ALBANY - The 2008-09 Daktronics NCAA Division II men's basketball All-East Region squad has a familiar feel to it with five players making an encore appearance, including four juniors. The East Regional Player of the Year was a second-team pick last season. He is joined on the first-team by two more juniors and a pair of seniors. Sports Information Directors throughout the East Region conducted the voting.
Junior forward Laurence Ekperigin (Cortlandt Manor, NY) from Le Moyne College has been named the Daktronics Regional Player of the Year, the first junior to be so honored since Stacey Moragne of UMass Lowell in 2004-05. He is joined on the first team by C.W. Post senior guard Jonathan Schmidt (Centereach, NY), who also garnered first-team accolades a year ago, and Merrimack junior guard Darren Duncan (Briarwood, NY). Bridgeport senior forward Teairez Stennis (St. Louis, MO) and junior guard Jason Westrol (Brielle, NJ) of Bentley comprise the remainder of the first team.
Ekperigin is the first Le Moyne men's basketball player to be selected as the Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year. A two-time first-team All-League selection, he is third in the NE-10 in scoring (18.3), first in rebounding (11.4) and second in blocks (81). Ekperigin also stands second in the country in rebounding and seventh in blocks, and has 21 "double-doubles" to his credit, the most in all of NCAA Division II. Ekperigin has already tallied 1,360 career points and 831 rebounds, and is one of a mere four player's in Le Moyne's 61-year history to record 1,300 points and 800 rebounds.
The two-time East Coast Conference Player of the Year and a Sporting News preseason first-team All-American, Schmidt is 37th in the country and paces the East Coast Conference in scoring (19.1). He has been in double-figures scoring 26 times and also paces the Pioneers in both assists (6.1) and minutes (36.9). Schmidt established himself as the school's all-time leading scorer this season, surpassing the record of 1,835 points set by Garee Bryant in 1999.
Westrol garnered first-team All-League accolades in the NE-10 after earning second-team honors last season. He leads the Falcons in scoring (17.7), assists (4.1), steals (2.0) and field goal percentage (51.8), and is second in rebounding (5.7). Furthermore, he is one of only two players in the NE-10 among the conference's top-10 in scoring, assists and steals. Westrol, who has helped lead the Falcons to a 90-8 record throughout the past three years, has recorded 1,299 career points, the third most by a Bentley player before his senior year. Additionally, his 172 career steals are tied for second in school history.
A finalist for the Bob Cousy award as the country's top point guard, Duncan leads the NE-10 in scoring (19.2), assists (7.6) free throws attempted (212) and free throws made (266). He is also tied for the league lead in steals (2.2) and assists-turnover ratio (2.0); and stands third in free throw percentage (79.7). Duncan, the 2006-07 NE-10 Freshman of the Year and a two-time first-team All-Conference pick, is second in the nation is assists and 35th in scoring.
Stennis is Bridgeport's leading scorer (18.7) and rebounder (8.1) and is tied for the team lead in steals (41). Stennis, who was named to the ECC All-Tournament Team, is furthermore second in the league in both scoring and rebounding and is fourth in field goal percentage (53.8). A first-team All-Conference pick this season and a second-team honoree last year, Stennis has scored more than 20 points on 11 occasions and is only 100 points shy of scoring 1,000 in his two-year tenure at Bridgeport.
The second team is comprised of sophomore guard Thomas Baudinet (Watertown, CT) of Saint Anselm, C.W. Post senior guard Nick Carter (Huntington Station, NY), Bentley senior guard Lew Finnegan (Lexington, MA), junior guard Russell Frederick (Baltimore, MD) and junior forward Malcolm Ingram (Philadelphia, PA) of Philadelphia University and Caldwell senior forward Manny Perez (Egg Harbor Township, NJ). Ingram was also a second-team selection a year ago, while the other five are making their first appearance on the All-Region squad.
The 2008-09 Daktronics men's basketball All-America team will be announced in conjunction with the NCAA Division II "Elite Eight" in Springfield, MA on Tuesday, March 24. The five first-team members from each of the country's eight regions are placed on the national ballot with Division II SIDs selecting first, second and third-team All-America honorees.
2008-09 Daktronics NCAA Division II Men's Basketball East All-Region Teams
|Laurence Ekperigin (Le Moyne)#&||Jr.||F||6-7||Cortlandt Manor, NY|
|Darren Duncan (Merrimack)#||Jr.||G||5-10||Briarwood, NY|
|Jonathan Schmidt (C.W. Post)*||Sr.||G||6-0||Centereach, NY|
|Teairez Stennis (Bridgeport)||Sr.||F||6-5||St. Loiuis, MO|
|Jason Westrol (Bentley)#||Jr.||G||6-3||Brielle, NJ|
|Thomas Baudinet (Saint Anselm)||So.||G||6-3||Watertown, CT|
|Nick Carter (C.W. Post)||Sr.||G||6-2||Huntington Station, NY|
|Lew Finnegan (Bentley)||Sr.||G||6-4||Lexington, MA|
|Russell Frederick (Philadelphia)||Jr.||G||6-1||Baltimore, MD|
|Malcolm Ingram (Philadelphia)#||Jr.||F||6-4||Philadelphia, PA|
|Manny Perez (Caldwell)||Sr.||F||6-7||Egg Harbor Touwnship, NJ|
&-2008-09 Daktronics East Region Player of the Year
*-2007-08 Daktronics first-team All-Northeast selection
#-2007-08 Daktronics second-team All-Northeast selection