ROCHESTER, N.Y. (February 23, 2011) – Junior forward Simon Smith (Cranford, N.J.) was named first-team All-Empire 8 and sophomore guard Sheldon Jones (Queens, N.Y.) received a second-team nod as the Empire 8 announced its men’s basketball all-conference team on Wednesday evening. Head coach Bobby Hurley (Hoboken, N.J.) was named the Coach of the Year after leading Stevens Institute of Technology to a 12-4 Empire 8 record (19-6 overall) and second place finish in the league after being picked to place sixth in the preseason.
Smith has had his best year to date for the Ducks, scoring 13.4 points per game and pulling down 12.3 rebounds. He is seventh in the country in rebounding, totaling 308 in 25 games which easily bested the previous single-season record at Stevens (283). He averages nearly four rebounds per game more than the second-ranked player in the Empire 8 and ranks second in field goal percentage, shooting 59.8 percent from the field which is also good for 28th in the nation. Smith earned a second-team nod as a sophomore and is on pace to be the first player in program history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career. The Cranford, N.J. native also has 15 double-doubles this season which is good for 13th-best in the nation.
Jones leads the Ducks in scoring this season, averaging 15.2 points per contest. A remarkably efficient scorer, Jones has shot 53 percent from the field, 47 percent from three-point land, and 82 percent from the line. He averages 3.5 rebounds per game and has accumulated 42 assists and 20 steals for the Ducks in his 25 starts. He poured in 20 or more points for times this season, led the team in scoring on 10 different occasions, and was named the Empire 8 Player of the Week on February 15.
In his third-year as coach, Hurley has developed a young Ducks team into a contender. After going 13-13 in his first season, Stevens was 18-9 and 10-6 in the Empire 8 in 2009-10, reaching the semifinals of the conference tournament. This season, after being picked to finish sixth in the league, Hurley has guided the Ducks to the No. 2 seed in the Empire 8 Championship, a 19-6 overall record, and 12-4 league ledger. Stevens also had win streaks of seven and eight games this season.
Senior center Phil Barera (Belmont, Mass.) of Ithaca College was named the Empire 8 Player of the Year and freshman forward Jared Suderly (Newport, N.Y.) of Hartwick College was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year.
The Ducks will host Hartwick College on Friday in the conference tournament semifinals at 8 p.m. in the Canavan Arena. Stevens defeated the Hawks 72-57 on Tuesday, February 15 in Hoboken, avenging an 82-78 loss in mid-January. Tickets are $4 for adults and children under 12 are free. For those unable to make the trip, all the action can be seen live athttp://stevens.nmtvsports.com.