Breaking News: Ryan Davis is Good at Basketball
Back at it with another weekly America East stock report. Early on we saw UMBC’s Brandon Horvath absolutely tear it up for the Retrievers and look like he could be the runaway favorite to take home the hardware. UMBC is still piling up the wins, but Horvath has cooled down a bit since his monster start, leaving the door open for new challengers.
Enter Vermont’s Ryan Davis. The junior big man has been absolute nails for the Catamounts since missing their first series against UMass-Lowell. Davis helped guide the Cats to a 2-0 sweep over Binghamton this past weekend and while it might not have been his best statistical weekend performance, it was still good enough to earn AE Player of the Week honors.
Davis is likely considered the frontrunner for AE Player of the Year honors now, but as we’ve seen with Horvath, anything can change week-over-week. We’ve seen some fantastic performances over the past weekend, so let’s dive in and see who’s stock you should be buying and who’s stock you need to be dumping faster than Enron.
America East Player of the Year | Stock Up
Ryan Davis | Vermont Catamounts
No surprise here, as Davis was just dubbed AE Player of the Week and has been a godsend for the Cats offense. Vermont blew out Binghamton in both contests over the weekend and Davis was a huge reason behind the Catamounts victories.
In game one, Davis finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, including 5 offensive boards proving he can dominate the glass on both ends of the floor. Davis can score at all three levels, as his soft touch around the rim and ability to pull up from deep has been a nightmare for opposing teams. Where Davis has improved the most is in his passing and court vision. Not only is he a threat to score every time he touches the ball, but as defenders key in on him, he’s able to make the right pass, keeping the floor spaced and opposing defenders at bay.
Game two between Vermont and Binghamton was actually Davis’s worst statistical game so far (9 points, 8 rebounds), but considering that Vermont blew the roof off Binghamton this was an anomaly more than anything. The Cats dominated this game from start to finish, ultimately beating the Bearcats by 40(!) at the final whistle. Davis played just 19 minutes and often deferred to his teammates when he was on the court, taking just 5 shots all game. If you have an AE PoY listing up, you best have Davis in that number one spot.
Austin Williams | Hartford Hawks
Much like Ryan Davis, Austin Williams found his name in the stock up section a week ago as well. The senior guard has been flying high for the Hawks lately and even went off for a new career high this past weekend as well. The Hawks split their weekend series with UMass-Lowell, but had they completed the sweep Williams could have very likely edged out Davis for those AE Player of the Week honors.
Williams and the Hawks ultimately succumbed to the River Hawks in game one, but Williams still finished the contest with 14 points and 6 boards. Hartford would bounce back in a big way in game two, as they dismantled the River Hawks and Williams strung together his best statistical game to date. Williams set a new career high with 29 points and 6 rebounds, shooting nearly 65% from the field.
The aforementioned Williams has spent the majority of his career as a reserve/role player, yet he now leads the Hawks in scoring. Shoutout to the boys at Pardon My Take, who said that the most dangerous player is one who doesn’t know he’s supposed to suck. No one expected this type of run from Williams who is now soaring up the AE PoY ladder. Happy to see Williams excel, but let’s not forget about the last guy (Icarus) who flew too close to the sun.
R.J. Eytle-Rock | UMBC Retrievers
Many pundits (myself included) projected Eytle-Rock to take that next leap after watching him drop 28 on Vermont in last year’s America East Semifinals match-up. So far the London native hasn’t been able to replicate that type of performance and has seemingly plateaued when comparing last year’s numbers. Part of this has been due to the emergence of Brandon Horvath, but as he’s cooled off recently, it’s been Eytle-Rock who’s taken over as lead dog.
Over the last three games, Eytle-Rock is averaging 19 points and really came into his own this past weekend with a big-time performance against UNH to help the Retrievers sweep the Wildcats. Game one was relatively ho-hum as Eytle-rock managed just 11 points, but in game two, the junior guard dropped a season-high 27 points, nearly tying his career-high that he set against Vermont.
With teams keying in on Horvath UMBC needed someone else to step up and Eytle-Rock has been their guy as of late. He’ll need to find a way to carry this type of production into the second-half of the season to have a chance at AE PoY honors, but again, if UMBC keeps winning there is a definite possibility that the hardware ends up in the hands of a dog and not a cat.
Stephane Ingo | Maine Black Bears
Stephane Ingo is another guy like Hartford’s Austin Williams who has taken a big leap this year. After averaging just 4.5 points a game a season ago, Ingo is now up to 11.4 points and 9.7 rebounds a game. The Black Bears are still likely to finish in the bottom-third of the conference standings, but Ingo has been a huge spark for Maine and could possibly even find himself in America East First-Team All-Conference contention if he continues to put up these types of stats.
The Black Bears were able to split their recent weekend series against NJIT, in large part due to Ingo’s performances. In game one, Ingo put up 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Ingo followed up that performance with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 6(!) blocks in game two’s victory over the Highlanders. This marked the 4th straight game Ingo was able to record a double-double. The redshirt sophomore is also averaging 3.5 blocks a game over that same four-game span, as he looks like a lock for the America East All-Defensive team honors.
If Ingo can finish the year averaging a double-double it will be quite difficult to keep him off All-Conference honors, let alone AE Player of the Year discussions. The biggest knock on Ingo is moreso on Maine than himself. Maine is 2-4 and even with Ingo’s strong play, it’s hard to envision the Black Bears finishing in the upper half of the conference standings. Ingo has a big challenge ahead of this weekend, as he takes on AE PoY frontrunner, Ryan Davis.
Honorable Mention – Isaiah Powell (Vermont), Obadiah Noel (UMass-Lowell), Nick Guadarrama (New Hampshire)
America East Player of the Year | Stock Down
Brenton Mills | Binghamton Bearcats
Poor Binghamton. Frankly I should just give the entire Bearcats team a stock down after their performances from this weekend. Binghamton looked absolutely awful in both games, losing by 16 in game one and then 40(!) in game two. Even against a team like Vermont those losses are unacceptable for a program. But hey, at least they have a good core of sophomores right?
Brenton Mills sadly has to fall on the sword for Bearcats this week. His game one performance wasn’t terrible as he finished with 16 points, but again, this game was never really in doubt for the Catamounts, as those 16 points are essentially fools gold. Game two was where things got really ugly. 6 points in 30 minutes while shooting 3-12 from the field is pretty damn ugly. Add in the fact that Vermont had already emptied their bench and Mills still couldn’t break into double-figures makes this one sting even more for Bearcat fans.
The announcers kept alluding to Binghamton’s young core and while it looks good on paper, the results have been less than promising. Likewise, consider Binghamton’s history with losing talent to transfers and it could only be a matter of time before we see Mills don a new look.
Zach Cooks | NJIT Highlanders
What in the world is wrong with Zach Cooks? The senior guard unfortunately found himself on the wrong side of this report a week ago and now is slumping even further down the ladder. I still believe in Cooks and hopefully this is just a case of the yips, but something is definitely off with NJIT’s star point-guard.
Cooks followed up last week’s dreadful shooting performance against UML with an absolute stinker this past weekend against Maine. In game one against the Black Bears, Cooks finished with just 2 points off 1-7 (14.7%) shooting from the field. Game two wasn’t much better, as Cooks again shot extremely poorly, finishing with 4 points off 2-12 (16.7%) from the field.
In the last four games, Cooks has shot 9-39 (23%) from the field and is 1-12 from beyond the arc. NJIT has relied on Dylan O’Hearn lately to produce points for them, but even he seemed to catch a case of the bricks in game two, as he finished with just 4 points on 1-10 shooting. Cooks and NJIT need to shake this off ASAP before they head to Albany this weekend.
Marque Maultsby | New Hampshire
Marque Maultsby is a bit of an outlier in that he really isn’t much more than a role player for the Wildcats, but due to injuries he’s had to step up and become more of a focal point for them. Even with Sean Sutherlin out and Nick Guadarrama missing time, Maultsby still is likely a 3rd or 4th option for this team. He’s had his moments and definitely looks capable at times, but he’s fallen off as of late and has just been too inconsistent to merit any real praise.
Including this past weekend, Maultsby has only produced 3, 4, and 6 points while shooting an underwhelming 5-20 (25%) from the field. He’s also 3-14 from deep over the last five games and has done little to contribute elsewhere. The Wildcats were a preseason favorite with UMBC and Vermont to contend for the AE title, but the early returns have not been great for Maultsby and UNH.
To be fair, Maultsby was likely never in the running for AE PoY or even any All-Conference honors so his stock report should be taken with a grain of salt. He’s one of just a small handful of Wildcats to have played in all nine of their games thus far and even though the team is under-performing there is still time to turn it around. UNH is/was scheduled to play Stony Brook this weekend which would’ve been a great chance for the Wildcats to get back on track, but as of this moment the status of that game is unclear.
Darnell Rogers | UMBC Retrievers
You could easily make the argument that Darnell Rogers doesn’t belong on this list, as UMBC continues to plow through their opponents and Rogers has been playing decently. I’ll also add that Rogers is my favorite player to watch in all of college basketball and I’d love nothing more to see all 5’2” of him take home AE PoY honors. However, with that being said I think Rogers has struggled a bit recently and for that he gets just a minor tick down the ladder.
In three of the four games to begin the year Rogers hit the double-figure mark and was averaging 12.8 points a game. Since then, Rogers has only reached double-figures once and has seen his average drop to 7.4 ppg. This past weekend, Rogers put up just 2 and 9 points respectively while averaging 23 minutes in those contests. He has only hit the double-figure mark once in six AE conference games thus far and his stats across the board have taken a hit compared to his output from a year ago.
Make no mistake about it, Rogers was brought in to be a lightning-bug scorer for the Retrievers. He’s shown he can hold his own on defense and make the right pass, but that’s not his style of play. UMBC needs him to be an offensive spark-plug and yet he’s struggled as of late to really find his form. Again, Rogers stock down is pretty minuscule (no pun intended) and if UMBC continues to keep winning nobody will care what his final stats look like. “Stats are for losers.” – (Bill Belichick) – Me.
Dishonorable Mention – George Tinsey (Binghamton), Dylan O’Hearn (NJIT), Bryce Daley (UMass-Lowell)