2007 NESCAC Men's Basketball All-Conference Teams Announced

Amherst's Olson Grabs Player of the Year Honors

 

HADLEY, Mass. - Spurred by a record-setting year, Amherst junior guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, Calif.) has been named the 2007 NESCAC Men's Basketball Player of the Year as determined by the conference coaches. Olson helped the Lord Jeffs earn 23 consecutive victories this season, the most in program history, along with a 25-2 overall record and a first place finish in the NESCAC standings. Olson is the third Amherst player to receive the conference's top honor in the last five years and the first guard to come away with the award since Trinity's Colin Tabb earned the honor in 2002.

Olson, who was Co-Rookie of the Year in 2005, also received NESCAC All-Conference First Team recognition after earning a spot on the Second Team a year ago. Starting every game so far this season for the Jeffs, Olson currently ranks third among his teammates in scoring with 10.4 points per game while shooting 44.9-percent (102-for-227) from the floor and 83.3-percent (35-42) from the free throw line. Olson has led the Jeffs in scoring on only two occasions this season, however his team-high 17-point second half performance during the quarterfinals of the 2007 NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship helped rally his squad from a six-point halftime deficit and deny an upset bid by Bates for a 72-68 win. Olson's unselfishness has proved to be one of his greatest assets this season, accumulating a program-best 200 assists heading into this weekend's NCAA Tournament action, breaking the previous record of 179 he set during the 2005-06 campaign. As good as he has been at dishing the basketball this season, currently averaging 7.41 assists per game to lead the league and rank fifth nationally, Olson has also been equally great at protecting the ball, turning it over less than three times every contest for a NESCAC-best assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.81.

Joining Olson on the NESCAC All-Conference First Team is senior teammate Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, Minn.), one of four members on this year's First Team that received Second Team accolades in 2006. Wheeler leads Amherst in scoring this season with 13.8 points per game and is third in rebounding, averaging 3.8 boards. Through 27 games, the senior forward has hit over 50-percent of his shots (138-275, .502) and has connected on roughly 42-percent of his three-point attempts (53-126). Wheeler scored a career-high 28 points against Wesleyan on Feb. 3, as he has led a deep Jeff squad in scoring on 10 different occasions this year.

After receiving All-NESCAC Second Team honors the last two years, Bates senior teammates Zak Ray (Bangor, Maine) and Rob Stockwell (Temple, N.H.) moved up to the First Team in their final season in the NESCAC. The tandem combined to lead the Bobcats to an 11-0 start this season, the best in program history, while achieving a 75-29 record over their four years in Lewiston. Stockwell led the Bobcats in scoring and rebounding this year, averaging 15.9 points to tie the career mark he set during his sophomore season while grabbing a league-leading 9.0 rebounds per game. Stockwell posted game highs in both points and rebounds during seven of Bates' 25 games this year. Ray, the 2004 NESCAC Co-Rookie of the Year, followed Stockwell in scoring with 12.7 points per game and was second only to Olson in the conference in assists, averaging 5.84 per contest. Ray finished the season by leading the Bobcats in scoring in seven of their last eight games, garnering a season-best 26 points against Colby on Feb. 9. Ray also earned Defensive Player of the Year honors as he led the league in steals, grabbing on average 2.56 per game.

Rounding out the NESCAC All-Conference First Team is Colby senior point guard Nick Farrell (Aspen, Colo.), who earned All-NESCAC honors for the first time in his tenure at Colby. Farrell had a career year while helping the Mules reach the semifinals of the NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship for the first time since 2001, leading the league in scoring with a personal-best average of 19.0 points while starting all 26 games. Farrell also led the conference in three-point field goals per game at 3.73, knocking down a season-high nine against Maine Maritime (9-15) on Jan. 9. Farrell paced the Mules in scoring on 13 different occasions this season, netting a career-high 39 points in a victory over Bowdoin on Feb. 3.

Tufts sophomore forward Jon Pierce (Belmont, Mass.) was honored as the NESCAC Rookie of the Year for the 2006-07 season. In only his first season with the Jumbos, Pierce led his squad in scoring off the bench with 16.5 points through 24 games, third among all players in the Conference this season. Pierce also contributed 5.3 rebounds per game and shot 51.7-percent (140-271) from the floor. He led the Jumbos on the score sheet in 13 games this season, collecting a career-high 26 points in three different games.

Williams head coach Dave Paulsen was the choice among the coaches, earning NESCAC Coach of the Year for the third time in the last five years (2003, 2004). Paulsen has guided the Ephs to a 16-11 record so far this season, including an 8-2 run over the Ephs' last 10 games and the 2007 NESCAC Men's Basketball crown, Williams' third conference title.

2006-07 NESCAC Men's Basketball All-Conference

  First Team School  Yr.  Hometown 
G    Nick Farrell Colby Sr. Aspen, Colo.
G Andrew Olson Amherst Jr. San Diego, Calif.
G Zak Ray Bates Sr. Bangor, Maine
F Rob Stockwell Bates Sr. Temple, N.H.
F Dan Wheeler Amherst    Sr. Bloomington, Minn.
         
  Second Team School  Yr.  Hometown 
G Kino Clarke Trinity Sr. Brooklyn, N.Y.
G Pat Martin Trinity Sr. Springfield, Mass.
G Chris Shalvoy Williams So. Rochester, N.Y.
C Russ Martin Trinity Jr. East Longmeadow, Mass.
F Jake Weitzen Tufts Jr. New York, N.Y.
         
  Player of the Year      
G Andrew Olson Amherst Jr. San Diego, Calif.
         
  Defensive Player of the Year      
G Zak Ray Bates Sr. Bangor, Maine
         
  Rookie of the Year      
F Jon Pierce Tufts So. Belmont, Mass.
         
  Coach of the Year      
  Dave Paulsen Williams