NEW HAVEN, Conn. - - Records continue to be set for the Wilmington University men's basketball team this season as the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference announced its major award winner and All-Conference selections for the 2016-17 season. The Wildcats were well represented on both fronts.
Three Wildcats were named as the awards were announced, with senior guard Tyaire Ponzo-Meek being voted the CACC Player of the Year and First Team All-CACC while junior Nick Richards earned a spot on the Second Team in a vote by the league's 14 head coaches. Head Coach Dan Burke rounded out the selections by being named the CACC Coach of the Year in a vote by the league's sports information directors.
It is the first time the Wildcats have produced the conference's Player of the Year as well as the first time a head coach has been named the CACC Coach of the Year. It also marks the first time two student-athletes were voted to a First and Second Team in the same season. The Wildcats had a third team member and two honorable mention players in the 2009-10 season.
Ponzo-Meek (Wilmington, Del./Howard) led the Wildcats and finished third in the CACC in scoring 19.7 points per game, scoring in double digits in all 28 games in the regular season to extend his incredible streak to 62 consecutive games scoring 10 or more points. He plays 36.8 minutes per game so he's always on the court for the Wildcats, is third on the team in grabbing 5.4 rebounds per game and second in dishing out 3.2 assists per game. He has an outstanding 2.0 assist to turnover ratio on the season as well.
This season, Ponzo-Meek has scored 20 or more points in 14 games, including a season's best 31 points against Nyack on February 4. He went 7-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc in a game against Georgian Court before following that up with a 4-of-5 performance from long distance against Nyack. In those two games he shot 20-of-24 from the floor and was named the CACC Co-Player of the Week. Ponzo-Meek also collected his lone double-double of the season at Chestnut Hill, scoring 15 points while dishing out a career high 10 assists.
Richards (New Castle, Del./Hodgson Vo-Tech) was right behind Ponzo-Meek in scoring, pouring in 18.3 points per game to finish fifth in the CACC. He also doesn't miss much of the action for the Wildcats, playing in 34.1 minutes per game. He leads the CACC with 60 steals on the year, 43 of which have come against CACC opponents. He also leads the team in dishing out 3.3 assists per game and is the second leading rebounder on the Wildcats in securing 6.5 boards a game.
This season, Richards has scored in double digits in all but two games, including four games of 30 or more points. He set a career best with 34 points at Goldey-Beacom on February 18 to lock up a home playoff game, and scored 33 and 30 points in back-to-back games in the middle of the season as well. He leads the team with four double-doubles on the season, grabbing a season's best 14 rebounds against Holy Family on February 7. He also swiped a season's best five steals in two separate games this season, first at Felician and then again at Holy Family.
Philadelphia's Kylan Guerra was named the CACC Rookie of the Year while USciences' Flo Da-Silva earned the CACC's Defensive Player of the Year award. Georgian Court rounded out the major awards with the CACC Team Sportsmanship Award.
2016-17 CACC Men's Basketball All-Conference Awards
CACC ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM:
Nick Davidson (Bloomfield College)
Dyllon Hudson-Emory (Holy Family University)
Gerrel Irvin (Dominican College)
Tyaire Ponzo-Meek (Wilmington University)
Kaison Randolph (Philadelphia University)
CACC ALL-CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM:
Tyler Desrosiers (Post University)
Will Gregorits (University of the Sciences)
Jalen Heath (Concordia College)
Nick Richards (Wilmington University)
Terrell Spaulding (Felician University)
CACC ALL-CONFERENCE THIRD TEAM:
Jordan DeCicco (Philadelphia University)
Marcus Fleming (Bloomfield College)
Jon McGill (University of the Sciences)
Parris Ridgeway-Higgs (Goldey-Beacom College)
Riyan Williams (Goldey-Beacom College)
CACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tyaire Ponzo-Meek (Wilmington University)
CACC ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Kylan Guerra (Philadelphia University)
CACC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Flo Da-Silva (University of the Sciences)
BSN SPORTS CACC COACH OF THE YEAR: Dan Burke (Wilmington University)
CACC TEAM SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: Georgian Court University