Immediate Release: March 3, 2006
VESTAL, N.Y. - On the eve of the America East Men's Basketball Championship, hosted by Binghamton, three BU players have been honored as all-conference selections in a pre-tournament awards brunch held Friday morning at the Binghamton Regency.
Senior Andre Heard (Oklahoma City, Okla.) was named to the first team, senior forward Sebastian Hermenier (Rockville, Md.) earned second team honors and was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year and sophomore point guard Mike Gordon (Plainfield, N.J.) made the third team. All three players were also picked for the All-Defensive Team - a new category this season.
"The recognition of Andre, Sebastian and Mike is a real tribute to the respect that other coaches have for the talent and toughness of these three players," head coach Al Walker said.
It is the most all-conference accolades that BU has received in its five-year America East tenure.
Heard, who leads the team and ranks third in the conference in scoring (16.6 ppg.), was tabbed as one of the top five players in the conference by a vote of the coaches. A second team selection last year and preseason top five choice this winter, he lived up to his billing. Heard produced 23 double-digit scoring games and logged a team-high 36 minutes per game on the floor. He ranks second in the America East in steals (2.06/game) and eighth in free throw percentage (77%). Heard currently has the longest double-digit scoring streak in the conference (10).
Heard joins former point guard Anthony Green (2002-03) as the only Bearcats to earn first team America East honors. He also joins former center Nick Billings (2002-03, 2003-04) as the school's only two-time America East all-stars.
"Andre has been our go-to guy the entire year and his ability to put points up has given us a chance to win every close game," Walker said.
Hermenier leads the team in rebounding (6.6/game) and ranks second in scoring (11.1/game). He set school records for most free throws in a game (17) and season (107) and recorded six scoring-rebounding double-doubles this season. He ranks sixth in the league in rebounding and third in free throw percentage (85%). On the defensive end, he drew a team-best 22 charges, and his intensity and work ethic were rewarded with the Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Hermenier is the second BU player in the last four years to earn the defensive honor. Billings was the pick in 2002-03 - the first year of the award.
"Sebastian's toughness and determination is unparelled," Walker said. "To be recognized as the best defender in the America East is a great tribute to his courage, his hard work, and his team-first priority and philosophy. It's a great honor for 'Sab' to be acknowledged by coaches who believe that defense gives you a chance to win every game."
Gordon's contributions at the point were crucial to Binghamton's regular season success. In addition to leading the team and ranking second in the conference in assists (4.44/game), Gordon ranked third on the team in scoring, second in steals and fourth in rebounding. His assist-to-turnover ratio is greater than 2-to-1. In conference play, Gordon averaged 9.3 ppg. and shot a team-best 88% from the free throw line. He enters the America East tournament having converted 19 consecutive free throws.
"This is a nice honor for Mike as a sophomore to be acknowledged as one of the better players in the conference," Walker said. "Mike is just beginning an America East career that's going to be defined by his toughness, his talent and his ability to win and lead."
Binghamton (15-12) will carry the No. 2 seed into its Saturday quarterfinal matchup with No. 7 Maine. The Bearcats went 12-4 in league play and won 12 of their final 15 regular season games. The 15 wins is already the most in the program's Division I tenure.
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