The Haggerty Award, which goes to the best Division I men’s basketball player in the New York metropolitan area, dates back to 1936. Over 85 years, only two Rutgers players have won it — Phil Sellers in both 1975 and 1976, and Quincy Douby in 2006.
That could change next month.
Rutgers senior Ron Harper Jr. made a strong case for the honor, averaging 15.8 points and 5.9 rebounds while leading the Scarlet Knights to the NCAA Tournament. The forward, a Don Bosco Prep grad, hit two of the season’s most memorable shots—a half-court buzzer-beater that toppled top-ranked Purdue and a last-second 3-pointer in a crucial late-season win at Indiana .
The Haggerty is part of the All-Met Awards, given by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association. Below is my nerd.
Unlike most college basketball honors, the All-Met Awards take the postseason into account. For some reason, Princeton is not one of the eligible schools. If the Tigers were, forward Tosan Evbuomwan and coach Mitch Henderson would be on this nerd, and guards Jaelin Llewellyn and Ethan Wright would receive strong consideration.
1. Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers
2. Julian Champagnie, St. John’s
3-. Jared Rhoden, Seton Hall
Analysis: All three were comparable in terms of production, but Harper helped Rutgers get into the NCAA Tournament and then played well in the Scarlet Knights’ loss to Notre Dame. He was the most consistent of the three.
First Team All Met
Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers
Julian Champagnie, St. John’s
Jared Rhoden, Seton Hall
Aaron Estrada, Hofstra
KC Ndefo, Saint Peter’s
Tyson Jolly, Iona
Analysis: Estrada and Jolly were Player of the Year in the CAA and MAAC, respectively, two quality mid-major leagues, so that carries weight. Ndefo’s performance in the MAAC and NCAA tournaments backed up his strong regular season.
Second Team All Met
Alex Morales, Wagner
Geo Baker, Rutgers
Daryl Banks, Saint Peter’s
Matthew Lee, Saint Peter’s
Analysis: Morales was Player of the Year in the Northeast Conference. Banks and Lee were sensationally defensively as Saint Peter’s went 6-1 in the postseason.
Third Team All-Met
Ty Flowers, LIU
George Papas, Monmouth
Myles Cale, Seton Hall
Nelly Junior Joseph, Iona
Chuba Ohams, Fordham
Analysis: Cale was the second-best player and an elite defender on an NCAA Tournament team. The others were all-conference performers.
Coach of the Year
1. Shaheen Holloway, Saint Peter’s
2. Bashir Mason, Wagner
3. Steve Pikiell, Rutgers
Analysis: Holloway is the no-brainer. Mason coached Wagner to a 21-6 record but suffered the misfortunate of losing a top player to injury late in the season. Pikiell marshaled Rutgers to a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten, the program’s highest ever and four spots better than preseason projections.
Rookie of the Year
1. Jao Ituka, Marist
2. Anquan Hill, FDU
3. Jaylen Murray, Saint Peter’s
Analysis: It was not a great year for local rookies, but the 6-foot-1 Ituka averaged 15 points per game and shot 52 percent from the field.
Jerry Carino has covered the New Jersey sports scene since 1996 and the college basketball beat since 2003. He is an Associated Press Top 25 voter. Contact him at email@example.com.