FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

March 3, 2009

 

BOBBY BAILEY NAMED LITTLE EAST
 DEFENSIVE & CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR;
BOB WALSH NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR
Five Anchormen Garner End of Season Awards

Providence, RI-The Little East Conference named Rhode Island College senior guard Bobby Bailey (Fall River, MA) the 2009 Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, the Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Little East. Head Coach Bob Walsh was named the Coach of the Year and four other Anchormen received accolades.

 

Bailey, who shared the Player of the Year honors with Keene State senior forward Tyler Kathan, has played in 22 games, starting 20 of them. He is averaging 11.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Bailey scored a season-high 21 points vs. Western Connecticut on Jan. 27, grabbed 13 rebounds vs. UMass Dartmouth on Feb. 28, dished out six assists vs. Salve Regina on Jan. 6 and swiped four steals twice. It is the third consecutive season Bailey has named to the league’s All-Defensive Team. He garnered Second Team All-LEC honors in 2008 and 2007. He is the first Anchorman to be named Player of the Year since Alex Butler won it three consecutive years from 1995-97.

 

 

 Senior Guard Bobby Bailey (photo by Autumnstudios.com)

 

“Bobby is the best all-around player in the league and his ability to affect a game in so many ways is a huge reason why we won the league title,” Head Coach Bob Walsh said. “He guards the best player on the other team regardless of position and spearheaded our No.1-ranked defense. As a Dean's List student and the Player of the Year in our league, he'll be remembered as one of the best student-athletes to ever wear a RIC uniform.”

 

Walsh wins the Little East Coach of the Year award for the second time in three years (2007). So far this winter, Walsh has led RIC to its third Little East Conference Regular Season Championship, and second in three years, and to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight campaign. The Anchormen established a new program record with 14 consecutive wins and also recorded the most league wins (13-1) in school history. In three-plus seasons on the sideline, he has totaled a 92-26 record.

 

 

 Head Men's Basketball Coach Bob Walsh (photo by Autumnstudios.com)

 

“This award is really a program award, and it represents so many things: the support of the administration and our athletic department staff, the incredible hard work of my two assistant coaches and the commitment, sacrifice and ability of all of our players,” Walsh said. “Given the caliber of coaches in the Little East, it is truly special to win this award.”

 

Senior guard Tirrell Hill (Bronx, NY) was named First Team All-Little East for the second consecutive season. He has played in 27 games, starting all of them. Hill is averaging 11.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He scored a season-high 22 points vs. Bridgewater State on Nov. 25, grabbed five rebounds twice, dished out eight assists and recorded five steals vs. Manhattanville on Nov. 18.

 

 

 Senior Guard Tirrell Hill (photo by Autumnstudios.com)

 

“Tirrell has been the heart and soul of our team for the last two years,” Coach Walsh said. “He sets the tone for how hard we compete and his fearless approach has defined our basketball team every day in practice. To be named First Team All-League for the second straight year is a tremendous accomplishment.”

 

Sophomore guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) was named First Team All-Little East. He has played in 28 games, starting 27 of them. Gray is averaging 11.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He scored a season-high 19 points vs. Keene State on Feb. 27, grabbed seven rebounds vs. Johnson & Wales on Dec. 2, dished out 11 assists at Keene State on Jan. 31 and recorded three steals on three separate occasions. He was named to the Little East’s All-Rookie Team in 2008.

 

 

 Sophomore Guard Antone Gray (photo by Autumnstudios.com)

 

“Antone has been the engine that makes us go on offense and is the best point guard in our league,” Coach Walsh said. “He makes everyone on the floor better and is a huge key to our balanced offense that led us to the league championship and the best league record in school history.”

 

Senior forward Kaseem Johnson (New Haven, CT) was named Second Team All-Little East for the second consecutive season. He has played in 23 games, starting 18 of them. Johnson is averaging 8.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He scored a season-high 15 points twice, grabbed 12 rebounds vs. UMass Dartmouth on Feb. 10 and swiped three steals vs. UMass Boston on Dec. 6.

 

 

 Senior Forward Kaseem Johnson (photo by Autumnstudios.com)

 

“Kaseem has a great ability to finish plays at the rim at both ends of the floor,” Coach Walsh said. “As one of the best rebounders in the league and a great defender, he does so many little things that allows us to be successful. Finishing his career with consecutive all-league seasons is a great accomplishment.”

 

Freshman forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) was named to the Little East All-Rookie Team. He has played in 28 games, starting 13 of them. Choice is averaging 9.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. He scored a season-high 22 points vs. UMass Dartmouth on Jan. 20, registered 10 rebounds vs. Keene State on Dec. 13, handed out four assists vs. Salve Regina on Jan. 6 and swiped two steals on several occasions.

 

 

 Freshman Forward Mason Choice (photo by Autumnstudios.com)

 

“Mason was one of our best players throughout the year and his toughness and consistency make it hard to believe this was his first year of college basketball,” Coach Walsh said. “He shot 65 percent from the field in our league, which is an amazing accomplishment. His natural ability to make big plays has added a new dimension to our team.”

 

The NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Committee selected Rhode Island College as one of the 12 national sites to host four teams in first and second round competition of the 2009 NCAA Tournament on March 6-7. Joining the Anchormen at The Murray Center will be MIT, the University of New England, and Farmingdale State

 

Rhode Island College (23-5) will host the MIT Engineers (20-8) in the first game (6 p.m.), while the University of New England Nor’easters (24-4) will face the Farmingdale State Rams (24-3) in the nightcap (8 p.m.) on Friday, Mar. 6. The winners will advance to the second round contest the following evening at 7 p.m.

 

Rhode Island College is making its third straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Anchormen reached the Elite Eight in 2007 and won in the first round last winter. The men’s basketball team has compiled a 44-7 record in LEC games over the last three years, a 29-5 mark in league games in the past two years, a 9-2 LEC Tournament record over the last four years, a 4-2 NCAA Tournament mark and a15-5 record in postseason play.

 

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