FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

 

April 28, 2011

 

 

 

2010-11 Rhode Island College
Men’s Basketball Season Summary
(21-8 Overall; 11-3 in the Little East Conference)
Little East Conference Regular Season Co-Champions
Little East Conference Tournament Champions
NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

 

Providence, RI—Head Coach Bob Walsh’s (Career record: 135-43, .758) team finished the 2010-11 season with a 21-8 overall record and an 11-3 (first place tie) mark in the Little East Conference. The Anchormen reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Div. III Tournament for the third time in five years, with the season coming to an end in a 78-74 loss to Amherst in the sectional round on March 11.

 

Rhode Island College shared the 2011 Little East Conference Regular Season Championship with Western Connecticut, marking the program’s fifth regular season championship in the past seven years (2010, ’09, ’07, ’05). After a first-round bye, Rhode Island College defeated Keene State (102-92 2OT) on Feb. 25 and then defeated Eastern Connecticut (62-49) on Feb. 26 to win the Little East Tournament title for the fourth time in the last five years (2010, ’08, ’07). The win gave RIC an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament-the Anchormen’s fifth straight appearance in the Big Dance. Rhode Island College was one of only five programs in the nation to qualify for the NCAAs in each of the past five seasons.

 

 

 

Senior forward Darius Debnam (Dorchester, MA) closed out his four-year career having played in 107 games, starting 57 of them. He totaled 504 points, 497 rebounds, 42 assists, 77 steals and 64 blocks. Debnam averaged 4.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for his career.

 

As a senior in 2010-11, Debnam played in 25 games, starting 21 of them. He averaged 4.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.7 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. 

 

A crowning achievement in Debnam's career came in his team's, 71-63, victory over Oswego State on March 5 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. With starting center Mike Akinrola unavailable due to an injury, Debnam filled in admirably, scoring a season-high 13 points to go along with seven rebounds to lift his team to its second consecutive Sweet 16. Debnam, who was fourth on the team in rebounding, grabbed a season-high 13 caroms in a Jan. 20 victory over Emmanuel. He dished out a season-high three assists and swiped a season-high four steals in a win over Bridgewater State on Nov. 23. Debnam had three blocks in the Little East Championship Game win over Eastern Connecticut.

 

As a junior in 2009-10, Debnam played in 30 games, starting 27 of them. Debnam averaged 7.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game. He ranked first on the team in rebounds. Debnam had season-highs of 16 points at Southern Maine on Feb. 13, 14 rebounds vs. UMass Boston on Dec. 12 and four steals at Eastern Connecticut on Dec. 5.

 

            As a sophomore in 2008-09, Debnam played in 25 games, starting seven of them. He averaged 4.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 steals per game. Debnam had season-highs of 13 points and four steals at Salve Regina on Jan. 6, 12 rebounds twice, once at UMass Dartmouth on Jan. 20 and again at Eastern Connecticut on Jan. 17, and three blocks at UMass Boston on Dec. 6.

 

            As a freshman in 2007-08, Debnam played in 27 games, starting two of them. He averaged 2.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Debnam scored a season-high 10 points at UMass Boston on Jan. 26 and grabbed 10 rebounds vs. Richard Stockton on Mar. 8.

 

Debnam is a computer science major and 2007 graduate of Minuteman Regional High School.

 

Senior guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) closed out his four-year career having played in 97 games, starting 72 of them. He totaled 1,041 points, 255 rebounds, 420 assists and 94 steals. Gray averaged 10.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 0.9 steals per game for his career. He is third all-time in program history in assists.

 

As a senior in 2010-11, Gray was named Second Team All-Little East for the second consecutive year. Gray appeared in 20 games, starting 19 of them. He averaged 13.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Gray scored a season-high 22 points on three occasions, including the final game of his career vs. Amherst in the sectional round of the NCAA Tournament. He achieved season-highs with seven rebounds and 12 assists vs. Roger Williams on Jan. 5. Gray grabbed four steals twice, vs. Colby on Jan. 13 and UMass Boston on Jan. 29. He was named the Little East Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week once on the season.

 

As a junior in 2009-10, Gray was named Second Team All-Little East. He played in 20 games, starting 16 of them. He averaged 14.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 0.8 steals per game. He ranked second on the team in scoring and first in assists. Gray had season-highs of 29 points at Eastern Connecticut on Dec. 5, nine assists vs. Roger Williams on Nov. 28 and five rebounds and two steals on multiple occasions. He was named the LEC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, LEC Player of the Week once and was named to the LEC Honor Roll once.

 

As a sophomore in 2008-09, Gray was named First Team All-Little East. He played in 29 games, starting 28 of them. He averaged 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Gray had season-highs of 19 points vs. Keene State on Feb. 27, 11 assists at Keene State on Jan. 31, seven rebounds at Johnson and Wales on Dec. 2 and three steals at UMass Dartmouth on Jan. 20.

 

As a freshman in 2007-08, Gray was named to the Little East Conference’s All-Rookie Team. He played in 28 games, starting nine of them. Gray averaged 6.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He scored a season-high 13 points at Plymouth State on Jan. 12, grabbed six rebounds vs. UMass Dartmouth on Jan. 22, handed out seven assists vs. Johnson & Wales on Dec. 4 and logged two steals on several occasions.

 

            Gray is a sociology major with a minor in communications and a 2007 graduate of St. Raphael Academy. 

 

Debnam and Gray enter the history books as the only two players in program history to play in four consecutive NCAA tournaments. Their teams tallied a cumulative record of 89-29 (.754), a four-year stretch bettered only by the mostly overlapping run beginning in 2006-07 and concluding last season (95-25, .791). They teamed up to win five NCAA tournament games, two NCAA regionals (Middlebury, 2010; Oswego, 2011), nine Little East Tournament games, three Little East Tournament Championships and three Little East Regular Season Championships. 

 

Senior forward Carl Lee (Warwick, RI) closed out his two-year career as an Anchorman having played in 53 games, starting 20 of them. He totaled 535 points, 279 rebounds, 53 assists, 60 steals and 46 blocks. Lee averaged 10.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game for his career.

 

As a senior in 2010-11, Lee played in 25 games, starting nine of them. He averaged 10.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Lee's most dominant performance came on a season-high scoring night of 24 points to go along with eight rebounds in a Feb. 15 win over UMass Dartmouth. Lee posted a double-double of 15 points and a season-high 12 rebounds in RIC's epic double overtime victory over archrival Keene State in the Little East Tournament Semifinals. Lee posted 13 double-digit scoring nights on the season. He dished out a season-high three assists on four occasions and was credited with four steals in a win over Eastern Connecticut on Dec. 4.

 

As a junior in 2009-10, he played in 28 games, starting 11 of them. Lee averaged 9.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.0 block and 1.2 steals per game. He ranked first on the team in blocks, was second in rebounds and was fourth in scoring. Lee had season-highs of 22 points at Amherst on Feb. 2, 16 rebounds at Bridgewater State on Nov. 24, four steals vs. Brandeis and three blocks on multiple occasions.

 

As a sophomore at the Community College of Rhode Island in 2008-09, Lee played in 32 games, averaging 14.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He was named First Team All-Region and was MVP of the Region XXI All-Star Game.

 

            As a freshman at the Community College of Rhode Island in 2007-08, Lee played in 31 games, averaging 7.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game. His Knights went on to win the Region XXI championship.

 

Lee is a public relations major with a minor in business management. He is a 2006 graduate of Toll Gate High School.

 

Senior guard Nick Manson (Newport, RI) closed out his three-year career as an Anchorman having played in 62 games, starting 47 of them. He totaled 466 points, 121 rebounds, 41 assists and 31 steals. Manson averaged 7.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.5 steals per game for his career.

 

As a senior in 2010-11, Manson played in all 29 games, starting 26 of them. He averaged 9.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 0.8 steals per game. Manson led the team in three-point baskets (70). He tallied 13 double-digit scoring games over the course of the season, highlighted by a 22-point effort in the regular season finale victory at Plymouth State on Feb. 19, which secured homecourt advantage for the Anchormen in the 2011 Little East Tournament. Manson also had a season-high six rebounds against Western Connecticut on Jan. 18. He dished out a season-high three assists twice and made three steals on three occasions.

 

As a junior in 2009-10, Manson played in 26 games, starting 21 of them. Manson averaged 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.8 three-point field goals made per game. He led the team in three-point field goals made (46) and attempted (112). Manson had season-highs of 18 points at Emmanuel on Jan. 21, seven rebounds twice, once at Becker on Jan. 6 and again vs. Southern Maine on Jan. 12 and four three-point field goals made on multiple occasions.

 

As a sophomore in 2008-09, played in seven games. He averaged 1.1 points and 0.3 rebounds per game. Manson had a season-high of three points vs. Keene State on Feb. 27.

 

Manson is an education major and a 2006 graduate of Rogers High School.  Manson walked on to the team after transferring from Endicott College, where he spent two years, but did not play basketball.

 

Junior center Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket, RI) was named First Team All-Little East, Second Team All-ECAC, the Little East Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and team MVP. He played in 28 games, starting all of them. Akinrola averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists, and 0.4 steals per game. He turned in 22 double-digit scoring nights, seven games of 20 points or more and two double-doubles. Akinrola scored a season-high 26 points in a Nov. 30 win at Johnson and Wales.

 

His most significant performance came in the form of 23 points and a season-high 13 rebounds in RIC's victory over Keene State in a historic semifinal game of the 2011 Little East Tournament. In that game, Akinrola famously connected on “The Murray Center Miracle,” a buzzer-beating three-pointer off an intentionally-missed free throw to force the second overtime and eventual victory. The shot likely saved the season for the Anchormen, who would have otherwise needed a scarce at-large bid to make the NCAA Tournament. Akinrola was also named Little East Co-Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 30.

 

Junior forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) was named First Team All-Little East, Second Team All-ECAC and to the league's All-Defensive Team. He played in 29 games, starting all of them. Choice averaged 12.1 points, a team-high 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He tallied 19 double-digit scoring games, highlighted by a 24-point effort at Roger Williams on Jan. 5. He had a pair of double-doubles on the year: 12 points and a season-high 12 rebounds in a season-defining win at Western Connecticut on Feb. 8 and 15 points to go along with 11 rebounds at WPI on Dec. 9. He reached the 1,000 career-point milestone in the season-ending loss to Amherst on March 11. Choice dished out a season-high nine assists at Salve Regina on Dec. 7 and grabbed four steals in four games. He was named Little East Men’s Basketball Player of the Week once.

 

Junior guard Keith Hamilton (Queens Village, NY) played in 25 games. He averaged 1.6 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 0.4 steals per game. Hamilton posted season-highs of six points on three occasions and snagged a season-best three rebounds at Clark on Nov. 17. He swiped three steals vs. UMass Boston on Jan. 29.

 

Sophomore guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) played in 29 games, starting 12 of them. He averaged 4.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.9 steals per game. Carter cracked double-digits in scoring twice, including a season-high 11 points at UMass Dartmouth on Jan. 25. Carter's best performance of the year came in the form of a 10 point, 10-rebound double-double in a win at UMass Boston on Dec. 11. Carter posted season-highs of six assists at Johnson and Wales on Nov. 30 and four steals at Lasell on Nov. 20.

 

            Sophomore guard Ethan Gaye (Providence, RI) played in 25 games, starting one of them. He averaged 1.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 0.6 steals per game. Gaye had season-highs of seven points twice and picked up eight key rebounds in the epic, double overtime victory vs. Keene State in the Little East Tournament Semifinals. Gaye posted season bests of four assists at Western Connecticut on Feb. 8 and three steals against UMass Boston on Jan. 29.

 

            Sophomore center Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) played in 27 games. He averaged 4.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.2 steals and 1.0 block per game. Roberts cracked double digits in scoring in four games. His best performance of the year came in the form of a 17-point, 13-rebound double-double, to go along with two steals, in a Nov. 23 victory over Bridgewater State, which represented season-highs in all three categories. Roberts distributed a season-high four assists in a win over Southern Maine on Feb. 12 and five blocks in a win over Keene State on Jan. 8.

 

Freshman guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) played in 12 games. He averaged 1.3 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 0.3 steals per game. He posted season highs of four points against Southern Maine on Feb. 12 and three rebounds against Emmanuel on Jan. 20.

 

Freshman guard Kadeem Francis (White Plains, NY) played in 12 games. He averaged 1.4 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 0.1 steals per game. Francis scored a season-high eight points in a win over Southern Maine on Feb. 12 and had four rebounds in a victory over Emmanuel on Jan. 20.

 

Freshman guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) played in 14 games. Palumbo averaged 1.4 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 0.4 steals per game. He scored his season-high of five points in the NCAA Second Round victory over Penn State-Behrend on March 4 and also grabbed three rebounds in a win over Southern Maine on Feb. 12.

 

Freshman forward Ashton Watkins (Providence, RI) played in 26 games. He averaged 4.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 0.5 steals per game. He cracked double digits in scoring three times on the season, including a season-high 11 in the epic Little East Tournament Semifinal win over Keene State. His best individual game came in the form of a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double in a Jan. 20 victory over Emmanuel, which represented his season-high in rebounds.