Monday, March 9, 2009

Take that

In one way, it's poetic justice that Binghamton and Maryland-Baltimore County are preparing to square off for the league title Saturday.

Prior to the conference tournament last week, America East announced its annual awards and conspicuous by their absences were Binghamton junior guard D.J. Rivera and UMBC freshman forward Chauncey Gilliam.

Rivera had arguably the best individual season in the league and was widely viewed as a front-runner for the player of the year award with Vermont's Marqus Blakely. Not only did Rivera not win the player of the year award, but coaches also left him off the first team all-conference team.
The snub was a result of league coaches who were upset by the NCAA's handling of his transfer from St. Joe's.

He was eligible, he played and he excelled. Don't take it out on him.

As for Gilliam? He's arguably the top rookie in the league and demonstrated that again during the tournament, playing an instrumental role in UMBC's two victories. But he was left off the all-rookie team. He competes and sometimes appears close to the edge, but that's what you want from players ... I'd think. He had great statistics, but, apparently, coaches felt they needed him to pay for a flagrant foul that was called on him during a regular season game.

The call was questionable at best. Hard to tell whether his elbow to BU's Matt Wolff was intentional, a case of good acting, or a combination of both. Nonetheless, he'd already been punished and the snub was piling on. Maybe there's another side to the story. But, as with Rivera, he played the whole season and played well.

Gilliam and Rivera get the last laugh, however, as those who punished them via the ballot enjoy some crow in front of the television.

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