Men’s College Basketball
Rider’s Thompson MAAC Player of the Year, Defensive Player of Year
Dempsey MAAC Coach of the Year
Green, Hickman All-Academic
ALBANY, NY—The Broncs collected three of the top awards at the 2008 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Awards Dinner Thursday evening, with senior Jason Thompson (Mt. Laurel/Lenape) being named both the MAAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and Tommy Dempsey receiving Coach of the Year.
Thompson, who also won the Defensive Player of the Year award last season, is Rider’s second MAAC Player of the Year, the first being Rider Hall of Famer Mario Porter in 2002. "I would like to thank the MAAC for this award and say thank you to the coaches who voted for me," Thompson said. "I want to thank my coach and congratulate him on being named coach of the year and also my teammates who came here to support me."
Seniors Joel Green (
A First Team All-District 3 selection by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and a First Team All-MAAC selection for the second straight year, Thompson leads the MAAC in rebounding (11.8) and blocks (2.8), is second in scoring (20.2), sixth in field goal percentage (.555) and minutes (34.4) and 12th in steals (1.2). Nationally, Thompson ranks second in rebounding, 15th in blocks and 32nd in scoring. "I want to thank my parents for always pushing me and for putting the ball in my hands since day one," Thompson said. "All of the hard work I put in since my rookie season paid off. I want to thank everyone for supporting me."
Dempsey was the interim head coach in 2006 when the Broncs won just eight games, and in his first year as head coach doubled that number to 16 wins last year. This season Rider was picked to finish fourth and finished tied for first, winning a team-record 21 regular season games. The only other time Rider won 21 games was 1994 and that included three wins in post-season. "This award means a lot to me because it is voted on by the other coaches," Dempsey said. "I appreciate them voting for me."
Other Broncs who earned conference Player of the Year honors include Rider Hall of Famer Darrick Suber, the Northeast Conference Player of the Year in 1993, and Ron Simpson, the 1987 co-Player of the Year in the East Coast Conference.
Rider Director of Athletics Don Harnum was the MAAC Coach of the Year in 2002, and Rider Hall of Famer Kevin Bannon was twice the NEC Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1994."I want to thank Don Harnum our athletic director for the opportunity to take over this program when he took over as athletic director," Dempsey said. "He has taught me how to run a program. He is a great mentor and a great friend. I would also like to thank my assistant coaches; they take the kids that we get and make them better every day and my assistants do a great job. It should say coaches of the year – it is definitely a staff award."
Co-Champs of the MAAC regular season with Siena (19-10, 13-5 MAAC), Rider (21-9, 13-5 MAAC) is the second seed in the conference Championship Tournament and will play Saturday at 7:30 pm against either the seventh seed, Iona (12-19, 8-10), or the tenth seed, Canisius (5-24, 2-16).