St. Francis looks ahead

Gerald Herbert

This is the time of the year when college basketball players and coaches receive recognition for their accomplishments on the court. Usually it is in the form of plaques or trophies to go along with an award ceremony.

This dinner honoring the best of the best was recently staged at the Westchester Marriott Hotel in Tarrytown, New York, and marked the 82nd annual Haggerty awards affair, conducted by the National Invitation Tournament and the Metropolitan Basketball Writers’ Association.

Sir’Dominic Pointer became the second consecutive recipient from St. John’s University to accept this honor, named after a former Red Storm player of years ago, Frank J. Haggerty. And it also marked the return of Chris Mullin a former

Three-time Haggerty award player while at St. John’s, as he already has been named as the new coach at the Red Storm.

While Pointer heads the award winners, St. Francis College might have been the best of the teams in the metropolitan tri-state area.

Only a few years ago, the Blackbirds from Long Island University emerged on top of the Northeast Conference This was the Terriers’ time.

This time, thanks to some good recruiting, good coaching steady improvement over the years on the court, the Terriers captured the regular season title, but fell just short of winning the Conference post season tournament. Overall, they posted a 23-12 record, including 15-3 in the league.

Meanwhile, neighborhood rival LIU posted an under 500 record season.

When voting time came about, St. Francis College veteran coach Glenn Braica was chosen as co-coach of the year in Division I of the NCAA. He thus shared the award with Jim Englis of New Jersey Tech.

It took time for the Terriers to move up in the standings over the years, but they finally did it.

And it was team work that turned the track for them, and it was led in particular by Jalen Cannon, a senior, who will surely be missed next season because he is graduating. Cannon made the first all-met team for his tremendous play on both ends of the court throughout the schedule. And one can not forget another senior Brent Jones who gave Cannon the ball for those baskets. Jones earned third team honors.

“It’s a great honor to get the coach of the year award,” said the Terriers’ head mentor. “There are a lot of great coaches in the area, and any one of them could have gotten it. We had a nice run and are very proud of our team. Now we lose four seniors for next year. We’ll have to piece ‘it’ together. We’ve signed four players.”

Cannon ended his college career with more than 1500 points to set a college mark.

Now the question is, can they repeat the same next year with new faces to take over from the graduates?

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