Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
There’s a terrific amount of Division III talent in the CoBL coverage area.
No fewer than eight D-III conferences are represented in that range, a box that extends from Philadelphia to State College, Harrisburg and the Lehigh Valley.
So picking the best of the best out all the different programs and leagues within that box was not an easy task, especially with numerous conference Player of the Year winners, but here's our attempt.
When coming up with our all-area teams, we consider several factors--individual skill is obviously the biggest one, but importance to team, overall team success and intangibles are also taken into consideration.
With that being said, we present our 2016-17 CoBL-area Division III honors:
Tyheim Monroe (above, in Cabrini practice) averaged 21.8 ppg and a nation-best 15.8 rpg. (Photo courtesy Cabrini athletics))
*Tyheim Monroe (Jr./Cabrini)
The 2016-17 CoBL-area Division III Player of the Year, Monroe put up monster numbers for the second year in a row, and this time they were too big to ignore. Playing more than 37 minutes per game for the Cavaliers, who lost in the CSAC semifinals but were awarded an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournaments, Monroe -- who won his league PoTY honors -- averaged 21.8 ppg and a nation-best 15.8 rpg, putting up a double-double in all but two of the Cavaliers’ 27 games. An athletic freak at 6-7, he’s also proving to be an inside-out threat, knocking down 44.2 percent of his 52 3-pointers on the season, and he chipped in 2.5 assists per game as well. WIth Monroe manning the paint for one more season, look for Cabrini to make a strong run at another NCAA spot next fall.
DeShawn Lowman (Sr./Neumann)
It’s been a remarkable resurgence -- if there was much to “re”-surge from -- for Neumann since Jim Rullo took over four years ago, and Lowman has been the biggest reason why. The 6-1 Wilmington (Del.) native averaged 19.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg and 3.4 apg for the Knights, who won the CSAC championship for the second time in the last three years and got to host an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in school history. The all-time leading scorer in Neumann history was named the Player of the Year by CoSIDA and is one of 10 finalists for the Jostens Trophy, awarded by the Salem (Va.) Rotary Club to both a high-performing male and female student athlete who also stands out in the classroom and community.
Marquis Marshall (Sr./Alvernia)
A Reading native and Berks Catholic grad, Marshall began his college career at Towson, playing in 25 games as a redshirt freshman in 2013-14, before playing his sophomore season at East Stroudsburg and then his final two years at his hometown college. The son of former NBA big man Donyell Marshall scored 909 points in just 44 games at Alvernia (20.7 ppg), averaging 21.9 ppg and 9.4 rpg as a senior, shooting 49.2 percent from the floor and hitting 29-of-86 (.337) from 3-point range. A 6-6 forward, Marshall also averaged more than two blocks, nearly two assists and better than a steal per game for the Crusaders, who went 15-11 (9-7 MAC Commonwealth), losing to Lebanon Valley in the first round of the league tournament.
Shaquan Turk (Sr./Eastern)
A Philadelphia native who went to the tiny Gospel of Grace school in Cheltenham, Turk finished off a terrific four-year run at Eastern with 1,646 points (16.8/game) and 544 rebounds (5.6/game), averaging 18.5 ppg and 5.3 rpg as a senior, numbers that were actually down somewhat from his junior year (19.0/6.8) though that was due to the influx of talent around him. The 6-foot-4 wing played all five positions for the Eagles during his career and was about as versatile as they come finishing with 141 assists, 119 steals and 105 blocks in his four years. Led Eastern to a 16-10 (11-3 MAC Freedom) mark this year, which was good enough to tie with Del-Val atop the Freedom standings.
Steven Weidlich (Sr./Susquehanna)
The 2016-17 Landmark Player of the Year started his career with a bang, dropping 49 points against Misericordia and then finished his River Hawks career in style, leading Susquehanna into the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 before Williams College ended it all. A 6-1 guard from Watchung (N.J.), Weidlich averaged a career-best 21.6 ppg and 5.1 rpg, finishing his time at Susquehanna with 1,814 points, good enough for second in the school’s history (Rick Eppehimer’s 2,548 from 1965-68 is tops); his 300 3-pointers trail only former teammate Brandon Hedley’s 322 between 2012-16. Scored in double figures in the final 22 games of the season, going for 20+ 14 times during that stretch.
Cam Wiley (Soph./Swarthmore)
The Garnet had been trending upwards for the last few seasons under head coach Landry Kosmalski, but it was the emergence of Wiley this year that pushed Swat over the top. Wiley led the way with 18.5 ppg, chipping in 4.6 and 3.1 apg as Swarthmore won the Centennial Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time, doing so in front of their own fans at Tarble Pavilion. The magical year continued in the NCAA Tournament where Wiley and the Garnet topped Staten Island in the first round -- also a home game -- before giving national powerhouse Christopher Newport a run for its money in a second-round loss. The Atlanta native, a 6-0 guard, contributed to Swarthmore’s terrific 3-point abilities by knocking down 76 treys on 184 attempts (41.3 percent).
Darian Barnes' impressive senior year included a triple-double in the CSAC championship game. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Darian Barnes (Sr./Neumann)
A 6-9 forward from Penn Wood High School, Barnes averaged 14.8 ppg, 10.9 rpg and 2.6 bpg, which ranked 13th in all D-III basketball. Came up huge in the CSAC championship win over Gwynedd-Mercy, posting a triple-double (11 points, 15 rebounds, 10 blocks). Along with winning the CSAC Defensive Player of the Year award, Barnes was also named to the All-CSAC first team.
Cedric Elleby (Sr./Gwynedd-Mercy)
As tough a player as any around, this 6-4 forward utilized his terrific athletic ability to put up numbers like someone five inches taller. As a senior, Elleby averaged 16.0 ppg and 9.9 rpg for the Griffins (21-7), putting up 11 double-doubles. A three-time All-CSAC Selection, he received his first first-team honor this year.
Brandon Federici (Jr./Franklin & Marshall)
Federici has racked up honors in his first three seasons at F&M, including an All-American nod this year and placement on the Academic All-American second team, the same season that he became the fastest in Diplomat history to 1,000 points. After a scoring dip from freshman (19.3 ppg) to sophomore (17.6) year, he bounced back with a career-best 19.9 ppg, knocking down 40.8 percent of his 3-point shots.
Tyliek Kimbrough (Sr./Delaware Valley)
A 6-0 guard out of Brooklyn, Kimbrough was a crucial part of the Aggies program for the last two seasons after starring at Mercer County CC for two seasons out of Boys & Girls (N.Y.). As a senior, he averaged 16.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 4.7 apg, shooting 48.7 percent from the floor; he was also a steadying presence as Del-Val survived a coaching change (Mark Seidenburg replaced new Millersville boss Casey Stitzel) to go 16-10 (11-3) and win the MAC Freedom.
Sam Light (Jr./Lebanon Valley)
The six-foot guard out of Northern Lebanon high school averaged 22.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, and 1.7 apg, while shooting an impressive 46.4 percent overall and 43.2 percent on 3s. Light, who dropped a season-high 46 points against Albright in February, was named to the All-MAC Commonwealth first team. Already surpassed the 1,100-point mark despite having played only two seasons at LVC after starting his career at Millersville.
Brandon McGuire (Sr./Moravian)
It was a breakthrough season for Moravian, which won 19 games just two years after going 5-20, with new head coach Justin Potts guiding the Greyhounds to their first win over a ranked team (No. 11 Susquehanna on Jan. 29) since 2001. A big reason for that was McGuire, a 6-4 senior forward who averaged 17.9 ppg and 10.1 rpg, finishing in the top 10 in school history in scoring (1,348 points) and rebounds (768) and top five in field-goal percentage (58.0).
Jamier Hughes (above) and Rosemont won a program-record 15 games. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Jamier Hughes (Sr./Rosemont)
A JUCO transfer from Manor College, Hughes averaged 18.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.9 apg in his second season at Rosemont. Hughes was named to the All-CSAC first team and was named CSAC Player of the Week three times this season.
Andy Orr (Jr./Lebanon Valley)
The other half of the Dutchmen’s talented duo, Orr provides the “inside” portion of the inside-out punch, averaging 18.8 ppg and grabbing 8.4 rpg, shooting all but 31 of his 348 shots from inside the arc. Already at 1,437 career points, which puts him 11th in school history; he can catch everybody except all-team leader Andy Panko (2,515).
Victor Pena (Sr./Eastern)
Pena, a native of the Dominican Republic, averaged 13.4 ppg, and 9.3 rpg while shooting 52 percent from the floor, and going 19-of-37 (.514) from three-point range. Pena was also named to the All-MAC Freedom first team.
Sardayah Sambo (Jr./Widener)
Sambo posted an average of 15.6 ppg 7.2 rpg, 2.2 apg and 2.8 bpg, which was 8th-best in the nation despite his being just 6-3. Sambo was also named First-Team All-MAC Commonwealth. Surpassed the 1,000-point mark this year, and has 1,086 heading into his senior season.
Kuity Slanger (Sr./DeSales)
A graduate of Upper Darby high school, the 6-foot-2 guard averaged 11.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, and 5.0 apg, while shooting 50.5 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from deep.
Ryan Traub (Jr./Susquehanna)
The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 17.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, while shooting 57.4 percent overall, knocking down 13 of his 32 3-pointers for good measure. Traub was also named to the All-Landmark conference first team.
Carl Wallace (Sr./Neumann)
Another member of the talented senior class at Neumann, the Frankford high product posted averages of 14.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.4 spg and was named to the All-CSAC second team.
Deryl Bagwell (Jr./Cabrini)
Do-everything wing (he’s listed as a forward, despite being 5-11) puts up big numbers: 12.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 3.2 apg -- and he’s a workhorse, playing more than 30 minutes in 20 games despite Cabrini’s up-and-down-pace.
Herbie Brown (Jr./Lancaster Bible)
Lancaster Bible shook off a slow start (2-7) to make it to the NEAC championship game in large part thanks to this 6-1 guard from Wilmington (Del.), who averaged 15.9 ppg and 6.8 rpg, shooting a nifty 38 percent from 3-point range.
Matt Knowles (Sr./Ursinus)
Knowles had his best season yet in his final year at Ursinus, leading the Bears (15-11) with 16.6 ppg, chipping in 2.2 rpg and 1.9 apg. Scranton Prep product, a 6-2 guard, finished 61 points shy of 1000 as injuries limited him to 12 games his junior year.
Zach Quattro (above) had a big impact for Ursinus in his first year at the Collegeville school. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Zach Quattro (Jr./Ursinus)
The 6-7 Hatboro alum’s emergence this season was a big reason for Ursinus’ four-win improvement on the season before, contributing 12.4 ppg and 6.9 rpg while making 44.4 percent of his 3s in his first season after transferring from Le Moyne (N.Y.).
Matt Scamuffo (Jr./York)
York jumped its win total by seven this year from 10 to 17, losing in the Capital semifinals to eventual NCAA at-large selection Salisbury. Scamuffo, a 6-1 guard from Central Bucks South, led the Spartans with 16.0 ppg, adding in 2.3 rpg and 1.9 apg.
Sam Smith (Jr./Widener)
After a quiet first two seasons at Widener, Smith burst out as a junior, averaging 14.6 ppg and 4.8 rpg; that number bumped to 17.7 ppg over the final 18 games of the season, when the Pride rallied from a 7-8 start to finish 16-10 (10-6 MAC Commonwealth).
Zack Yonda (Jr./Swarthmore)
One of the primary on-court leaders of Swarthmore’s rise through the local D-III hierarchy the last few years has been this Conestoga product, who’s started 78 of his 84 career games; already at 1,110 points after averaging 13.3 ppg and 4.6 rpg as a junior, shooting 41.5 percent from deep.
Honorable Mention: Gboloahan Alliyu (Soph./PSU-Harrisburg), Ryan Callahan (Sr./DeSales), Rip Engel (Jr./Gwynedd-Mercy), Roy Ferrell Jr. (Sr./Immaculata), Arron Goodman (Sr./Gwynedd-Mercy), Tyaire Hudson (Jr./Neumann), Cody Kiefer (Sr./Gettysburg), DeVahnte Mosley (Jr./Cabrini), Ryan Kelley (Sr./Arcadia), Brandon LaRose (Sr./Muhlenberg), Dalton Myers (Sr./York), Jimmy Murray (Soph./Moravian), Matt Sherman (Sr./Haverford College), Dejuan Smith (Jr./Albright), Eric Williams (Soph./Ursinus), Tyrea Williams (Sr./Delaware Valley), Elijah Wright (Soph./Dickinson), Clayton Wolfe (Soph./Rosemont)
Rookie of the Year
*John Ryan (Penn State-Abington)
The youth movement is on for head coach Jon Tanous at PSU-Abington, led by Ryan, a 6-4 William Tennent product who’s our CoBL all-area Rookie of the Year. Ryan averaged a team-best 16.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg as the Nittany Lions won three more games than the previous year; the team’s only two seniors combined to start just four games this season and neither of them were in the team’s top four in scoring.
Rich Dunham (Gwynedd-Mercy)
The CSAC is a tough league for freshmen, but this Griffins rookie from Pope John Paul II was a steady presence at point when he was needed to spell (or play alongside) Engel. Played in all 28 games (one start), averaging 6.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg and 2.0 apg while shooting 41.5 percent overall and 38.7 percent from 3-point range.
Austin Slawter (Penn State-Abington)
Slawter combines with Ryan to give Tanous a solid 1-2 combo to build around for the next three years. The Archbishop Ryan product, a 5-10 point guard, averaged 13.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 4.9 apg, contributing 2.6 steals as well though he committed an unweidly 4.8 turnovers/game without a reliable secondary ball-handler.
Ignas Slyka (Franklin & Marshall)
The Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year, this Mississauga (Canada) native looks like he’ll be a stat-sheet stuffer, averaging 8.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.0 apg and 1.7 spg in his first year; he averaged 25.3 mpg, starting 14 out of 26 games.
Shane Stark (Ursinus)
Solid, versatile 6-6 forward from La Salle College HS was a valuable member of the Bears’ rotation, averaging 5.5 ppg and 4.7 rpg in just about 15 minutes off the bench. Shot an extremely efficient 62.1 percent from the floor, which was better than his mark from the foul line (61.2 percent).
Khalil White (Penn State-Harrisburg)
Cheltenham grad stepped right in to become the Lions’ leading scorer, an ability he certainly showcased in high school. Knocked down a solid 34.8 percent from deep and went for a season-high 33 points in his third collegiate game; also averaged 2.5 rpg and 1.5 apg.
Jim Rullo (above) is our 2016-17 CoBL-area Division III Coach of the Year. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Coach of the Year
Jim Rullo (Neumann University)
It was close -- so close, we had to say a little something about three other coaches who all received multiple votes from their peers -- but Rullo was the most-mentioned, and certainly staked his claim as the most deserving with the best season in Neumann basketball history. The Knights won a program-record 25 games, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years; those are the first two such trips in the program's history. A tireless recruiter and worker, Rullo put together a roster comprised of players from all over: some from junior college, some out of high school, some who were out of basketball entirely, and turned them into champions. He had Neumann playing at an extremely high level on defense, smothering opponents and leading to massive runs in the other direction. In just four years since leaving his prior job at Malvern Prep, Rullo has won 84 games at Neumann, which puts him 12 away from Brian Nugent, who went 96-91 (.513) in seven seasons from 1999-2006. Unless a bigger school hires him this offseason, he seems a sure thing to get that record next year.
Fifth-year head coach guided Swarthmore to its first NCAA bid in school history; Garnet have improved win total in each season (7, 8, 11, 22 and now 23).
Susquehanna’s 26th-year boss fought off throat cancer last season and the graduation of last year’s CoBL Player of the Year (Josh Miller) to get to the school’s first Sweet 16.
In just two years, brought Moravian from five wins to 19, including the first win over a ranked team in 16 seasons and an appearance in the Landmark championship game.