost a competitive game to Yale, and are currently ranked third in the Atlantic Region. Mateyko, who has forged a stellar 181-111 mark for the Golden Eagles, led them to the Skyline Championship and NCAA Tournament in 2009 and to the ECAC Tournament in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011.
2011-12 SKYLINE MEN'S BASKETBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
AJ Matthews - Farmingdale State - Jr. - F - Brooklyn, N.Y.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Evan Azzam - NYU-Poly - Fr. - G - Los Angeles, Calif.
COACH OF THE YEAR
John Mateyko - St. Joseph's-L.I.
TEAM SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
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* www.skylineconference.org *