WORCESTER, Mass. – With a few days of January basketball (and some end of December hoops, too) in the books, it is time to unveil this week’s Worcester Area Collegiate Basketball Association (WACBA) honor roll, including the players and rookies of the week.
Men’s Player of the Week: Jaleel Bell (Jr.), Fitchburg State (Dorchester, Mass.): Averaged 25.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest in a 2-0 week for the Falcons. Totaled a game best 28 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal in an 88-82 overtime win over Brandeis on Wednesday before adding 23 points, nine boards, one steal and four assists in an 82-74 victory against Western New England on Saturday.
Men’s Rookie of the Week: Karl Charles (Fr.), Holy Cross (Piscataway, N.J.): Totaled 15 points, six rebounds, a career-high five assists and two blocked shots in the victory over Boston University. Charles recorded a career-best 16 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists at Navy. He hit 56.3 percent of his field goals and 84.6 percent of his foul shots on the week.
Women’s Player of the Week: Ama Biney (Soph.), WPI (Worcester, MA/Holy Name): Biney averaged 14.3 points per game to help the Engineers continue their best start in program history with three victories over the holiday break. The sophomore guard helped the Engineers sweep their two contests in Florida by notching a career-high 21 points, to go along with a game-best six rebounds and three assists in the second game of the tournament with a 67-51 victory over Alvernia. Biney continued her strong play by leading all players with 17 points as WPI opened 2016 with a 59-46 road victory at Simmons.
Infiniti Thomas-Waheed (Fr.), Holy Cross (Newton, Mass): Thomas-Waheed posted her two best games as a Crusader last week in helping Holy Cross begin the Patriot League slate with a 2-0 record. She averaged 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 steals, 2.5 assists and 2.0 blocks per game, while shooting 46.9 percent from the field (15-32) and 57.1 percent from behind the arc (8-14). Against Boston University, she totaled 20 points on 7-of-19 shooting, to go along with six rebounds and a career-high five steals. Against Navy, Thomas-Waheed recorded a game- and career-high 21 points – including a personal-best 5-of-6 clip from behind the arc – to go along with three rebounds, three assists and a trio of steals.
Women’s Rookie of the Week: Kaitlyn Berkel (Fr.), Worcester State (Waterford, Conn.): Berkel led the Lancers in a 0-2 week at the Arizona Shootout in Phoenix. Berkel averaged 12 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 55 percent from the field. Berkel tacked on a game-high four blocks against Eastern Connecticut, while also registering a double-double against the Warriors with 10 rebounds and 13 points.
Robert Champion (Jr.), Holy Cross (Charlotte, N.C.): Totaled 11 points, five assists, three steals and two rebounds in the victory over Boston University. Champion led the team with game highs of 20 points and seven rebounds at Navy. He hit 46.2 percent of his three-pointers and 83.3 percent of his free throws on the week.
Kamali Bey (Soph.), Assumption (Springfield, Mass.): In a 1-2 stretch, Bey averaged 18 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 62.9 percent from the field. He posted 19 points in each game of the East Region Classic vs. Holy Family and Philadelphia, followed by a 16-point performance vs. Merrimack.
Kelly Carey (Jr.), Assumption (Long Beach, N.Y.): In a 3-0 stretch for the No. 21 Hounds, Carey averaged 13 points, three rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 40 percent from three and a perfect 7-for-7 at the line. Highlighting her performance was a 16-point, six-rebound effort in a road win at Merrimack to keep the Hounds alone in first place.
Nicole Mareiro (Jr.), Anna Maria (Acushnet, Mass.): Mareiro had a career day for the AMCATS against Clark, hitting six three-pointers en route to a 22-point performance in Anna Maria’s 65-56 comeback win. She shot 46.7 percent from the floor in the victory. On the week, Mareiro averaged 15 points per game while tallying 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Patrick Bradanese (Sr.), Anna Maria (Billerica, Mass.): Bradanese was the team’s best scorer on the week, dropping 15 points against Trinity and 23 points in a win against Pine Manor to average 19.0 points per game. He finished the week shooting 39.1 percent from the floor, alongside a 9-for-10 effort from the charity stripe.
Tyler Huffman (Sr.), Clark (West Hartford, Conn.): Huffman was huge for the Cougars as they snapped an eight game losing streak by winning both of their contests in the first-ever Clark Alumni Holiday Invitational. In the Cougars’ 99-94 double-overtime win over Wentworth, Huffman hit the game-tying three-pointer as time expired to force a second overtime and he scored nine of his 12 points after regulation. Then, in a 63-58 win over Roger Williams, Huffman recorded a game-high 19 points including going a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line as the Scarlet and White won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Luca McCormic (Fr.), Clark (Bradenton, Fla.): In a pair of wins at the first-ever Clark Holiday Invitational, McCormick was extremely efficient, scoring 17 points per game as the Cougars went 2-0. He pumped in 20 points in just 24 minutes in the Scarlet and White’s 99-94 double-overtime win over Wentworth. Then coming off the bench, he posted 14 points – all in the second half as Clark held on for a 63-58 win over Roger Williams. In the two contests, McCormick shot 61 percent from the field (11-for-18) and 80 percent from the charity stripe (8-for-10), while also averaging 4.5 rebounds per game.
Paul Brooks (Jr.), Worcester State (Arlington, Mass.): Brooks averaged 13 points, 9.3 rebounds, and six blocks in a 3-0 week for the Lancers. Brooks registered a double-double in the 61-58 win over Roger Williams, and then was just one rebound shy of another in the 81-66 victory over Wentworth. Brooks met the Worcester State all-time record for blocks in a single game with eight on Saturday (vs. Gordon) – this is his second time matching this record. Brooks shot 59.4 percent from the field and was named to the 2015 Clark Alumni Holiday Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Alex Santos (Fr.), Worcester State (Lawrence, Mass.): Santos averaged 16.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in a 3-0 week for the Lancers. Santos went a stunning 80% (4-5) from 3-point range in the 81-66 win over Wentworth on Wednesday, as Worcester State overall drained 13 3-pointers (one short of the school record). Overall this week, Santos shot 41.5% (17-41) from the field, and 42.3% (11-26) from 3-point range.
Clyde Niba (Sr.), WPI (Atlanta, Ga.): Niba averaged 13.5 points and nine rebounds as the Engineers closed out the non-conference portion of their schedule with a pair of tough road victories last week. The senior led all scorers with 20 points, including four 3-pointers, and added eight rebounds as WPI defeated 2015 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 participant Bates. Niba then grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds to go along with seven points as the nationally-ranked Crimson and Gray handed previously undefeated Eastern Nazarene its first loss 67-65 on a buzzer-beater.