The Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced its All-Conference teams on Monday morning, and the Berkeley College men's and women's basketball teams were well represented. For the three-time defending regional champion Berkeley College men's basketball team, standouts Massiah Merritt, Stephon Jennings, and Johnnie Green were tabbed as All-Conference players. Baytania Newman of the institution's women's team was selected as an All-Conference standout, as well.
On the men's side, Massiah Merritt was tabbed as an All-Conference player for the third consecutive season, and for good reason. The Brooklyn, NY product has played in 24 of the Knights' 26 contests this season, averaging a team-leading 14.8 points-per-game. His 4.5 assists and 2.6 steals per contest are also team-bests, and he has recorded 17 points or more in 10 different games on the 2016-2017 campaign.
Additionally, Merritt – who currently has 1176 points and 301 assists for his career – has been named one of SmallCollegeBasketball.com's top 100 players. He is currently in consideration for the Clarence "Bevo" Francis Award, an honor that is presented annually to the player who has had the finest overall season within Small College Basketball. Considerations are season statistics and individual achievements, awards, personal character and team achievements. This is an incredibly prestigious award that is only given to one player within Small College Basketball per season.
Stephon Jennings earned All-Conference honors for the second straight campaign, as he is putting together another tremendous season for Berkeley College's men's basketball team. The A. Philip Randolph High School product's 9.6 rebounds per contest are a team-high, and his 14.1 points-per-game are good for second-best on the Knights. Additionally, the senior has posted nine double-doubles, and currently has 977 points and 696 rebounds for his career.
Johnnie Green was named an All-Conference standout as well, as he has put together a very versatile senior season for Berkeley College's men's basketball team. After being selected to the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Tournament team following the Knights' regional crown in February of 2016, the 6'5 senior was named this season's tournament Most Valuable Player. In this year's regional tournament, he scored 18 points while snatching 12 rebounds in Berkeley College's win over the College of New Rochelle in the championship game. In the Knights' convincing semifinal round victory over the Mighty Oaks of SUNY-ESF, the senior netted 14 points while grabbing 12 boards. He currently owns averages of 12.2 points per contest, as well as 6.8 rebounds-per-game. Following the announcement of the awards, Head Coach Chris Christiansen spoke about his players.
"Massiah, Stephon, and Johnnie have all been integral parts of this program for our team, and their contributions have been incredible – beyond anything I could have ever imagined", Christiansen said. "Not only are they three terrific basketball players, but they are all concerned with the primary goal of doing what's in the best interests of the team – and for that – I feel blessed as a coach. It's fantastic to see them continue to get recognized for all of their hard work, and I couldn't be more proud."
As for Berkeley College's women's basketball team, Baytania Newman was named an All-Conference player for the sensational season she put together for her team. In eight games played and started for the Knights, Newman averaged a team-high 21.9 point per contest, to go along with 6.5 steals and six assists per game, as well. Her most dominant performance of the season came this past Saturday in the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinal round game against Albany College of Pharmacy, as she connected on 13 of her 26 shots from the floor to finish with a game-high 35 points. She also recorded a game-high 13 steals, and posted a team-high of 11 rebounds, and a game-high seven assists. Head Coach Alex Kuchar praised his team's top player after learning of her All-Conference recognition.
"Baytania lives and breathes basketball," Kuchar said. "She is an individual who loves the game, and can change the aspect and momentum of a game on a whim. She was one of the student-athletes who changed the dynamic of our team in the second half of the season, and I am very proud of her for accomplishing this feat."