2005 All Hoop Time Team

With great fanfare, the Patriot League will announce its all-league teams during a conference call tomorrow.

They used to do it at the banquet the night before the tournament, but with the new pod setup, that won't work, so they will do it by phone.

Rather than await the results of their stats based popularity poll, then criticize the omissions, we have decided to jump the gun and name our own squad.

Inevitably, our choices will differ from the league's official picks. Part of that has to do with our selection criteria.

Here is how our team has been selected. We began by choosing the starting five we'd most like to put on the floor. That meant paying attention to positions. No four guard lineups allowed. We then proceeded to fill out the rest of our 15-man roster. Again, we looked for balance. Depth at all positions was essential.

Are these the 15 best players in the league. Probably not. To list the top 15 would mean to put together a team of smallish guards and few big men. Face it, this is a guards' league.

Doing it our way meant leaving some very good players off the list. That is OK. Somebody else will say nice things about guys like Joe Knight and Jason Thomas. We're not taking anything away from the guys we left off our roster. You could probably take the guards we omitted, put them together with some of the frontcourt types we shunned, and give our team a decent game (but our team would win 8 out of 10).


Point guard: Probably our toughest choice on the starting five. Holy Cross' Torey Thomas is outstanding. He is top 5 in assists (3.58 per) and steals (1.96 and ranks first in assists-turnovers ratio (1.94).

Bucknell's Abe Badmus has numbers that are almost identical -- 3.15 assists, 2.08 steals and is No. 2 is assists-turnovers ratio at 1.44.

We will give the start to Badmus though. Here is why: Badmus has started every game for the Bison. Thomas has spent much of the season coming off the bench for HC. We have been very impressed with the way Thomas handled losing his starting job to freshman Pat Doherty after being injured in the middle of the season. Our biggest reason for starting Badmus is we know Thomas can handle sharing time off the bench.

Besides, as long as we have both on our roster, nobody else in the league will come close at the point. Sure Joe Knight scores more. But we have plenty of firepower. We want these two for their unselfish play and tenacious defense.

Shooting Guard: Kevin Hamilton of Holy Cross is an easy choice here. Sure many will argue for American's Andre Ingram, who leads the league in scoring at 15.7 per. But Hamilton is right behind him at 15.2 ppg, and we will gladly trade the half-a-point of offense for what K-Ham brings to the table beyond his points production, like 5.9 rebounds, 3 assists and a league leading 3 steals per game. Hamilton's assists to turnover ratio of 1.07 rivals the league's best point guards and he is also the league's top defensive rebounder. If we gave a Player of the Year award, it would likely go to Hamilton.

Small Forward: Charles Lee of Bucknell is an undersized three-man at 6-3, but he plays bigger and has easily been the top swingman in the league. Tenth in scoring (12.5 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (6.1 per), Lee is a tough defender and his ability to shoot the three (42.2 percent from the arc) and dribble penetrate makes him a dangerous man.

Power Forward: Andrew Zidar of Colgate is an undersized center for the Raiders. For us, he gets to play his natural position. A dependable scorer (12.5 per) and the league's number three rebounder (6.6 per), Zidar can stretch the floor with his ability to shoot the three and is also a deft passer, as evidenced by his 2.37 assists per game, tops among all big men.

Center: Probably the easiest decision in making out our lineup is Bucknell's 6-11 Chris McNaughton at center. The league's field goal percentage leader (57.5 percent) would score well above his 12.4 points per game average if opposing teams played straight man-to-man on him. McNaughton has shown in non-conference play that he can score against quality big men. There is not a center in the league that can guard him alone. He also grabs almost five rebounds a game.


In addition to Thomas and Ingram, three other guards make our team. Alvin Reed of Colgate can score (13.1 ppg), dish (3.3 assists) and defend (1.15 steals). Bucknell's Kevin Bettencourt can shoot the three, averaging 2.39 per game (second in the league) and is an 89 percent free throw shooter. That is important because Bettencourt has a knack for getting to the line. Among the league leaders in assists (2.21 per) and steals (1.68), Bettencourt is also one of the league's top defenders.

Our other guard is Keith Simmons of Holy Cross, who would be hands down the Sixth Man of the Year if we believed in individual awards. Simmons averages 12.6 points off the bench and his 52 percent field goal shooting is tops among the league's guards. Simmons' 43.7 percent mark from three-point range is second in the league.

Swingmen are in short supply in the league. Most guys playing the three are actually guards, with many true three-men forced to play the four. One prime example is Lafayette's Jamaal Douglas, a wide 6-6 sophomore who has been playing the four and even the five at times for the Leopards. Douglas averages almost 10 points per game and leads the league in rebounding (7 per). His 49.5 field goal percentage is sixth in the league and as he showed Saturday against Lehigh, his range extends to the arc.

Our other three on the bench is Lehigh's Nick Monserez, a 6-5 senior with 3-point range (40-percent) who has averaged 9 ppg for a Lehigh team that does not score a lot of points and has two guards-- Olivero and Knight-- who take most of the team's shots. Monserez is also a decent rebounder at 4.9 per.

Rounding out our roster are a pair of Holy Cross frontcourt men, John Hurley and 6-11 Nate Lufkin, and Navy's Matt Fannin.

Hurley, a 6-8 senior, is as good, if not better, than anybody starting at his position (the four) in the league. At 215 pounds, he does not have the widest body. But if he did, he would probably be playing for a major. Hurley only averages 7.8 points per game, but Holy Cross doesn't ask him to carry much of the scoring load. The nine games he reached double figures, including against Boston College, Vermont, American and Bucknell, shows he is capable of contributing offense when called upon. But Hurley makes this team because of his 6 rebounds per game, including 3 per on the offensive glass, second in the league, and his defense.

Lufkin's stats probably don't rank him with the rest of this roster. Aside from blocked shots, where he ranks first, he is not among the leaders in many categories. But his defense and his solid 4.6 rebounds per game make him our choice to back up McNaughton. In other words, he is the second best of a thin crop of five men in the league.

Fannin, at 6-7, is not the biggest power forward, but his 6.8 rebounds are among the tops in the league and his 3.08 offensive rebounds also leads the conference. A 45.5 percent shooter, Fannin averages 10.5 points per game.

Last guys cut: Laramie Mergerson, 6-8 Sr., Navy; Greg Kinsey, 6-4 Sr. Holy Cross; Sean Knitter, 6-8 Sr., Lafayette (if only he could play D); Jason Thomas, 6-3 Sr., American; Joe Knight, 6-1 Jr., Lehigh; Jose Olivero, 6-2 So., Lehigh.

Point: Corey Johnson, Navy
Shooting Guard: John Griffin, Bucknell
Swingman: Kyle Roemer, Colgate
Power forward: Darren Mastropaolo
Center: Tim Clifford, Holy Cross
Honorable mentions: Pat Doherty, Holy Cross (our Most Valuable Rookie, for the way he filled in after Thomas got hurt); Greg Sprink, Navy; Bilal Abdullah, Lafayette.

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